Patrons, parasites and plonk: 10 years of art for charity's sake

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 12:00am

ArtWalk celebrates its tenth year tonight. That's a decade of art supporters roaming about Central and SoHo (thanks to a shuttle bus, now Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Aberdeen too) on one night looking at art, enjoying nibbles and drinks with their ArtWalk badge and supporting charity. Through it all, organiser John Batten has dealt with highs and lows, patrons and parasites as the event becomes a local institution.

'All the antique shops stay open late. Bars stock up on extra wine. Then there's all these picture framers passing themselves off as galleries trying to flog off fake Yue Minjun. All these things contribute to the atmosphere,' Batten half-complained about the coat-tail riders.

'There is no other event like it in Hong Kong. This year, we've got things happening in the street, like choirs singing and artists doing a sound piece live on RTHK.'

Last year, 65 galleries took part and more than 2,000 participants raised HK$477,000 for the Society for Community Organisation. Batten hopes to top last year's economic-tsunami affected total. Of course, Batten being Batten, he's ever critical of things that bug him. 'The freeloaders who try to go to galleries without a badge bug me. The other thing I don't like is when non-participating galleries swipe a poster and pretend to be a part of ArtWalk. I've ripped down posters from them.'

Since all the proceeds go to charity, just buy the HK$430 badge. ArtWalk starts at 5pm and ends at midnight. Badges are available until 8.30 tonight.