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A Summery of Taiwan's Public Art Development

The source of the concept of public art could probably be traced back to the western pubic sculptures. You see this kind of sculptures in the existing religious constructions, public plazas or memorial constructions in Europe, for example, in the St. Marr's Square, San Lorenzo and Piazza del Popolo in Italy. However, this kind of artworks often carry practical functions of "in memory of" or "publicity" and the purpose for such artworks is mostly for beautifying the space or buildings they are staged. Most of these installations were done either by the government or the nobles which made the spirit of pubic art at that time different from that in the modern days.


The concept of the formation of the public art was traced back to 1930 when the new Roosevelt administration used "public art" as an independent phrase for the firs time and it had then become a national policy. The purpose of this policy was to help the nation survive the bad economy and stabilize its sources of income. In 1959, the regulations of "The Percentage of Art " promulgated by the US government further stipulated that 1% of the costs of all municipal constructions must be contributed to installation of art. In Taiwan, the main law of public art also referenced the US laws and stipulated in Article 9 of "Law of Encouraging and Rewarding Cultural and Art Enterprises" promulgated in 1998 that "owners of public constructions should install artworks in the construction to beautify the building and environment and the value of such artworks should worth no less than 1% of the building's construction costs.". Council for Cultural Affairs, Executive Yen promulgated "Public Art Installation Policies" in 1998, embarking the era that the government started to invest lots of resources in promoting public art. The regulations have become the major law for promoting public art.