The Taipei Fine Arts Museum, which is located at 181 Zhong Shan North Road, was established in 1983 at the place where the United States Taiwan Defense Command used to stand. The idea to build this museum was conceived by the Taipei municipal government in 1976. The local government sought to build a museum that would help improve the city’s cultural life and promote an appreciation for the arts. Its construction began in 1980 and was completed three years later. The museum formally opened on August 8, 1983. Its first exhibition was displayed on December 24, 1983. The museum is the first in Taiwan to sponsor modern art exhibitions.
The architecture of the museum was inspired by the architectural styles of the Japanese Metabolist Movement. The design was finalized in 1978. Kao Er-Pan was in charge of the museum’s design and was the lead architect for its construction. Yuan Shan Second Municipal Park, which is along Zhong Shan N. Road, was identified as the museum’s base.
The resulting structure is a very modern building whose beauty is enhanced by the contrast of the surrounding nature. Likewise, the building’s large windows give visitors wonderful views from the Zhong Shan Art Park, the Yuan Shan Park, and the areas around it. The museum building is actually very symbolic. It borrows some principles from traditional Chinese architecture. For example, the corridors that have tubular shapes are similar to the Chinese character that denotes a fountain. This signifies one objective of the museum, which is to be a flowing venue for cultural expression.
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum promotes awareness of the arts by offering seminars and lectures on the arts. At present, it offers more than 50 classes on sculpture, painting, ceramics, calligraphy, and color theory. These are available every three months for residents of Taipei. Monthly lectures are given in the auditorium. Painting classes for children are also offered two Sundays in a month. Parents are allowed to join these classes. The museum also keeps an extensive library.
It is said that if you wish to know about the history of Taiwan, you should go to the National Palace Museum, but if you want to know the present and future Taiwan, you should go to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
The museum was previously managed by the Educational Affairs Bureau of Taipei until its supervision was given to the Cultural Affairs Bureau. The museum has 11 departments in all. These are Exhibition Department, Education Department, Research Department, Acquisition Department, Government Ethics Office, Personnel Office, Accounting Office, the Department of General Affairs, Information Technology Office, Public Relations Office, and the Biennial and International Projects Office.
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. On Saturdays, it is open until 8:30 pm. Admission tickets cost NT$30. Students, military personnel, police personnel, and volunteers from other cultural and educational institutions all get 50% discount as long as they can present valid IDs upon entry. Touring groups with more than 20 people get 30% discount. Admission is free for those who are below 18 years old, retired government and military personnel, retired teachers, those who are more than 65 years old, and low-income citizens holding an official certification from the city government. You can reach the museum by taking any of the many buses that go to the area.