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Old November 7th, 2008, 06:02 PM   #461
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Arts chiefs look to raise funds for cultural 'software'
Council seeks to develop arts resources within community

3 November 2008
South China Morning Post

Arts chiefs are looking for new ways of raising funds for cultural "software" - programmes aimed at developing arts in the community - to complement the "hardware" developed at the West Kowloon Cultural District.

The Arts Development Council says it will seek donations from companies and the public and launch new schemes of its own, including an expansion of its funding system and the introduction of school programmes.

Council chairman Ma Fung-kwok, a member of the newly announced West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, said he hoped the moves would help elevate the council from being a funding body to playing a more active role in local arts development.

"Because of the discussion on the West Kowloon Cultural District, people have come to realise that economic development doesn't rely only on property development or finance," Mr Ma said. "The private sector has given much greater support for the arts and cultural sector because they understand that there's a return, like brand-building, from sponsoring arts and culture."

He said the new Arts Community Fund, expected to be launched in the middle of next year, was aimed at funding items not covered by the council before, such as scholarships for art administrators and overseas cultural exchanges.

Council vice-chairman Maurice Lee Wai-man said it had secured support from the Home Affairs Bureau, which would provide several million dollars of seed money to set up the fund. Mr Lee said he hoped the fund could raise tens of millions of dollars a year.

After funding responsibility for arts groups that had been receiving three-year grants from the council was shifted to the Home Affairs Bureau in 2006, the council has been providing one-year grants and project grants but Mr Ma said these were not ideal for arts development.

He said the council hoped to extend the one-year grant system, which has been supporting about 30 small and medium-sized arts groups, to at least two years.

"This spares the groups from the frantic paperwork for grant applications," he said. "It's such modest funding and has to be reviewed every year. How can you measure an arts group's performance over such a short period?"

He said the council had also introduced multi-project grants allowing one arts group to apply for grants for more than a single project, giving the groups more flexibility and continuity for planning.

A new scheme for students' art ambassadors will also be set up. Mr Lee said the scheme, expected to cost no more than HK$2 million, would encompass more than 1,600 primary and secondary schools.

Students at each school would vote for an arts representative who would be awarded a scholarship.

Meanwhile, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department plans to organise arts management courses with an overseas institution, to overcome the lack of museum curators in Hong Kong.

The department's assistant director for heritage and museums, Louis Ng Chi-wa, said the department was looking for a foreign university to set up courses in Hong Kong covering museum studies not offered by local institutions.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department now has 160 museum curators - 80 per cent of whom were trained between 1999 and 2004 - and 250 venue managers.

"But now there is a need for such training especially for junior staff and assistant curators," Dr Ng said.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 05:31 AM   #462
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Cultural hub to revive districts
31 October 2008
South China Morning Post

Public debate over plans for a cultural hub in West Kowloon is set to gather pace with a pledge this week from Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen that the project will spur the rejuvenation of districts such as Yau Ma Tei and Tai Kok Tsui.

Mr Tang, who also chairs the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, said that the 40-hectare arts hub would enjoy regional status, with local and international firms invited to submit designs for theatres and other venues. The public will eventually choose from three development options.

The district is expected to have 15 performing arts venues developed in two phases, with 12 venues planned for completion in five to six years from when the project starts. These facilities would include a concert hall, xiqu (Chinese opera) centre, theatre and a larger performance venue. Once these proposed facilities are completed, the city's performing arts venues will account for an increase of 37 per cent over the total seating capacity of Hong Kong performing venues while public museum space will be up by 52 per cent in stages.

Phase 2 will depend on the demand that is generated as Phase 1 comes into operation. In terms of museum facilities, a new cultural venue, dubbed M+ (Museum Plus), will focus on 20th-century and 21st-century visual culture. Again, this addition will increase space of public museums by 52 per cent.

An estimated 2.4 million tourists would be expected annually once the core facilities of Phase 1 were operating, government officials said.

Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents chairman Michael Wu said: "There is a shortage of space and it's difficult to book venues like the Cultural Centre. This new option would enable us to create more products to pull the lucrative meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions market.

