Sun, Oct 05, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Painters aim to brighten nation one step at a time

Staff writer, with CNA

Volunteers paint the stairs at New Taipei City’s Fuxing Elementary School on Sept. 27 to promote the “Happy Stair” campaign.

Photo: CNA

Not everyone likes to take the stairs, but a National Taipei University of Technology senior has launched an initiative to at least make the steps themselves “happy,” by turning them into public art.

Chiu Shao-chi (邱紹琦) and others have painted three sets of stairs, including one with colorful, larger-than-life butterflies and flowers, and they hope to paint more as part of their “Happy Stair” program.

Chiu said she got her inspiration from a a student exchange trip to Turkey, where she came across an eye-catching staircase decked in rainbow colors that drew people to sit, read and chat.

“In Taiwan, people are not that close to the arts, but [a project like this] can happen anywhere at any time in other countries,” she said.

She said that painting brings happiness to her as well as others.

Her mission started on Facebook, with a post asking: “If it is not illegal, would anyone want to join me to paint staircases?”

She said she was surprised by the enthusiastic response and decided to set a goal of finding 100 dull staircases in the nation to “brighten up with a paint job.”

Their first painting is an 11-step staircase at Fuxing Elementary School in New Taipei City’s Jhonghe District (中和), featuring large black-and-white butterflies enjoying red-and-gold flowers. The theme matches the school’s promotion of ecological education focused on butterflies.

The school has expressed support for the project, Chiu said.

However, many of her team’s members lack experience with stair-painting, she said.

Since staircases are not a flat canvas, painters have to stand 5m to 10m away to get a full picture of what they are painting on and they have to take care to keep the murals straight.

She said that in addition to working with schools, she is looking for abandoned stairs in remote areas to transform. She is also inviting others to join.

“Art should not be restricted only to people who are good at painting,” she said.

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