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Taiwan: Most art students in Taiwan uncertain about future career

Taiwan: Most art students in Taiwan uncertain about future career

Most of Taiwan's art majors have not planned or are hesitant to pursue a life-long career in the field, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.

Of 592 college and graduate art students polled, only 19.59 percent said they would consider working in the art world, the study by the King Car Education Foundation showed.

On the other hand, nearly 17 percent had already abandoned the idea of finding a job in the field, and 59.3 percent worried they would not be able to support themselves financially in the future.

Only a quarter felt happy to be young artists, compared with 47 percent who said it was difficult.

The bleak results reflected several problems in Taiwan's art environment, including the public's attitude toward art and artists, said Tao Wen-yueh, an art critic and part-time lecturer at National Taiwan University of Arts.

"Taiwan's economy can compete with the Western world, but in terms of the development of art, we are still way behind, " he said.

Citing Paris as an example, Tao said people in France are exposed to art at an early age, with many good fine art museums right in the city, but that is not the case in Taiwan.

"We need to cultivate children's interest in art when they are little," he said.

Another problem with Taiwan's art industry is the lack of a comprehensive development system to help integrate creativity and marketing, Tao contended.

He suggested that art students develop more knowledge about the market and fully understand their own abilities.

"Whether schools provide courses on commercializing art is also important, " said Tao. "Students must be able to do more than just draw."

Local art students are relatively shy and rarely pay attention to things beyond their skills or studies, said Hou Zhong-ying, a Ph.D. candidate in the fine arts department of National Taiwan Normal University.

Though they participate in exhibitions, they rarely reach out to the outside world for potential career opportunities.

"Our exhibitions are still pretty much just for people in art circles, " said Hou, who added that his peers often do not take advantage of the benefits of showing their works by building, for example, connections with the media.

Young artists can easily doubt their worth when they are not fulfilled materially or emotionally, such as earning money through selling their works or gaining public recognition, he said.

"I think what young artists need is an environment where art events are more popular. And how can we create more space for art presentation? Of course, we also need more support from industry, the government and academia, " said Joyce Tseng, executive director of the 30-year-old foundation.

The organization has been promoting art education for more than three years by providing free galleries for young artists and organizing art camps for schools in remote areas, Tseng added.

The survey was conducted via questionnaires between last November and December among a random sampling of 800 art students from eight universities in five cities and counties. A total of 592 valid samples were collected.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Updated : 2021-07-26 01:06 GMT+08:00