"We hope the arts hub will emphasise local character and culture such as a museum showcasing traditional Chinese opera and history."

Mr Wu said the facilities would diversify local cultural attractions by raising Hong Kong's profile as an Asian metropolis and premier tourist city. He said tourism and the local economy would benefit if attractions in West Kowloon encouraged visitors to lengthen their stay.

Chris Ip Ngo-tung, district councillor for Yau Tsim Mong, where the arts hub will be located, said he hoped the project would resolve the shortage of suitable and well-equipped venues that local organisations needed.

"It's vital to involve the input of the end-users throughout the design process," Mr Ip said.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 09:19 AM   #463
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Development stimulates new courses in cultural pursuits arts and humanities
West Kowloon complex spurs drive to expand teaching pool

15 November 2008
South China Morning Post

Ever since former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa proposed the establishment of an arts and cultural complex in West Kowloon in the 1998 policy address, the development of arts has taken on a new life in Hong Kong, which has long been derided as a cultural desert.

With drama and visual arts classes being incorporated into formal curriculums, the demand for teachers specialising in the field has also risen over the past few years.

To cope with the demand, local universities have introduced new courses aimed at expanding the pool of arts professionals and trainers in Hong Kong.

With the introduction of the master of arts in visual culture studies last year, Chinese University has seen a substantial increase in applications.

Helen Grace, director of the master's programme of the university's department of cultural and religious studies, said local education reform had boosted the demand for professional arts trainers.

"We have seen a 50 per sent increase in applications this year," she said. "There are many cultural elements in liberal studies. As the subject will be one of the core subjects for senior form students under the new academic structure, the demand for arts teachers has increased a lot.

"The West Kowloon proposal includes the setting up of a visual arts centre. The public began to talk about visual culture and what it really means. The concept has become somewhat of a buzzword lately. Many people don't actually understand what visual culture is about."

Featuring courses on a wide range of visual media such as film, video and advertising, the course explored the power of images and their applications in daily lives.

"It's basically a theoretical course. It's about the various implications of visual media and helps students make sense of continuous images," Professor Grace said.

The course also has a strong emphasis on visual research projects.

"We are surrounded by advertising images, celebrities and productions nowadays. We encourage students to explore how those images are made, their implications for society as a whole. For example, my students have done a project on advertising for housing which explored how housing developments are sold in Hong Kong and the nature of space in shopping malls. For all the visual projects, they have to use visual methodologies to do them."

Li Siu-leung, programme director of the master's of cultural studies at Lingnan University, said the development of cultural studies had yet to take off in Hong Kong.

"The concept of cultural studies first gained popularity in the UK in the 60s," he said. "Compared with other subjects like comparative literature, it is relatively new. In Hong Kong, many still see it as an abstract subject."

Dr Li said the course encouraged students to explore cultural theories and phenomena with a critical eye.

"The theme of cultural criticism runs through our courses. Arts history is not our main concern. Students have to critically analyse how performance arts, movies, pop music and literature percolate and affect the society. Instead of asking why there are those artistic media, we explore how those artistic forms operate in various levels in the society."

A heavy dose of contemporary arts and local pop culture was one of the unique features of the course. "Take contemporary local cinema as an example," Dr Li said. "When we study the triad films by Johnnie To Kei-fung, we are not concerned with how talented the director is and how the plots and characters reflect social mores. The main focus of our study is to see the political significance of triads in Hong Kong."

Dr Li said students had to keep abreast of all the recent arts events and developments in the society to critically analyse their implications using cultural study concepts.

"The West Kowloon Cultural District is a major case study in the course on cultural institution and policy," he said. "We explore the negotiation between government and society on how culture should be developed, the pros and cons of using public money to subsidise arts projects.

