New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday visited an art venue — The Can — in Sansia District (三峽) in a drive to help promote local tourism and encourage young people to set up their own businesses in the cultural and creative sectors.
The Can, which hosts musical performances and art exhibitions, was established by Jeffrey Lin (林峻丞), who returned to Sansia two years ago after working in Taipei for many years.
Chu said he was amazed that the venue was so full of culture, creativity and the vibrancy of youth.
Besides popular Old Street, Chu said he expected the art venue to become another attraction in the district and would serve as a gathering point for young people.
Chu said he would make sure the city government offers more sponsorship programs through the Tourism Bureau and the Economic Development Department to assist young people who want to establish businesses.
It is not easy to start a business in the cultural and creative sectors, but the traditional district needs such enterprises, Lin said.
Lin said he hoped the venue would serve as a focus for the sectors in New Taipei City, like Taipei’s Huashan Creative Park and the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park.
About four years ago, Lin started a project to teach disadvantaged students from a elementary school to grow loofah gourds, from which bath sponges are produced. The final products made by “loofah members” are sold at The Can and online. The proceeds are used as an educational fund for students given that their families cannot afford to send them to after-school classes.
One of the project’s aims is to encourage students who come from low-income families to become more self-reliant, Lin said.