It has long been the case that many artists can create works of art and literature, but not earn a living from it. As a result, art circles and the public have been discussing whether to create “art banks” to improve the arts and culture sector. It has even become a topic in the Kaohsiung mayoral by-election campaign.
Kaohsiung has a lot of heavy industry. If the city wants to transform itself and develop a “sunshine economy,” with high output value and low pollution, it must improve its “design skills.”
Art is the foundation of all kinds of design. To improve Kaohsiung’s design skills, the city needs to establish an arts and culture industrial chain. One possible way is to create an art bank.
An art bank would establish a credit guarantee fund to provide loans to artists, who would put their works up as collateral. This would be an open and transparent procedure to prevent corruption.
If an artist were unable to repay a loan, the bank would auction off the collateral works and return the money to the fund.
To ensure a sustainable cash flow, a reliable evaluation system is needed, which would also offer an opportunity to establish a corresponding evaluation market and cultivate the required expertise.
Community galleries could be created through government investment and by artists, communities and local residents buying shares in the galleries and participating in their operation and management.
Artworks would be continually exhibited and sold in the galleries in combination with regularly organized auctions. Works that remain unsold following an auction could be bought and collected by the credit guarantee fund for lease, sale or auction.
Community galleries would also make art more accessible to residents and students, enhancing their appreciation of art and design.
The art bank would function with transparent pricing to allow artists to both create and sell their work so that they no longer need to sacrifice their art to survive.
It would also ensure that artists have access to a better creative environment where they could concentrate on creativity and improving their design skills.
Nevertheless, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, which runs Art Bank Taiwan, has, after several years of operation, found that the rules that regulate the call for entries are too indirect and vague, and that these problems have not been promptly reviewed.
These are all issues that must be addressed to create a successful art bank.
Huang Fure-chen is a part-time university lecturer.
Translated by Lin Lee-kai
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