"On the other hand, the controversy surrounding the demolition of the Queen's Pier is related to our post-colonial studies. The community activism aroused by the event and the collective protective action for the pier reflected how the public view colonial legacy and how colonial history relates to the public in the post-colonial Hong Kong."
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Old November 20th, 2008, 01:43 AM   #464
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Gov't Press Release:
LCQ2: The work of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 05:58 AM   #465
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HK$1m arts scheme to groom talent and audiences for cultural district
14 November 2008
South China Morning Post

The Hong Kong Arts Development Council is to introduce a HK$1 million scheme to more than 1,000 schools to groom future talent and audiences for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Council arts promotion committee chairman Ko Tin-lung said that while there had been a lot of discussion about the hardware of the West Kowloon Cultural District, he hoped that this scheme would help promote arts and culture among students who would form a great pool of talent and audiences for arts shows in future.

The first Arts Ambassadors-in-School scheme will invite all 1,260 primary and secondary schools, including special schools and international schools, to participate.

Each school will be invited to nominate one student who has artistic talent and is keen on promoting arts and culture among his or her classmates to become an arts ambassador.

The council has secured more than HK$1million in funding from the Arts and Sport Development Fund and each student ambassador will receive a HK$500 scholarship plus a certificate, of commendation, and an ambassador-in-school badge.

The selected ambassadors will get the chance to attend arts programmes including meetings with artists, workshops and talks from April to August next year.

They will also attend programmes hosted by arts organisations such as the Hong Kong Institute of Aesthetic Education, the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Chung Ying Theatre, City Contemporary Dance Company and the Hong Kong Percussion Centre.

The ambassadors will also be invited to share their learning experiences on radio, to write blogs as well as writing for various publications including the South China Morning Post's Young Post.

Mr Ko said that this was the largest arts awards scheme for students. "Hong Kong's future lies in the creativity of young people and we should start this at a school level," he said. "We hope to launch a movement to popularise arts in Hong Kong. For a long time, many schools and parents thought that art was merely an extra-curricular activity and the education system did not encourage students to become creative. But we hope to change that."

He hoped that concepts about the arts would change gradually.

Schools were expected to receive the information next Monday. The deadline for application is January 16 next year. Results of the selection will be announced in February.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 05:18 PM   #466
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Focus on the art, says hub adviser
24 November 2008
South China Morning Post

The public consultation on the West Kowloon arts hub must not repeat past mistakes and should focus on developing a clear cultural strategy, rather than building an iconic landmark, an urban planner close to the project has advised.

As the multistage public consultation process for the blueprint of the West Kowloon Cultural District is about to start, Joe Brown, chief executive of international urban planning firm EDAW, says the government should forget about architecture for a while.

In 2004, Mr Brown's firm contributed to the proposal by Sino Land, Chinese Estates Holdings and Wharf (Holdings), which formed one of the three consortiums bidding for the site. The plan of having one bidder was dropped because of public pressure.

The architect and planner, who has not ruled out working on the project again, compared the Hong Kong experience to Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island, a 2,700-hectare, multiuse urban area including a cultural hub, for which his firm designed the masterplan.

The first phase of this arts hub will become operational by 2012, and will include branches of the Guggenheim and Louvre museums.

"What I think is good about the Saadiyat is that there's a real clear art strategy. It will be a global cultural complex of Islamic, Arabic and global art. You'll see every dimension of the world, but it'll be particularly about the art of the region," Mr Brown said.

A public consultation was also held in Abu Dhabi, he said, and it took five years to get from conception to the final plan. "The question is what you bring to the public. If you bring to them a predesigned physical form, they have every right to object."

The first phase of the West Kowloon arts hub is expected to finish in 2015.

Mr Brown said that if Hong Kong started another bidding contest without coming up with a full cultural programme, it could end up in the same place.

"It's so easy to be tempted to do showy, iconic architecture. But there's a fine line between iconic and moronic, one has to be careful," Mr Brown said.

The most important thing right now was to focus on what the hub would offer rather than on tactics to build audiences within the community, he said.

"What kind of art do they want? Is it modern or contemporary?

"If you tell them what we really want to do here for children, families, commerce {hellip} have programmatic thinking, the public gets right on board, and that's what happened in Abu Dhabi."

