In recent years, there has been unprecedented interest in and support for art and creativity from many quarters. The Hong Kong Government, attempting to rationalize and measure the creativity of Hong Kong society, produced two unrelated research projects that were conducted separately and published around the same time. In 2005, the Home Affairs Bureau (“HAB”) produced a so-called “creativity index”, which overlapped with a study published around the same time by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (“HKADC”), established as a statutory body in 1995 to support the broad development of the arts, on “Hong Kong Arts and Cultural Indicators”.
Both studies recognised the importance of “creative capital” of different types, including “structural/institutional, human, social, cultural and creative” and the “creative economy”. Investing in Hong Kong’s future as a major art capital, the HK$21.6 billion West Kowloon Cultural District is slated to open in 2017, bestowing upon the city a world-class cluster of art museums and performing arts venues.
Bypassed for many years by the international art world in favour of Beijing and Shanghai, major players in the art world have woken up to the city’s position as the third biggest auction market after London and New York and home to the new Asian edition of Art Basel. The city has seen an influx of international galleries such as White Cube and Gagosian with their stellar rosters of artists, which are broadening Hong Kong’s existing infrastructure of home-grown galleries and alternative art spaces such as Para/Site, 1a Space and the Asia Art Archive. Occupying a unique position is Swire Properties’ Artistree, a 20,000 square foot multi-purpose space which has made its mark on Hong Kong’s cultural landscape with innovative exhibitions, music programmes and other events.