HK$700,000 raised at auction to preserve art school site

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2012, 12:04pm

Students spearheading a drive to preserve an arts academy at a Kai Tak heritage building have promised to set up a fund to keep the campus with the HK$700,000 raised from an auction yesterday.

More than 70 students and local artists donated 50 artworks, all of which were sold to support the campaign to keep the Baptist University's Academy of Visual Arts at its campus near the old airport.

Red Cheung King-wai, chairman of the HKBU Visual Arts Campus Development Concern Group, said the funds would be used to fight to remain at the former Royal Air Force station.

The grade-one historic site was temporarily leased to the university when the academy was inaugurated in 2005, taking in 40 students.

Should the campaign be unsuccessful, remaining funds will be donated to assist the academy's educational activities and development.

At the auction yesterday, local visual artist Chow Chun-fai said: "The construction is of colonial design and we should conserve such a good historic spot. Letting the AVA play this role … results in a win-win situation."

Cheung said the group remained concerned, despite the government granting the academy a one-year reprieve from moving out of the site, because members had been told by school authorities that students can only use half of the campus when classes resume next month.

The auction was initially organised to raise HK$3 million needed to pay an increased monthly rent of HK$300,000 the Government Property Agency demanded after the lease expires this month. The academy is now paying HK$50,000 a month as part of the reprieve.