The arts hub authority has a contemporary art curator from Japan on its board, but Mr Brown said a dozen curators from all over the world would be needed.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 05:49 PM   #467
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Home is where the art is in any cultural centre
27 November 2008
South China Morning Post

The 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize has recently been awarded to the Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco for his debut novel, Ilustrado. He called it "life-changing" and the result is being discussed from Manila to London.

Closer to home, this prize is a homegrown cultural project that has evolved, in just two years, into something with international influence.

Although my background is more in mathematics, engineering and business than the arts, the past eight years or so in which I have been involved in major literary activities here have offered insights into how culture works - or can work - in Hong Kong.

These observations are not so much aesthetic as practical, and even timely, given the perceived need for Hong Kong to lift its cultural game and the major development being planned in West Kowloon.

It is easy to confuse the consumption of culture with its production. When New York, London or Paris are said to have a vibrant cultural life, the reference is usually to the theatres, concert halls and museums rather than to the source of their content.

It is, however, hard to think of a major cultural centre that is not also a major producer of culture and talent, that is, actors, musicians, authors, painters, sculptors, designers and filmmakers.

Culture, at the highest levels, is one of the most globalised activities. New York's Metropolitan Opera features singers originally from places as diverse as Italy and China, but US opera companies have also developed great American singers who now perform across the world. American actors, plays and musicals flow across the Atlantic, while British ones flow the other way. Major museums around the world are as full of American paintings as US museums are full of works by non-American artists. Cultural trade is in rough balance.

A steady series of cultural events imported from overseas on a temporary basis - the travelling exhibitions and the touring orchestras - is stimulating and necessary, but local production of culture of a high, if not international, level is a critical foundation on which healthy, long-term local cultural consumption is based.

Without these, the gleaming new cultural developments now under discussion risk becoming the cultural equivalent of upscale shopping malls relying solely on imported luxury goods, neither enriching cultural life in any profound way nor finding roots in the society in which they are planted and, more seriously perhaps, whose customers may well vanish at the first sign of economic difficulties.

New York and London's catchment area for cultural talent is, of course, considerably larger than the metropolises themselves: the bright lights of Broadway act as a magnet for budding actors and playwrights from the entire country. "Local" in this context means not Hong Kong, but Greater China.

Should Hong Kong not make a conscious effort to be China's cultural capital, so that Chinese musicians, stage actors, conductors, singers, artists and authors feel that, if they can make it here, they can make it anywhere? It's a tall order, but those are the best kind.

It is also sensible to concentrate on areas where there is a chance to shine: there is a reason why New York isn't known for its rodeos. This is likely to lead to a greater relative emphasis on bringing Chinese talent to the world and developing excellence in Chinese and Asian art and genres - not that this excludes western art and artists, of course; indeed, excellence in one complements the other.

Cultural success is partly, but only partly, a matter of money. It is also a matter of professionalism and a refusal to compromise over quality. Culture isn't golf; artists don't get assigned handicaps. And neither do organisers and producers of cultural activities.

One should indeed reach for the stars, or we may find the cultural leadership and the vibrancy that goes with it slipping away to other cities.

Peter Gordon is a Hong Kong-based businessman, writer, editor and publisher
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Old December 1st, 2008, 05:57 PM   #468
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Views from the promenade by henryxhenry from dchome :















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Old December 2nd, 2008, 03:56 AM   #469
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西九聘表演藝術顧問
30 November 2008
星島日報

繼上周公開招聘行政總監及法律主任外,西九管理局昨日再在報章刊登廣告,聘請一名全職的表演藝術受薪顧問,特別為十五個表演藝術場地提供專業意見。管理局希望應徵者現時年薪約為一百萬元,聘用條款則再商議。

這重要職位亦有相當高的要求,應徵者須具備至少十年全職從事表演藝術工作經驗,包括規劃、設計和營運表演藝術場地的經驗,其中五年須擔任高級職位,並且要熟悉表演藝術工作者、藝術團體、文藝節目主辦機構及場地等,又要有好的人際溝通及商議技巧等。
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Old December 5th, 2008, 04:10 AM   #470
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Flagship museum reaches out to Asia M+ project seeks to showcase finest art
5 December 2008
South China Morning Post

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority is looking for diverse and long-term partnerships with top museums in Asia so that the city's flagship museum M+ will showcase the continent's best art, the head of the authority's museum committee says.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Victor Lo Chung-wing, who will steer the development of the museum in the next two years, said the M+ could not be sustained only by local arts and culture.

