Treasure Hill, a former veterans’ community in Taipei City’s Gongguan (公館) area, will reopen to the public today as an artist village after four years of renovation.
The neighborhood will now include 14 art studios, two exhibition rooms and two rehearsal rooms, according to Su Yao-hua (蘇瑤華), director of Treasure Hill Artist Village’s operation center.
The community is also home to 22 families, who moved back to Treasure Hill after the renovation work.
Su said the families will be living with the artists in the same village, and the artists are encouraged to take the community and its residents as the main inspiration for their works of art.
Home to veterans of the Chinese Civil War who fled to Taiwan with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) about 60 years ago, Treasure Hill used to be packed with aging and illegal structures built by the residents.
The Taipei City Government designated the community as a historical site in 2004, and the community became the center of attention after the New York Times in 2006 named it one of the must-see destinations in Taiwan.
In 2007, the city government’s Department of Cultural Affairs started a renovation project aimed at turning the area into an artists’ community, and sparked protests from a group of artists living in the neighborhood who refused to leave and vowed to continue occupying the area.
A total of 29 households were later moved to a transitional housing block near the construction area, and some residents chose to accept compensation of NT$720,000 (US$23,000) to move away from Treasure Hill permanently.
Wang Yi-chun (王逸群), chief secretary of the department, said that to respect the privacy of the residents in the community, the artist village will not be open to the public after this weekend. Those who are interested in visiting the community can make a reservation with the village.
A parade in celebration of the artist village will be held in front of Shuiyuan Market (水源市場) at 1:30pm today.
The opening ceremony for the village will start at 2pm, and the 9th annual Daniel Pearl Day of Music will also take place at the same time.