Creativity in Motion: TSA’s Mobile Art Museum
Bringing art to the people is the aim of Taiwan Soka Association (TSA)’s unique and innovative Mobile Art Museum that has been travelling to schools in remote areas. It is part of TSA’s efforts to contribute to local communities and promote greater appreciation for the arts and culture that began some two decades ago.
Since 2003, Taiwan Soka Association (TSA) has been promoting community-based art and a greater appreciation of Taiwan’s cultural roots and the history of fine arts. Numerous exhibitions showcasing the works of Taiwanese artists have been held at its art and cultural centers. The exhibitions are supported by TSA members who have volunteered to become exhibition docents and interpreters.
The Mobile Art Museum
In 2012, with the aim of increasing young students’ exposure to art—in particular to that of Taiwanese artists—TSA began a grassroots initiative to bring art to schools in the form of a “mobile” art museum. Utilizing a multimedia format and interactive learning experiences led by TSA’s trained docents from local areas, the Mobile Art Museum has made artists’ works more accessible to schools in remote mountain villages and outlying islands that tend to have limited access to such educational resources.
The Mobile Art Museum has also visited the Taipei School for the Hearing Impaired, with the school providing sign-language interpretation for the students. Greatly inspired by the life story of Ting-Shih Chen (1913–2002), a deaf artist featured in the Mobile Art Museum, one student shared:
“I was very excited to learn about how Ting-Shih Chen fought for his ideals through his art. I am very interested in art, but because I am also hearing-impaired, I encounter many more difficulties than others and am very uncertain about my future. Today, knowing that this artist broke through many limitations and achieved success has inspired me and rekindled the hope and vitality of my dreams.”
One parent from another school shared how her child recognized the work of an artist they had learned about when the Mobile Art Museum visited their school and how encouraging it was to see the excitement of her child encountering in daily life outside of school something she had learned about in school.
Reaching a Wider Audience
Another way in which TSA has expanded the reach of art to a wider audience is through a radio program titled “Treasure Island Art Museum,” a joint initiative with National Education Radio that began in 2020.
The program is hosted by Professor Hsin-Tian Liao, former director of the National Museum of History and former dean of the National Taiwan University of Arts.
As a result of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the radio program audience has increased by 30 percent, reflecting the role art can play in times of hardship.
In 2021, the radio program won the Best Art and Cultural Program Host category of the 56th Golden Bell Awards that recognize excellent radio programs. The award is one of three annual accolades made in the audiovisual and music industry in Taiwan.
Through continuing the Treasure Island Art Museum radio program, the Mobile Art Museum and the holding of exhibitions at its culture centers across Taiwan, TSA is committed to spreading the beauty of art and culture even further.