The authority would not seek just a single international partner for M+, he said. Instead, it would foster many collaborations to showcase the best exhibits from Asian museums, especially those of Chinese arts and culture, to attract mainland tourists.

M+ would be the driving force of the arts and culture of East Asia, including Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and of Southeast Asia, Mr Lo said. The museum's other role was to build local audiences and spur the development of creative industries.

"I hope the M+ will have a local character," he said. "But it requires time, effort and resources to build up collections of our own. We need top curators to locate and convince collectors of such treasures that they should donate them or lend them for our exhibitions."

Addressing concerns the 75,000 square metre museum would become a white elephant, Mr Lo urged patience and expressed confidence that the museum would be built up successfully in stages over time.

Mr Lo, who is also chairman of the Hong Kong Design Centre, said the centre would sell the project to internationally renowned architects and curators at the annual Business of Design Week starting on Monday.

Held in partnership with the Netherlands, the design week will feature forums, tours and an award gala. Among the top architects attending will be Edward Uhlir from the United States, who designed the popular Millennium Park in Chicago.

The park is an open space famous for its mixture of arts facilities. Mr Lo said it might be a good reference for the West Kowloon art hub.

Invited participants also include the president of the Centre Pompidou, Alain Seban; Rem Koolhaas, who designed the landmark China Central Television headquarters in Beijing; and Yuko Hasegawa, the sole overseas board member joining the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. "These people might also be interested in our art hub project," Mr Lo said.

Overseas and local designers will also share their expertise in the protection of intellectual property at one of the design week forums.

Speakers at the forum will include Richard Mille, a prominent US watchmaker and designer, and Dennis Chan, the Hong Kong-born designer of Qeelin, a mainland jewellery brand.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #471
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西九聘百萬年薪藝術顧問 業界憂港缺人才
7 December 2008

【明報專訊】西九文化區內有15個表演藝術場地,就場地的規劃及設立,西九管理局上月底全球招聘年薪100萬元的全職表演藝術顧問,顧問需有最少10年全職從事表演藝術工作,包括規劃、設計及營運表演藝術場地的經驗。有業界擔心,本港大部分表演場地由政府營運,若聘請重視行政經驗的前高官,會既不熟悉本地藝團的發展,亦難以在推動本地表演藝術發展上取得突破。

西九文化區管理局上月29日起於報章刊登招聘廣告,公開招聘為期兩年的表演藝術全職顧問,負責就規劃及設立表演場地及休憩用地的工作提供專業意見,應徵者需持有與表演藝術、文化藝術研究、藝術教育或相關範疇的大學學位,最少具10年全職從事表演藝術工作的經驗,其中5年需擔任高級職位,熟悉表演藝術工作者、藝團、節目主辦機構及有關場地,並有良好的國際網絡聯繫。

憂高官難衝出行政政治框架

PIP文化產業執行董事詹瑞文擔心,本港難以尋找這方面的人才,因為本港主要表演藝術場地皆由政府營運及管理,「業界根本無這些經驗,若由公務員擔任這職位,將無法衝出現時重視行政及政治多於藝術發展的框框,我寧願找外國專家帶來衝擊」。

香港話劇團前藝術總監毛俊輝亦認為,若最終以現時營運表演場地的高級行政人員擔任西九顧問,表演藝術的發展將無突破,「西九最重要的,不是要興建及營運最美的場館,而是要推動藝術文化的發展,表演藝術顧問必需熟悉本地藝團、表演藝術文化發展等,若只是行政人員,不是業界的話,很難做到這工作」。

