Alliance aims to send message on arts hub

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 September, 2010, 12:00am

They know their chances of winning are slim, but they have nevertheless splashed out on taking part in the Arts Development Council's coming election for its 10 non-government-appointed representatives.

Independent young arts workers Choi Tsz-kwan, Tang Siu-wa and Roland Ip Ho-lun have formed an election alliance called ADC80s, by which they hope to put public pressure on the council, which is charged with promoting development of the arts in the city, to do more than simply throw money at the arts community.

The three said they hoped to raise awareness of the need for an organic approach to arts development in addition to the building of infrastructure, in light of the government's massive spending on the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The three candidates and a number of their supporters yesterday staged an election stunt at the council's office in Quarry Bay, delivering a red packet containing HK$120 million in fake banknotes to the council, a gesture Tang said was to show that funding artists and arts groups should not be its sole task.

Tang said the council received around HK$120 million a year to feed the local arts community, but that this paled in comparison with the nearly HK$150 million spent on commissioning three internationally renowned architects to draft conceptual plans for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

'We demand the council act as a voice for the arts community, to speak for us publicly and in front of the government,' said Tang, the editor of literary magazine Fleurs des Lettres and among the five candidates in the literary arts category for the election.

She said the council was the first arts institution that young artists in Hong Kong learn of, and that it should play a bigger role than merely distributing money. She said the council should be formulating arts and cultural policies to cultivate the local arts sector, and that such a role would be increasingly important amid the development of the HK$21 billion arts hub.

'Cultural software should come before the hardware, and we do not want to see a cultural district that has no audience and no local arts content, which relies on programmes from overseas,' she said.

The election, which will take place from September 17 to 19, will feature 7,071 registered voters from various arts disciplines, arts groups and artists. The election for council members takes place every three years.

There are 10 arts disciplines - arts administration, arts criticism, arts education, dance, drama, film arts, music, literary arts, visual arts and Chinese opera.

The 10 elected will become members of the council, which also has another 17 appointed members, including three officials representing the government.

Ko Tin-lung looked set to win the race in the drama sector as there were no other candidates. Choi is competing in the arts education sector while Ip is running in the visual arts sector.

Film director Vincent Chui Wan-shun, who goes head to head with award-winning director Johnnie To Kei-fung in the film arts sector, said the different parts of the council should work together on arts and cultural policies and make recommendations to the government, instead of fighting over resources given out by the Home Affairs Bureau. 'We also hope frontline artists ... are more critical of the council's current role as merely a funding body,' Chui said.

Candidates will attend a public forum this Saturday at 10am at Y-Studio, Youth Square in Chai Wan.