Cultural Policy

Arts policy pitch falls short, say critics

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 12:00am

A government consultation paper launched yesterday to seek views on the promotion of arts and culture was greeted with cynicism from arts groups.

The paper, released by the Culture and Heritage Commission, invites opinions on the SAR's cultural development, ranging from arts education to heritage preservation.

The 15-page document was the product of 12 closed-door meetings, two study tours and two retreats held by the commission's 17 members since its establishment last March.

Professor Chang Hsin-kang, chairman of the official advisory body, said the document was the first of its kind aimed at developing a long-term policy on arts and culture.

Chan Ho-fung, of the Zuni Icosahedron group, criticised the commission for a lack of openness, citing the closed-door meetings it held before releasing the paper.

'I think the commission should be more active in co-operating with non-government arts organisations,' the artist said.

Lee Kin-chun, chairman of the Arts Administrators' Association, said it would be difficult to foster an interest in the arts merely through the production of a document.

The consultation paper will be seeking opinions on issues such as giving priority to culture and arts education for the young, improving public libraries and ideas for preservation of heritage.

'In the past, arts and cultural policy were mostly the work of the Government,' Professor Chang said. 'We are not saying the authority has imposed too many limitations, but we hope people will be able to take a more active role. After all, arts and culture are related to the general public.'

Secretary for Home Affairs Lam Woon-kwong, a member of the commission, said he wanted to see more investment from the private sector in arts and cultural activities, as there was much room for development.