馬逢國﹕其實不太難找

身兼西九管理局成員的香港藝術發展局主席馬逢國相信,本港有不少熟悉本地藝團,又富相關經驗的人才,「其實不太難找,如在藝術發展局、藝術中心、康文署、大專院校及公務員體系亦有不少」,他指曾有數個業界人士查詢有關招聘資料,對於能否聘請稱職的顧問,他感到樂觀。
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Old December 8th, 2008, 04:37 AM   #472
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This proyect is really impressive and i really like the design #1!!
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Old December 8th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #473
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西九文娛區招短租 涉40萬呎 
4 December 2008
香港經濟日報

地政總署現以短期租約形式,招標出租位於西九龍文娛藝術區內,一幅達40萬平方呎用地,可作文化藝術相關用途,租期由管有日期起至2010年9月30日止,其後按季續租。

可作文化藝術用途

該地位於西九龍填海區柯士甸道西,為西九龍文娛藝術中心發展用地的西南部,佔地約41.44萬平方呎,可舉辦文學藝術、視覺藝術、藝術行政、藝術教育及藝術評論性質的任何活動;獲地政專員書面批准的任何其他藝術或文化活動;及任何附屬活動。

同時可在獲地政專員批准情況下,於上述活動提供餐飲服務,但只限於在該土地進行、舉辦或舉行所述活動期間提供。同時限制除在劇院範圍內,不可產生噪音。

另外,當局亦有意加快西九龍文化區的發展步伐也加快,以解決就業及刺激經濟,西九文化管理局於上周突邀請顧問公司、則師樓及大學等合共109個團體,遞交有關「西九文化區概念計劃研究」的意向。
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Old December 11th, 2008, 04:14 AM   #474
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冷眼旁觀:不避搶客 重新定位
9 December 2008
東方日報

【東方日報專訊】剛過去的周末,我參加了兩個與西九有關的研討會,參加者很踴躍,西九的討論重新熱起來,大家對西九有話說,更不說不快,太好了。

在其中一個研討會上,參加者問主講的民政局副局長:西九設施建成後,會否與位於尖沙咀的現有文化設施「搶客」?副局長利落的說:不會,因為觀眾人數會增加。

我卻認為「會搶客」,更會流失觀眾金,且讓我舉幾個例子。今天,香港藝術館在淡靜、沒有國寶展撐場的日子,參觀人次每月只有兩萬多。西九建成後,水墨和當代藝術藏品都過檔M+,藝術館還有古畫和文物可作囱常展品,但藝術館的建築古板、管理欠靈活,不是M+的競爭對手。

今天,藝術節在香港已辦了三十多屆,但每年的觀眾量相若,維持在十一、二萬人次,沒有大幅的增加或減少。有說是因為場地的限制,令藝術節未能增加場次,因此很難拓展觀眾。

這都是民政局必須由今天起積極面對的文化政策議題。請不要迴避「搶客」,因為這是必然現象。民政局只有六年時間更新和革新康文署,讓既有的文化設施可重新定位,突圍而出,迎接西九的到來。香港不夠觀眾,青年人普遍對文化藝術不感興趣,全民藝術桝育就必須是民政局的重點政策,並與桝育局配合,攜手提升藝術桝育在學校的地位。

也請民政局呼籲文化團體從今天起不要以「場地不足」為藉口,文化不只是室內的「殿堂式」活動,戶外地方都可變身文化空間,例如文化中心對開的那片偌大廣場。

我有個建議。今年除夕夜,請不要再用保鮮紙包裹雕塑,相反,請邀約更多視藝朋友在那○搞裝置藝術,並給予他們最大的自由度,讓看燈飾的家庭和年輕人都可「唔覺意」的接觸公共藝術。這是增加接觸面的第一步。
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Old December 15th, 2008, 06:34 AM   #475
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Cultural hub or ghetto? It hinges on transport
14 December 2008
South China Morning Post

The arts hub in West Kowloon could become a "cultural ghetto" if the 40-hectare site is not better connected to the city, Chicago arts and planning experts warned, as they offered tips for building an arts and cultural venue capable of attracting millions of visitors annually.

In an interview with the Sunday Morning Post yesterday, the experts, speakers at the Business of Design Week, organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre, shared their own successful experience of creating a popular arts and cultural park in Chicago.

