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Taiwanese art

Detroit festival pays tribute to Taiwanese arts, Sept. 15-16

Taiwanese art
“Door Gods” © Kaohsiung Museum of History. Photo credit: Ming Bang Yen and Tsung Che Chen

DETROIT – The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and its auxiliary Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures present two days of Taiwanese arts and culture on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16 from noon to 4 p.m. Taiwanese Festival activities are free with museum admission, which is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and DIA members. The festival is part of special Asian arts and cultures programs leading up to the opening of the newly expanded Asian art galleries on Nov. 4.

The festival includes movies, performances, cooking demonstrations, traditional arts and crafts, puppets to play with and displays.

Displays: Noon–4 p.m., Great Hall

  • Door gods posters: Door gods are commonly found on temple doors and household doors throughout Taiwan and are meant to protect those within by preventing evil influences from entering.
  • Shadow puppet and glove puppet theaters: These puppet theaters will allow visitors to play with puppets on the stage.
  • Taipei via MRT: View a display of a large Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) map featuring up to 16 major attractions with historical, cultural and natural significances.
  • Visit Taiwan: A contour map of Taiwan will be on view. Tourist information, including Mountain TourismTouring Taiwan by Train, Ecotourism, Medical Tourism and others will be available.

Taiwan LEGO and Dough Figurine Demonstrations: Great Hall

  • Yenchih Huang displays a large “Chaotian Temple LEGO” and demonstrates Taiwanese-style LEGO-building. 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
  • Karyn Chiang presents historical figures and cartoon animals made from dough and demonstrates the making of Chinese zodiac animals. Noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

Hands-on activities: Noon–4 p.m., Student Lunchroom

  • Dough figurine: Make a simple dough animal using basic tools.
  • Lantern making & door gods coloring: Create a lantern decorated with Chinese characters that typically accompany the display of door gods and color your own door god.
  • Taiwan puzzles:  Learn about Taiwan’s geography by playing with Taiwan maps and landmark puzzles.

Cooking Demonstration: 2:15 p.m., Crystal Gallery Café

Shih-Wen Wu demonstrates how to make pork dumplings. Copies of the recipe will be provided.

National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan: 3 p.m. (in Detroit Film Theatre on Sept. 15; in Rivera Court on Sept. 16)

The National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan performs Western pieces and Taiwanese pieces and performs with the Ann Arbor Chinese Traditional Music Ensemble for part of the program.

“Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above”: Noon, Detroit Film Theatre

Breathtaking aerial footage provides a birds-eye view of Taiwan that contrasts its natural beauty with the devastating effects of human development. Followed by a Q&A with Chiaoning Su, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Oakland University.

Co-sponsors of the Taiwanese Festival (in alphabetical order) are Friends of Asian Arts and Cultures, Michigan Chinese Women Association, Michigan Taiwanese American Organization, Oakland University Taiwan Week, Taipei Cultural Center in New York, Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Chicago, Taiwan Tourism Bureau in New York, Youngs Travel.

Museum Hours and Admission:

9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $14 for adults, $9 for seniors ages 62+, $8 for college students, $6 for ages 6–17. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art individually and with each other.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

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