There is fear that competition for power and funds may weaken the proposed Arts
THE new Arts Council proposed in the Government's Arts Policy Review Report consultation paper has been compared to a house without electricity and water, with its inhabitants on barely nodding acquaintance.
This view was expressed by some representatives from related sectors in a recent forum organised by Radio Television Hongkong's Radio 4.
Titled ''Arts Management Structure'', the discussion was the second of six episodes of Arts Policy Forum , a programme aimed at arousing awareness on the Government's arts policy during the paper's consultation period that will end on June 30.
Mr Angus Miu, Principal Assistant Secretary (Culture) of the Government's Recreation and Culture Branch, told the audience that the Government would continue in the 1990s its policy of non-intervention in cultivating arts.
In the proposed Arts Council, which would be a revamp of the present Council for Performing Arts (CFPA), the autonomy of two of its members - the Urban and Regional councils - would be maintained, he said.
But Dr Vicki Ooi, representative of the Hongkong Cultural Sector Joint Conference, was sceptical about the new structure.
''The establishing of an Arts Council is like building a house. But I am worried that the divergent interests of its representative councils would strip the new body of power, the electricity, and funds, the water, to implement new policies. And a house cannot be run without electricity and water.'' She told Young Post that the Urban Council, with its vested interest in promoting performing arts and being the main source of arts funding, might get all the ''electricity''.
Mr Benny Chia, representative of the Hongkong Arts Administrators' Association, felt the poor co-ordination between the two councils and CFPA might continue in the new structure.
''They are like three brothers who only nod at each other even though they live in the same house. They really need to sit down and talk at this stage because the three are the sources of 90 per cent of local arts funding.'' A wider representation was the concern of legislator Man Sai-cheong, who is also the chairman of the Urban Council's Culture Select Committee.
''The Arts Council must not repeat the mistake of CFPA by remaining just a consultative body. It must have more power in determining funds allocation and be composed of Government-appointed representatives from all three of the performing, literary and visual sectors, as well as from art educational institutions like the Academy for Performing Arts and the Education Department.'' Another legislator, Ms Christine Loh Kung-wai, said the new structure was empty of clear and specific goals for future arts development.
''Without stating the specific goals, it would not be able to persuade the Government to give them more funding for the expansion of the visual and literary arts,'' she said.
The remaining episodes of Arts Policy Forum will discuss in sequence the issues of Arts in Education; Arts Funding; Visual and Literary Arts; Creative Environment for the Arts and Freedom of Artistic Expression.
They will be broadcast at 5.30 every Sunday afternoon on Radio 4. In addition, an English series of the same programme is being broadcast on the same channel at noon every Saturday. The English programme invites mainly those from the arts circles to present their views instead of singling out issues for discussion.