West Kowloon Cultural District to build hostel for artists
The WKCD Authority announces plans to build a hostel for artists on a public-private partnership basis
The West Kowloon Cultural Authority on Thursday announced plans for a hostel and residency centre for artists in between the future Lyric Theatre complex and Music Centre, located on the strip for performance venues between M+ and the Xiqu Centre for Chinese opera.
The hostel, which will be built on a public-private partnership basis, aims to provide around 250-280 rooms at a relatively affordable price point, the Authority said. It can host overseas artists interested in working on short-term projects in Hong Kong and non-artists can also stay there, it said. “All details need to be finalised but at this point, we think that the daily tariff should be around HK$1,500 a night at today’s prices, which is cheap by West Kowloon’s standard,” said a spokesman of the WKCD Authourity. The hostel is expected to open at the end of 2023.
The WKCDA estimates that around 30 per cent of the guests will be artists.
Adeela Suleman, a Pakistani artist showing with Aicon Gallery at Art Basel, said unless there are significant subsidies, the hostel is unlikely to be attractive to overseas artists.
“Very few artists can pay US$200 a night for a hotel, let alone stay there long enough to make a work of art. Ordinary artist residencies last at least a few weeks, or up to six months. They mean to give artists a chance to step away from the familiarity of their studios and interact with fellow artists and a different city. The main purpose is to foster the career of emerging artists,” she said. The WKCDA, which earlier told the Post it couldn't confirm that there would be subsidies in the future, on Friday clarified that it planned to secure subsidies or sponsorship of some form when the hostel opens.
Henry Tang Ying-yen, chairman of WKCDA, on Thursday also highlighted at a public event some the commercial developments that will subsidise future cultural programmes. The build-operate-transfer tender for an 47,000 sqm exhibition centre with a seating capacity of around 10,000 will be launched at year-end or early 2019, he said, and the centre should be ready by the end of 2023 or early 2024. It will be part of a complex that also consists of a hotel and offices with a total floor area of 81,000 sqm.
In addition, there will be a retail area of 6,800 sqm. These are located at the tip of the district and separate from other areas designated for offices and residential buildings, which he said would not be for sale.
A new map provided by WKCDA on Thursday revealed that the locations of future performance venues have been reshuffled since 2017. The Music Centre is now next to the Lyric Theatre Complex, followed by the Great Theatre and the Musical Theatre.
This article has been updated to clarify that the WKCDA may be able to subsidise artists for their stay