The National Culture and Arts Foundation was founded in 1996 with the stated aim of creating a healthier environment in Taiwan for the development of culture and the arts. The NCAF also presents awards as part of its mission to seek to raise the bar for culture and the arts. The organization assists with the holding of art/cultural events, sponsors the work of arts/cultural organizations, awards grants to art/culture workers, and carries out the provisions of the Culture and Arts Reward Act.

The Council for Cultural Affairs, acting in accordance with The National Culture and Arts Foundation Founding Provisions remitted NT$6 billion to the NCAF as its initial capital. The NCAF has received other funding from private individuals and groups. The NCAF is led by a Board of Directors, who oversee the Fund’s operations as well as its budget, and is also served by a Board of Supervisors, who keep tabs on the Fund’s financial condition, to ensure that funds are being used in the most effective manner possible. Membership of these boards consists of individuals from the art world, scholars, experts, and government officials selected by the Ministry of Culture (successor organization to the Council for Cultural Affairs) and approved of by the Premier. 

The NCAF provides grants, funding, and other assistance to individuals and non-profit organizations involved in literature, the visual arts, music, dance, traditional and contemporary theater, cultural heritage preservation, audio/video arts, and arts environment and development. The foundation also encourages the creation of innovative, groundbreaking, and experimental works that inform and reflect the zeitgeist.

The Foundation’s work is composed of four elements, namely, “research and development,” “grants,” “awards,” and “resource development.” The NCAF implements related policies and plans under the leadership of its chairman and at the direction of the Board of Directors. Those involved in R&D are focused primarily on creating links to relevant government departments and private concerns in the hope of garnering support from them in cash or kind. Those processing grants work to create an environment that nurtures the balanced development of culture and the arts, while those concerned with awards seek candidates displaying excellence throughout their oeuvre for the National Award for Arts. NCAF associates working on resource development solicit corporate sponsorship for art/cultural projects and provide artists, and the public at large, with information on what’s going on in the art world.

In sum, the NCAF works to maximize use of limited resources to create an environment that nurtures the arts and improves the quality of art being done in the Republic of China.