The National Award for Arts was established in 1997 in accordance with Article 20 of the Culture and Arts Reward Act, which states, “The National Culture and Art Foundation shall establish various national literary and art awards, regularly evaluate the work of art professionals, and confer awards to outstanding art professionals.” It was also stipulated that NCAF shall be responsible for creating and implementing regulations for the National Award for Arts, and furthermore, regulations be reviewed periodically to ensure that they conform with changing conditions in the art environment and the special status of the nation's highest awards. In 2015, it was further stipulated that review of the National Award for Arts shall be implemented every two years.
The National Award for Arts was established to encourage and reward artists who have made outstanding contributions. Over the years, the aim of the award has been adjusted to reflect “rewarding artists who have made outstanding contributions and continue to create.” Priority is now given to professionalism and sustained work when considering artists for the award.
The purpose of grants is to apply resources in a way that maximizes the public's potential and to construct a cultural environment conducive to balanced development. Foundation grants are divided into two categories: Regular Grants and Project Grants. Adhering to an arm's length principle and the Foundation's Grants Application Criteria and Grants Regulations, an open call for applications is made at regular intervals. Juries are then convened to evaluate applications, after which, the Board of Directors reviews the results and makes a public announcement. Grant implementations are monitored to ensure quality.
Regular Grants are administered in two cycles annually, and applications are accepted in January and June. Grants are intended for citizens of the Republic of China, foreigners holding an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate, and private institutions or legal persons who are engaged in art related businesses or art undertakings. Applications are accepted from individuals, art groups, and organizations, with the exception of governmental organizations, political parties, and schools, including subsidiaries, major shareholders, and donors attached to such organizations. Applications seeking financial support for the completion of academic degrees or related study plans are also ineligible. Regular grant categories include: Literature Grants, Visual Arts Grants, Music Grants, Dance Grants, Theater Grants, Audiovisual Media Grants, Arts Environment and Development Grants. Applications featuring forward-thinking art projects, international art exchanges, professional lectures, and art and culture related research are given priority.
In addition to Regular Grants, the Foundation offers Project Grants to meet important and pressing needs in art communities. With clear objectives, these specialized grant programs accept only a limited number of applicants and offer more extensive funding. Through strategic planning, the Foundation combines resources and expertise to raise funds, carry out research and development, and to manage these grants in flexible ways to overcome limitations of money, time and creativity. Project grants help improve the management of arts organizations by awarding them more funds and production time, thus augmenting their power to create exhibitions and performances.
Both individuals and organizations are encouraged to apply for this project grant. In addition to art criticism written by individuals, the grant also supports cooperative editing and writing projects that increase diversity. The grant also encourages organizations to conduct projects promoting interaction between different art criticism communities, research on the field of art criticism, and the development of related curricula. Funding is available for writing, research, translation, editing, planning, transportation, marketing, advertising in Taiwan and abroad, forums, lectures, and other projects.
Responding to NCAF's overall goal of Arts to Everyone, and specifically to social issues affecting the elderly, this project grant encourages arts groups and individual artists with related experience and skills to collaborate with social welfare organizations on performances, exhibitions, activities, and services. Project should promote the integration of arts and culture, social welfare, and education, increase participation in the arts and social care. Starting in 2019, in order to expand participation and to bring together elder-focused projects in Taiwan and the United Kingdom, the British Council and NCAF have co-sponsored projects that aim to expand the impact of the Inclusive Arts program through the sharing of experience and international collaboration.
Originally administered by the Ministry of Culture, the grant was transferred to NCAF in 2018 and continues to encourage local legal entities and art groups to create new works in collaboration with international cultural institutions. The Rainbow Initiative supports pioneering, multi-faceted cultural productions that deepen regional networks, disseminate art across borders, connect professional resources, and establish long term partnerships.
This project grant was originally administered by the Ministry of Culture as the Performance Arts Groups Three-Phase Development grants, and was transferred to NCAF in 2018. It was decided that the Ministry of Culture and NCAF would both contribute resources to this grant following a year-long study exploring the grant's subsidy mechanism. In order to ensure compatibility among various team's development requirements and to encourage teams to carry out annual planning as early as possible, the grant's name was changed to Taiwan Top Performing Art Groups in 2019 and awards categories were added to provide groups with one to three years of operational planning and operational and annual planning.
This project grant was based on the Pursuit of Excellence Project for the Performing Arts launched in 2003. It encourages performing arts groups and artists to produce and promote high-quality works, strengthen networking capabilities, and invest in in-depth international exchanges and long-term cooperation. NCAF is seeking to change the one-off performance or exhibition projects of the past into long-term and on-going periodic events having far-reaching impact.
In order to foster criticism in the field of the performing arts and promote aspiring writers, this project grant encourages writers to observe and write about the performing arts over an extended period. Program goals include supporting the accumulation of relevant knowledge and skills, and in turn, invigorating Taiwan’s field of performing arts criticism and extending the impact of professional commentary.