The 10-hectare Millennium Park, built in 2004 with museums and arts venues, attracts more than 4 million visitors each year. The park's executive director, Edward Uhlir, and the Art Institute of Chicago president, Tony Jones, were responsible for the design and management.

With corporate sponsorship and private-sector funds, more than 200 free arts programmes, free open-air concerts and other cultural activities are organised each year. The park is still expanding, and a children's museum will be finished in 2011.

"One simple reason for the park's enormous success is the people of Chicago know it was done for them, not to them," Professor Jones said.

"The danger is the West Kowloon arts hub could become a cultural ghetto, which you don't want," he said, stressing that a good design would connect the hub to neighbouring districts with proper transport links.

The arts hub should also be built on the right scale and businesses should have an indigenous character. "The retail can't be McDonald's or Gucci," he said.

He said Millennium Park faced criticism during the planning process because of its budget. "Some said we should invest in schools and hospitals. But they now take tremendous pride in it," he said.

The area was designed with pedestrians in mind. Segways, which are two-wheeled electric vehicles, are also available for rent.

The Chicago park cost US$490 million and does not charge an entrance fee. Professor Uhlir said the park recovered operating costs by renting the open space for corporate events and weddings. Maintenance costs are also recovered through interest generated from the park's endowment, although this had been eroded by the economic meltdown.

Iconic arts venues and sculptures are the main attraction, but Professor Jones said they were built in phases and not all planned in advance.

"Nobody thinks of the park as an icon. They just think of it as really good," he said.

He dismissed the idea that an arts hub needed to have iconic buildings and said it should not be developed in one go.

"It's an organic process," he said.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 07:54 AM   #476
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Keep focus of cultural district on activities, says noted architect
16 December 2008
South China Morning Post

An architect who has created modern iconic buildings around the world says cultural activities and not buildings should be the priority for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Dutchman Rem Koolhaas, the 2000 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize - known as the profession's Nobel Prize - and a professor of architecture at Harvard University, said the project should "make culture more accessible, much more than a building".

In Hong Kong last week for Business of Design Week, Professor Koolhaas, who has visited the city more than 50 times in the past 14 years, said he was aware of developments for the city's biggest cultural project.

"It is an interesting moment," he said. "I am very much aware that the original planing of the project was changed because the people protested; this is the first time in Hong Kong [that people have] had such direct involvement with big design.

"After the incident, it is clear that some critical audiences are waiting. It is very clear that it cannot be independent of the city. It has to be extremely connected to the city."

He expected the current economic gloom would bring some changes to the project.

"It is also interesting to note that because of the economic crisis, there is less pressure to develop everything immediately. My instinct is that it can be slower and more sensitive, maybe also more experimental."

Responsible for projects including the China Central Television Headquarters in Beijing and Seattle's Central Library, Professor Koolhaas' works are always considered iconic. However, he put that down to limited expectations about the shape of buildings over the past 15 years.

Instead of having an iconic building as the focus for the Hong Kong cultural project, he suggested that the district should be "parallel to the coastline". He was also concerned about the relationship between the district and the surrounding area.

"West Kowloon is going to be a station for trains to the mainland," he said. "[The district] has to be featured as an end point; the point of contact of China and Hong Kong."

Professor Koolhaas also said prices for events in West Kowloon should be kept at a level that was accessible to most people.

"[Hong Kong government officials] have asked me for advice. I think the entire issue of the building is not the priority. The priority is to find a settled and attractive combination of activities."

He said his favourite buildings in Hong Kong were those that were being pulled down on a regular basis.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 03:41 PM   #477
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還看今朝:西九不是藝術品
21 December 2008
東方日報

【東方日報專訊】西九龍文娛藝術區(下稱西九)由概念設計到現在已經有十年,一直都是處於醞釀階段,政府最近才為西九文化區管理局公開招聘行政總監,用來統領未來兩年西九的發展藍圖規劃工作。長達十年的時間,我們看到西九還是一片荒廢的土地,究竟當局在這十年間做過甚麼?

