Art is in the air as designer trams are put on the map

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 February, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 February, 2010, 12:00am

An artistic air pervaded Hong Kong yesterday as plans to draw up an 'art map' were unveiled, the city's first designer trams took to the roads and the secretary for home affairs said his bureau would find a way to operate museums in a more flexible manner.

The 'art map' aims to put popular local art and cultural facilities on paper in a bid to paint the city as more than just an eating and shopping hub.

The Tourism Board will work with local artists to create the map, which will highlight facilities such as the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Shek Kip Mei and studios in Fo Tan and Kwun Tong.

Tourism Board chairman James Tien Pei-chun said he hoped the map would show Hong Kong was a city of diversity, offering tourists art, culture and green tourism.

The Tourism Board also unveiled the city's first designer trams yesterday as part of its Art in Motion campaign.

Twelve local artists, including award-winning artist Lee Chi-ching, had been invited to do decorative designs for 12 trams based on festive and cultural events in Hong Kong. The trams will run around Hong Kong Island until March 23.

Tien said he hoped the tram campaign would showcase the city's traditional and contemporary cultures. He said the Tourism Board was planning to promote local art in Kowloon and the New Territories.

John Ho, the artist who designed a Lunar New Year-themed tram, said young people liked the work of local artists and he hoped there would be more opportunity for people like him to showcase their work in public.

Mason Hung Chung-hing, the Tourism Board's senior manager for event and product development, said the board would organise another Summer Pop event this year. The two-day music event had its inaugural run last year. More time would be spent on the event this year to ensure a stronger line-up of performers, Hung said.

Museums were also on the agenda yesterday, with the government saying it would find a way to operate local museums in a more flexible way.

Speaking at yesterday's Legislative Council home affairs panel, Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing defended the government's decision to reject a recommendation by the museums committee to let private companies run the city's 14 public museums.

Tsang said letting private companies run them was not the solution, and that red tape was hampering the way museums were operated.

One solution to creating more flexibility was by changing the mindset of the people who worked there, he said.

He said the committee's recommendations were all reasonable but that setting up a statutory board to manage public museums was too complicated. The Leisure and Culture Services Department is responsible for running the city's museums.

More than 100 non-civil servants work in the department that oversees the city's museums. More civil servants will be hired to work in the department this year, the first time in years this has happened.