The ADC Arts Space is announced

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Finally: Some Breathing Room for Stifled HK Arts Scene

The Arts Development Council has just announced plans for their first ‘Arts Space’ – set to open later this year, which will provide local artists with affordable studio space in old industrial buildings. Anna Cummins spoke with the organisers of this innovative scheme.

There is a glaring, disheartening problem for artists in Hong Kong: art requires space, and space is expensive. These two associated issues seem to be at the heart of what prevents many local artists from developing their craft, or even becoming established in the first place. With Hong Kong rent currently getting as high as this guy, it can be hard to see how emerging artists have a chance at breaking out in the future. 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. A glimmer of hope for the Hong Kong arts scene was revealed on June 27, as the government Arts Development Council (ADC) (hkadc.org.hk) announced details of the first ‘Arts Space’ venture. By working alongside property developer Hip Shing Hong Group, the ADC will soon begin letting out studio space in a Wong Chuk Hang industrial building to visual and media artists at reduced rental rates.

Mr David Fong, director of Hip Shing Hong Group told Time Out: “it’s an honour to be a sponsor. There is a real need for artists to practise the arts and to interact and collaborate. Rental here is expensive; lots of artists are driven out by the rent and they cannot afford it. Without space, they cannot realise their potential. We hope to bring other art related tenants [to the rest of the building]. We hope to see synergy and energy”.

The inaugural Arts Space will be located at 12/F, 33-35 Wong Chuk Hang Rd and is set to offer around 10 studio spaces, ranging from 400sq ft to 1,300sq ft. Each studio will be let for two years, with the project set to run for six years. The current market rate for such space is around $15/sq ft; but the rent for artists in the first two-year tenancy will only be $5.50/sq ft, rising to only $8/sq ft by the six year mark.

Fong is positive about this project’s future. “We hope this is a good pilot scheme to encourage other developers to get involved with Arts Space”. And we couldn’t agree more. If Arts Space begins to gain momentum, it’s one hell of a great way for Hong Kong to begin tackling the problem of disused industrial buildings, whilst also encouraging our comparatively frail arts scene to blossom.

The ADC is hoping to attract a 50/50 mix of established and recently graduated artists. Applications for Arts Space can now be made on hkadc.org.hk, until 6.30pm on 23 August. Artists of the future - get involved!
 

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