Press Release



LCQ13: Exhibition venues and studios


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr David Lan, in the Legislative Council today(Wednesday):


Regarding the provision of low-rental exhibition venues and studios to artists, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the current monthly rent per square foot for the former Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir; the criteria adopted for determining the rental level of such premises, and how the rent compares to that of the neighbouring government factory estates; whether the Administration will consider lowering the rent for such premises;

(b) whether it will take measures to provide more exhibition venues and studios to artists; and

(c) whether it will consider requiring property developers to allocate a certain proportion of floor areas in buildings completed in future for displaying works of art, so as to provide more opportunities for the public to appreciate such works?


Madam President,

My replies to Hon Bernard Chan's questions are:

(a) The Government Property Agency (GPA) has provided the former Cheung Sha Wan Abattoir for use by artists as the rent free period before they could move into the former Ma Tau Kok Quarantine Depot which is now being converted and will then be leased to the artists. These artists are exempt from paying rent for using the Abattoir space but has to bear daily expenses such as electricity charges and miscellaneous expenses.

(b) The Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) and its Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provide artists in Hong Kong with more exhibition venues and workshops through the following measures:

The HAB and other government departments (such as the GPA and the Lands Department) work together to identify vacant government premises pending redevelopment for short-term use as studios and rehearsal rooms for artists and arts groups. The Government has leased seven vacant flats at Oil Street and Portland Street in Yaumatei on short-term tenancy agreements to the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC), of which six are leased to artists/arts groups for use as temporary workshops while the remaining one is allocated to the HKADC for use as temporary exhibition venue.

Besides, the HAB is making concerted efforts with the HKADC and the GPA to launch a project to display the works of local artists at Queensway Government Offices (QGO). The HAB will consider holding such similar functions at other appropriate government premises.

For the LCSD, the following measures have been taken:

(i) in order to support the development of the arts, the Department's museums such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre plan and organize local arts exhibitions and competitions as well as acquire and commission art works for display in museums;

(ii) the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre and various civic centres provide artists with rental subsidies for leasing exhibition venues and studios; and

(iii) organizing various arts activities (including displays of the works of local artists in civic centres) on a regular basis and promoting different arts development schemes such as the Public Art Scheme (commissioning local artists through open competition for display of works of arts at public places), the Best of Visual Arts Scheme and the Artists-in-Residence Scheme (providing artists with rent-free venues and funding support for organizing exhibitions and other activities).

Apart from the aforesaid museums and civic centres, it is anticipated that the Yuen Long Theatre and the Hong Kong Central Library, which will be completed within the year, will also provide new exhibition venues for rent by artists and other members of the public.

(c) Generally speaking, land leases for commercial properties do not prohibit developers from allocating floor areas for displaying works of art. The provision of space for art display is at the discretion of the developer. It would not be appropriate for the Government to impose such a requirement in the lease conditions.

End/Wednesday, March 1, 2000