New funding scheme to help arts groups grow

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 March, 2011, 12:00am

The government will boost its fund-matching grants for promising, medium-sized, non-profit arts groups and also encourage them to seek sponsorships from the private sector.

The Home Affairs Bureau yesterday tabled the new Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme, which will use the HK$30 million investment return from the HK$1.5 billion seed money the government injected into the arts portion of the Arts and Sport Development Fund in last year's budget. The nine major arts groups will share HK$264 million in 2010-11. The Arts Development Council funds projects involving budding artists and small-to-medium-sized arts groups, but only up to a maximum of HK$1 million.

'There's a gap in the current system,' said Raymond Young Lap-moon, permanent secretary for home affairs. 'How can these medium-sized groups grow to the level of flagship arts groups? This new funding scheme can help groom them.'

Young added that the existing funding schemes put a heavier emphasis on performing arts, and the government hoped to direct more resources to visual arts disciplines.

The scheme - aimed at funding projects and groups promoting the arts through programming, content development, audience building, arts education and manpower development - will be in two parts.

Project grants will fund initiatives with a budget of HK$1 million to HK$2 million, but there will be no fund- matching.

Promising non-profit arts groups that can secure an income of HK$1million over two years - including cash sponsorship, box office receipts and other sources of income - can apply for a Springboard Grant.

The government will match the funding at a 2:1 ratio. If a group can raise HK$1 million, the government will give it HK$2 million. One term of funding will last for two years and the government will fund a group for no more than two terms.

'We understand that it can be very difficult for arts groups, particularly the smaller ones, to raise funding from the market,' said Young. 'We hope by providing government reassurance, it will be easier for them to secure private sponsorships.'

Legco's home affairs panel will discuss the scheme on Friday.

Big money

The arts sector will share this much, in Hong Kong dollars, from the Arts and Sport Development Fund: $30m