In the early 1980s, a group of artists and scholars from China Academy of Art, Zhejiang University, Nankai University and Xiling Seal Art Society drew up a plan to establish an independent institution for Chinese arts and cultural studies on the lakeside of Hangzhou, echoing the Imperial Art Academy founded by Emperor Gaozong on the shores of West Lake and aiming to revive the spirit of Chinese art.
In April 1989, Ms Zhang Songying raised funds to contract the operation of the Hangzhou Hushu Society of Arts, laying the foundation for the establishment of the Academy.
In 1995, with the financial support of the Hangzhou Hushu Society of Arts, their vision was implemented by the establishment of Dazhen National Institute and Dazhen Gallery at the antechamber of Imperial Wenlan Library, situated on the island of Solitary Hill as the predecessor of Wulin Academy. In 1997, as the archaeological excavation and restoration at the Imperial Library began, the Institute and Gallery moved out of the island and cooperated with the Government of Gongshu District to run the Hangzhou Hushu Society of Arts. Later in the same year, members of the Dazhen National Institute established the Hangzhou Meilan Society of Arts. Since the late 1990s, the Meilan Society has become increasingly influential as it strives to rebuild the disintegrated tradition of Chinese civilization that was broken off during the New Culture Movement in the mid-1910s and ten years' Cultural Revolution started in 1966.
In May 2002, the former Dazhen National Institute, Hangzhou Hushu Society of Arts and Hangzhou Meilan Society of Arts formally merged to constitute the Wulin Academy of Arts, named after Wulin, the ancient name of Hangzhou with puns meaning strength, courage and aggregation. In the year 2006, the academy moved its location to the shores of West Lake from the foot of Wu Mountain, facing the island of Solitary Hill across the lake that witnessed the twisted history of Wulin Academy and its visions of the renaissance of Chinese culture.
Dazhen National Institute, Imperial Wenlan Library, 1996
Israeli student studying Chinese painting at Dongtian Studio, Wulin Academy of Arts, 2002
Conference Room at Jinglian Space, Wulin Academy of
Plum blossoms at Wulin Academy, 2018