Lee Yung-feng encourages artists to be proactive – Taiwan News

Artists should be brave and be proactive in introducing their art to others, instead of waiting for people to come to them, the theater veteran said

  • By Jake Chung / Staff writer, with CNA

Performance artists must remain true to their vision and promote themselves, instead of waiting for others to show support, Paper Windmill Cultural Foundation CEO Lee Yung-feng (李永豐) said on Tuesday.

Speaking at one of a series of talks organized by the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) and the Sinyi School in Taipei, Lee said that no artist’s creation is so great that they cannot handle their own problems.

“An artist should not just sit around and wait for others to handle their problem out of charity,” the veteran performer and director said.

Photo: CNA

Citing the foundation’s own challenges, he said that the Paper Windmill Theater Troupe was forced to reduce performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a fire in June last year at their prop workshop in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里).

These setbacks have not diminished the troupe’s passion for its founding goals — to perform for children — and it is precisely this devotion that has allowed Paper Windmill workers and performers to persevere, he said.

If a performer could not make ends meet, they could always consider another job, such as selling beef noodles or snacks, to make a living, Lee said.

“The artist must be brave. They must be forward and proactive. It is the artist that should introduce their art to others and tell them how good it is, instead of waiting for people to come to them,” he said.

Weiwuying artistic director Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬) shared his experiences promoting arts and music in rural areas.

“I was greatly disheartened at the lack of support for what I set out to do,” he said, adding that his job at the center had helped rekindle his passion for the arts.

The administrative side of the arts is just as important as the art itself, as the administrator needs to maintain patrons’ passion for the arts, while ensuring that artists remain devoted to their work, Chien said.

The greatest difficulty an artist faces is keeping the spark of creativity and their passion alive, he added.

The administrators at the center are responsible for attracting people to appreciate the arts, he said.

“I always disliked how everyone described the center as a ‘national palace’ for the arts,” he said.

“I hope to make the center a place that belongs to the people, a place that makes art a part of everyday life and something that is more approachable,” he added.

Chien’s mindset of making art more approachable could instead turn the center into another Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮), Lee said jokingly.

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