Posted by: janeingramallen | February 3, 2011

Artists in Cheng Long – a unique cultural experience!

Life in Cheng Long village in rural Yunlin County, Taiwan, is usually uneventful and much the same as it has been for centuries.  However, adding international artists from such countries as France, India, USA and other parts of Taiwan as well as volunteers from other cities and regions of Taiwan gave a new flavor to the small community and lots of excitement and cultural experiences for the community and the school children.  The artists shared with the school children information about their country and the environmental issues in their homeland.  The artists also made a presentation for the whole community at the welcome dinner held in front of Cheng Long Temple where food was served for all.


The artists and volunteers enjoyed great meals together prepared for them by a local mother.  Dinner was served each evening outdoors with everyone gathering around family style to enjoy fresh seafood, meat and vegetables prepared in traditional Chinese and Taiwanese style.  Lunch was at the school with the children, and everyone prepared their own breakfast at one of the three houses where the artists and volunteers were staying.  We also had coffee and bread available for breakfast for the Western artists!  Artists and volunteers lived in three village houses that were rented for the installation period from local people.  Each artist had a bedroom and a shared kitchen and bathrooms at each house.  Artists and volunteers also had bicycles available to get around the wetlands, the village and also to tour nearby villages.


Some of the more colorful and interesting Cheng Long village people included the “illustrated man” who had tattoos covering most of his body and many very cute babies and grandmothers.  Some of the local village people could speak little English so communication was with smiles and gestures.


The artists also enjoyed visiting the sites in nearby cities and towns.  One memorable experience was going to a nearby town for the Matsu Festival, a religious festival that happens each year at this time when the Goddess Matsu comes to visit the local temple.  It was a huge celebration with many people on the streets, lots of food, costumes, music and many firecrackers! Another great experience was when we went to the beach to gather materials and visited a local artist’s studio and gallery.


Many enjoyable evenings were spent together just sitting around talking about work and life.  It was a great opportunity for cultural exchange and fellowship and even some singing and dancing together. The artists in 2010 all worked very hard each day, but everyone also had a great time.  Lasting friendships were formed and we all became like one big happy family!


For the 2011 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project we are planning more activities for the artists and the community and look forward to welcoming a new group of artists and volunteers to Cheng Long!  Be sure to get your proposal sent in by the deadline of February 11.  See the links here for information in English and Chinese about what to send and complete details about the project for 2011.




  1. Greetings from Australia. I like this post for it’s focus on human interactions. It has been said that art music and philosophy are useless as far as human survival is concerned, but art, music and philosophy make life worth living. Sharing food together, sharing aspects of different cultures and traditions, being respectful of the natural environment make the Wetlands art project special.

  2. HI !!! I’m so excited with tour wonderfull project!!! Will send mi application soon !!!
    I hope you would be interrested in face painting activities
    For kids. Have been doing it for 15 years. Also dance and sculpture. I’m french canadian living in Mexico!!
    Love !

    Lové and light!!!

    • Hi Gilbert,
      Thanks for your interest in the Cheng Long art project for 2012. I also sent a reply to your email. Please check it too!
      Face painting could certainly be part of the community activities with the kids if you are selected as one of the artists for 2012. Review all the required materials and make a proposal and send to me before the Feb. 8 deadline for applications. We are looking for artists who can make a sculpture installation related to the theme for 2012 and that will last for about one year and that will engage the village people and children and be related to how seafood is produced and using recycled or natural materials and sited in the village or in the wetlands area. Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Thanks again,
      Jane Ingram Allen, Curator

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