An old veterans’ community restored as an artist village in 2010 – Treasure Hill is every bit as alluring as its name.
Treasure Hill is a historic community that was founded by veterans of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) back in the late 1940s. Academics and activists protested against the eviction of the villagers when it was to be rezoned into a parkland. After cooperating with non-governmental organization Global Artivists Participation Project, the city government developed the area into a living art village and environmentally sustainable urban community.
Taking its name from the Buddhist temple of the same name in the community, which was built 300 years ago (寶藏巖), Treasure Hill is still home to 22 out of 100 or so former households. The remaining empty houses will be used to build hostels, bookstores, and studios. Currently, a total of 17 studios, 2 rehearsal studios, and 3 exhibition spaces are available.
Treasure Hill has become largely popular with the university crowd, most who come with cameras in hand to record their experiences in pictures. Having visited the place twice now, I always manage to find new things and new people to capture with my cameras.
Operating under the ideal of creating a new village that will provide space for both living and art, there are plans to build a community kitchen, dining facility, and co-op neighborhood store. Currently, there is a community organic garden, free screenings of outdoor movies for residents and staged dramas by local theater companies.
Although there has been criticism on how the development of the art village has affected the villagers’ lives, I am truly grateful for a place like Treasure Hill in the middle of modern Taipei for a little bit of quiet inspiration.