The Overseas Arts Travel project grant encourages young artists working in the performing arts, visual arts, literature, and audiovisual production to attend international arts events abroad for at least 30 days. Awardees are expected to expand their horizons, improve their skills, and enhance their professionalism through overseas experience, which will in turn infuse Taiwan’s art world with new life. Launched in 2013, this project grant was first funded by Kuang Chuan Dairy Company and then taken over by Rodex Fasteners Corporation in 2015. Each year, the grant supports up to 15 artists, who upon their return, are expected to visit schools, communities, independent bookstores, and other arts and cultural venues to share what they have learned.
In 2010, NCAF started a collaboration with Hong-Gah Museum to unite both of their resources. The Curator's Incubator Program, which is under the Production Grants to Independent Curators in Visual Arts program, became an independent project grant called Curator's Incubator Program @ Hong-Gah Museum. In addition to providing funds for exhibitions, the grant augmented the professional resources of a museum with administrative assistance. In 2013, this project grant started accepting applications on a biennial basis, and to expand collaborations with museums, the opportunity for curators to plan exhibitions was added. Besides the Hong-Gah Museum, the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei have also participated in this program. Furthermore, in 2015, Tainan's Siao Long Cultural Park was added to the list. In 2017, in order to strengthen links with resources at Taiwan's smaller public and private museums, collaborative projects were undertaken with the Museum of National Taipei University of Education, Yu-Hsiu Museum of Art, Yilan Museum of Art, and the Yo-Chang Art Museum, which also provided opportunities for emerging curators to engage in different curatorial practices in various fields.
To improve the quality of Taiwan’s exhibitions and diversify its art scene, NCAF launched its Production Grants to Independent Curators in Visual Arts in 2004. Each year applications are accepted and resources are reallocated in order to promote excellent and experimental curatorial projects. The grant also encourages independent curators and exhibition professionals to collaborate on research and development including local and international perspectives. By integrating theory, creativity and exhibitions, the art field can advance. Since 2004, NCAF has supported curatorial projects focusing on landscape, ecology, multimedia technology art, the history of photography, community engagement, and critique of cultural mechanisms, at venues throughout Taiwan, including public art museums, alternative spaces, and outdoor venues in local communities. In 2012, the grant programming was divided into two categories: Residential Research and Exhibition Plans to encourage professional curators to participate in international exhibitions and expand networks and collaborations across national borders.
The purpose of this project grant is to encourage young artists who are recent graduates, and its scope extends to physical theater, solo performance, multimedia theater, interdisciplinary integration, original scripts and adaptations of classic texts. Using this call-for-entry mechanism provides a way of presenting new performance work, and gives the new generations who are interested in theater to put their creative ideas into practice and improve the quality of their work. The project grant is currently in its twelfth iteration since its launch in 2008, and has subsidized a total of 67 works from 51 emerging artists, thus providing a chance for new talent to enter the performing arts. Since 2013, the grant has funded Taipei premieres and arranged tours to other counties and cities and will continue to present high-quality work with more audiences.
This project grant was created in 2010 as Documentary Filmmaking to encourage original and experimental documentaries reflecting the spirit of the times, conveying concern for society, and promoting values worth preserving. Each year, the grant subsidizes 3 to 5 documentary projects, and over the years has become an influential backer of independent documentaries possessing a high degree of artistic value. The current name, adopted in 2018, emphasizes creativity and artistic expression in documentary film. It is hoped that this grant will enrich the documentary films of Taiwan.
This project grant was started in 2003 primarily to support novel writing and to stabilize the production and publishing of longer creative projects. Each year, four outstanding projects are awarded. To date, the grant has been running for 16 years and has awarded 59 projects, of which 32 have been published, and many have received domestic and international awards for literature, adapted for stage, film, and television, or translated and published abroad.
NCAF has been developing this project grant for many years and it has become an important driving force in the creation of novels in Taiwan. The grant actively supports the creation, publishing, and promotion of works by outstanding writers for the Chinese language community worldwide. Furthermore, this programming focuses the resources of different spheres to support original novels, and in 2013, through the efforts of the Foundation, the Pegatron Corporation agreed to an annual gift of NT$1 million to support this grant.
Since 2018, NCAF has independently handled the Visual Arts Organization Development project grant, which was formerly administered by the Ministry of Culture as the Visual Art Grant Program-Operation Category. In order to facilitate seamless transition of the grant's administration, the submission process and content structure used by the Ministry of Culture was continued in 2018. The grant continues to make possible the sustainable operation of organizations engaged in the creation of visual art, curation, research, and promotion, and the support of visual arts organizations so that they could realize their annual plans through staff salaries, administrative fees, rent, and other expenses.
This project grant encourages non-fiction writing about the realities of living in Taiwan that convey humanitarian concerns, reshape historical memory, and capture the spirit of the times. The expectation is that the practice of writing can highlight contemporary issues, promote social transformation, and open up new ways of thinking.