有人說,如果西九不用來發展文藝區,改為發展地產,發展商在這十年間老早就可以興建出大型豪華屋苑,甚至乎賣完再拆,也可以趕得及重建文藝區。這十年間,西九一直被丟空,而地價就不斷上漲,物價跟?飆升,施工卻遙遙無期,時間成本變得「超天價」。

這讓我們聯想起當局「十大基建」之一的啟德郵輪碼頭。○六年,碼頭的估計造價是二十多億元,但後來招標未如理想,結果一拖再拖,最後當局決定自行興建碼頭的時候,估計埋單可能要高達七十二億元。一個郵輪碼頭已經要七十二億元,西九一個天幕也要四十多億元,愈拖下去,成本就愈高昂,當局是否承擔得起呢?

坊間把西九當作一件藝術品,但我們絕對不能把它當為藝術品,因為藝術品是永遠沒有完成的一天。這好比我們這些專欄作家,預先寫好稿子的話,就肯定會「心大心細」,誓要把文章堆砌得最完美,不到最後也不提交;但如果死線之前還未寫好稿子,哪怕是胡言亂語也必須趕及交稿,以免各編輯大人不斷催稿。所以,如果把西九定位為一個藝術品,這件藝術品就要無時無刻被人修改,有時還要推倒重來,我們實在看不出哪一天才是西九的完成日子。

西九經過了十年黯淡日子,期間的經濟損失及對香港造成的耗損已經是不可估量。據說當局將會加快十大基建的工程進展。盼望當局不要再慢條斯理,盡快落實西九的施工期,不要再讓我們白等多十年了。
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Old December 26th, 2008, 05:59 PM   #478
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Experts say content is key, not buildings
22 December 2008
South China Morning Post

International arts experts have warned of the danger of focusing on the buildings instead of the local content and audience development for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

They said only the "software" could make the arts hub sustainable.

They also advised Hong Kong to strengthen its branding as a cultural city, to attract the best international arts talent before it was too late, as many cities would soon join the competition.

The experts, who were in Hong Kong for the Business of Design Week, hoped the West Kowloon arts hub would not repeat the mistakes made by many other places.

"Hardware is not culture. Content is the key. Before you decide the content, you cannot decide the architecture. But very often this is the case, and this is completely wrong," said Fumio Nanjo, director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.

Michael Schindhelm, director of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority's international cultural projects, said cultural facilities had been established in many mainland cities but were often underused because they had no content.

"Culture is a social project. It's not like a shopping mall, where you build the buildings and the audience and content will come. You have to develop an audience and the programmes," he said.

Mr Schindhelm said he was first approached by Dubai to build an opera house. He had to convince the authorities there that content development was crucial.

"All this landmark architecture will last for a short period of time and very soon will be 'hit' by another building. Culture is a social development. You need a buzz. Without culture, artists and arts organisations of a high standard, you won't create this kind of buzz for a cultural city."

He agreed that Dubai and Hong Kong had some similarities as both were trying hard to establish themselves as cultural destinations.

"West Kowloon will take a while to complete, so in the meantime it's important to start with the content development, to create awareness to educate the people and showcase new projects in town."

Apart from building local content and audience, the experts said Hong Kong should try to attract overseas talent.

Mr Schindhelm said there would soon be stiff competition for talent, and Hong Kong "should start as soon as possible to raise the flag and explain to the international audience that Hong Kong is serious about [becoming a cultural destination]. There are other governments and cities pretending to do this."
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Old December 27th, 2008, 05:53 PM   #479
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Old January 10th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #480
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西九委17非董事局成員
10/01/2009


【本報訊】西九文化區管理局成立之後,相關籌建工作亦正式展開,為了吸納更多文化及藝術界人士聲音,當局昨日宣布,委任十七名非董事局成員進入轄下六個委員會,任期一年,有關成員包括演藝界的汪明荃、詹瑞文、劉偉強等,亦有專業界的李承仕、廖勝昌及甘博文等,當局希望這十七名人士提供不同層面的意見,令文化區能與香港的軟件更好地配合。
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