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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > TAICHUNG CITY > ARTS & LEISURE >
C U L T U R E
 

Compass Magazine, January 2002

A CULTURAL MECCA AMIDST THE RICE PADDIES

By Cheryl Robbins Translated by Rachel Chiou


The Taichung County Seaport Art Center is definitely off the beaten path, located in a rural part of the coastal town of Chingshui amongst the rice paddies. Nevertheless, this large arts and culture complex is well worth a visit.

The art center is quite large, covering more than three hectares, and features an ancient Chinese style of architecture. The outdoor area contains a park with arched bridges, waterfalls and a pond. The surrounding buildings include an exhibition hall, a performing arts hall, classrooms and research facilities.

This center, built by the Taichung County Government, officially opened on March 12, 2000 for the purpose of allowing coastal area residents of the county access to cultural activities. These include domestic and international exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography and calligraphy. There are no permanent exhibits, so there is always something new to see in one of the three galleries.

However, the emphasis at the seaport art center is not on static exhibits but, rather, on allowing the public to interact with art. Thus, there are often live performances in the 456-seat Performing Arts Hall, as well as arts and crafts classes for adults and children. On weekends, amateur musicians play in the outdoor performing arts plaza.

The Pingpu research facilities are a unique addition to this center. The Pingpu (meaning plains Aborigines) inhabited the Taichung area before the arrival of the Han Chinese, and were eventually assimilated into Chinese society. When this site was being cleared for construction, a number of Pingpu artifacts were found. Such finds have also been reported in other locations in and around Chingshui. Every one to two years, this center brings together the island's Pingpu researchers to hold a symposium on the Pingpu culture.
Guided tours of the exhibition areas may be arranged with advanced reservations but priority is given to cultural groups. If no guide is available, it is possible to view a multimedia presentation in Chinese, English or Japanese that introduces the center. Some of the exhibits have set times for interpretation (in Chinese). The center also holds lectures to supplement the exhibits and performances. Getting There: From Taichung City, take Taijung Gang (Taichung Kang) Road toward Taichung Harbor. Once in Chingshui, turn right onto Jung Hua Road, then left onto Au Feng Road. From here, follow the signs to the center.
(The Taichung County Seaport Art Center is located at 20, Jung Jen Rd., Chingshui Town, Taichung County. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday [closed Mondays], but the outdoor gardens remain open until 8 p.m. Admission is free to the outdoor gardens and exhibit areas. For more information, call the Taichung County Seaport Art Center at 04-2627-4568 or check Compass' What's On section for on-going exhibits and events.)
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