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Tuesday, 26 January 2010

and on and on....

So, yesterday was our big government meeting.
Some months ago I put in an application to the government here in Hong Kong for funding for the Hope and Glory project. I'm asking them for 3.4million HK$, around US$350k.
The fund, called the 'Mega Events fund', is organised by the Tourism Commission.
The application is a very dense and thorough document and is difficult to navigate. The fund is primarily for events that will bring tourism, economic benefit and have a positive impact on HK's image.
Our event falls into this category as a non-commercial exhibition though normally the money goes to tennis tournaments, government trade fairs, and more traditional arts events like the recent Hong Kong Philharmonic performance outside at Happy Valley.
All these events are short, lasting a few days and have an audience of between 30-60,ooo people. The fund has so far given as little as $6million and as much as double that.
Our event is a little different as it runs for 2 months and our audince could be well over 100,000 people but we are only asking 3.4million. So it looks good on paper.
We, myself, Valerie Doran, and Dr Kacey Wong, went to the governments rather dull, grey offices to present or case. We had 7 minutes to talk, then a 15 minute Q&A.
There were 8 or 9 people there to listen, all high ranking government sorts. They were all very friendly and we were wamly welcomed. A stark contrast to meeting the Arts Development Council a couple of years back, awful, stone faced reception at that one.
I raced through a slide show and talked about the main points:

No contemporary art relative to other major cities around the globe.
International cultural tourism and commerce and benefits.
Our competency at building such a large installation.
The show itself, content and logistics.
Support from brands, the community, education and creative industry.
The PR plans.
The educational components.
The benefits: cultural audience development, software development, the impact on HK image and on the local community, etc.
The inspiration factor.
The opportunity to collect information.

Anyway, I crushed all this stuff into 7 minutes and then we had an engaging and animated discussion with those around the table. I think that was a very good sign, they seemed genuinely interested and asked a lot of questions.
They seemed to be very interested in the potential for commercial gain. They didn't seem to understand why we weren't trying to milk the show for income, that is a relatively altueristic endeavor but maybe they were just trying to test our sincerity.
I've done so many projects here over the years that have reaped no financial gain but plenty of fun and spiritual gain but i guess a lot of HK people are always looking for a more direct reward.

In the meantime I'm artist in residence at a school here called Chinese International School. It's a seriously wealthy school, amazing facilities. They gave me a nice big space and I'm just painting away. Kids come by and say hi and ask about life as an artist, it's kinda fun. Some little kids came by this morning and i let them make a mess all over one of my paintings, it was fun.

OK, back to work...


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