Centres open their doors to local contemporary artists
While Hong Kong's much-anticipated vision of a cultural hub in West Kowloon remains on the drawing board, local artists are finding welcome exposure for their work in shopping malls and office blocks.
It's a win-win situation for both, as managers of retail and commercial centres seek to attract browsers with entertainment of all forms.
This trend is extending the responsibilities of the professionals who market modern complexes.
When Sino Group recently advertised for an assistant marketing manager, the range of responsibilities for the post included 'planning and setting up of art exhibitions and workshops'.
Sino Group is at the forefront of promoting local art, launching its Art in Hong Kong initiative last year.
It even has a dedicated website, keeping the public informed about the latest exhibitions at its two leading properties, Olympian City in West Kowloon and Central Plaza in Wan Chai.
A calendar of exhibitions at Olympian City has featured art ranging from the so-called 'Fotan School' of contemporary local artists to an exhibition by disabled artists in May. The current show is a paper-cutting exhibition celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover.
Prestigious exhibitions in the lobby of Central Plaza have ranged from old masters to modern sculptures.
'There are many passionate artists in Hong Kong, yet there are few channels to showcase their work,' said Una Lau Yuk-min, assistant general manager of marketing and corporate communications at Sino Group.
'We have set aside open spaces to increase the awareness of art as an integral part of life. We want to create more opportunities for artists to flourish.'
A set of three-metre tall display panels has been installed permanently in the Central Atrium of Olympian City 'with the aim of developing the space into a contemporary art gallery'.
Sino also supports local artists by purchasing and collecting their work for display in various other properties.
Local artists have found another prominent exhibition venue at the new-look Peak Tower, which has been redeveloped and now has a dedicated Sky Gallery.
Martyn Sawyer, group general manager for properties and clubs at The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, said: 'Our vision is to create a spectacular showcase for local artists.
'As much as The Peak Tower is an iconic tourist attraction, it is also an enduringly favourite local attraction, so we were determined to involve the community in its revitalisation.'
The Peak Tower attracted 7million visitors a year even before its facelift, so the Sky Gallery provides Hong Kong artists with 'an outlet for creative expression reaching an international audience'.