There is a magical village where imagination is literally painted on the walls. Where a community was saved and is now preserved by the playfulness of an old veteran’s heart. Nestled in the town of Taizhong, about an hour and half away from Taipei, is a secret gem called Rainbow Village.
This colorful village is so much more than a few splashes of paint. Often, it’s in these unexpected and joyful finds where you’ll discover the heart of a community and it’s meaningful backstory. Although it’s off the beaten track and not easy to find, the Rainbow Village certainly is worth checking out.
I was excited to discover the Rainbow Village while researching fun places to take my little sister during our summer vacation together in Taiwan. We walked around the Rainbow Village with childlike wonder, making up stories based on the drawings we saw there. We found fantastical depictions of animals and aboriginal drawings in every nook and cranny. Seeing the fresh bursts of color from the floors to the walls reminded me of the lost art of play. We loved every minute of this place and soaked up as much of this happy ambience as we could.
What appeared as a vibrant outdoor art gallery for a child’s imagination, ended up being so much more! Taichung’s Rainbow Village was originally a military dependent social housing establishment built in the 1940s. It became a home for several Kuomingtang army veterans that served Taiwan during their civil war with mainland China. The government’s urban development bureau planned to demolish their rundown homes and replace it with new, modern high-rise apartments. Except, the local community protested. They were not ready to give up their homes. It was the roots to their heritage, the repositories of their memories.
While a paintbrush may not be a traditional form of armor, retired veteran, Huang Yung Fu changed the government’s decision by transforming his village walls with a colorful makeover. In a wonderfully playful example of re-purposed social practice art work, Huang Yung Fu picked up his paintbrush and let his imaginations run wild. His act of artistic labor, brightened up the the drab surroundings and swayed the government to cancel the demolition project.
Today, Huang Yung Fu is known as Taichung’s Grandpa Rainbow. At 94 years old, you can catch Grandpa Rainbow hanging out at the Rainbow Village everyday. If you go there today you’re likely to find your own playful heart as you explore, take funny selfies and find your inner child. Something that we all should do from time to time.
Rainbow Family Village 彩虹眷村
Address: Lane 56, Chun’an Road, Taichung, Taiwan
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Pxichrzpku52
From Taichung THSR Station:
By Taxi/Uber: About 160-200NTD.
By Bus: Bus No. 26,70, 99, going towards Lingtung University. Get off at Nantun Tongan House (南屯同安厝). Walk about 240m along Lane 19, Zhongyong Rd.
From Taichung Main Railway Station
By Tax/Uber: About 260-300NTD.
By Bus: Bus No. 27,29-30-40, direction towards Lingtung University. Get off at Lingtung University (嶺東科技大學(嶺東路)). Walk about 400m south along Lingtung Rd. Rainbow village is on the right.