The Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA or the Authority) held its 93rd meeting today.
WKCDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Duncan Pescod, started by sharing the good news that today marked an important milestone in the development of the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM). The Authority is honoured and privileged to be joined by a number of distinguished guests to witness the completion of the building structure of HKPM at a simple event on site this morning. Media were also invited to visit the works site to see the latest development of the project this afternoon. The completion of the building marked a crucial moment in the countdown to the planned opening of the world-class museum and major cultural institution of and for Hong Kong in mid-2022. Mr Pescod expressed the Authority’s gratitude to The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for the generous donation that made this project possible.
Mr Pescod supplemented that, by offering a Hong Kong perspective and a global vision, HKPM aspires to become one of the world’s leading cultural institutions committed to fostering the understanding and appreciation of Chinese art and culture, while advancing dialogue among world cultures and civilisations. With a new curatorial approach, HKPM will present the finest objects from the Palace Museum as well as Chinese and international works of art from other leading global institutions.
Mr Pescod provided an update on the M+ project by reporting that remaining statutory inspections are being carried out. Despite the challenges, the Authority is hopeful to obtain the Occupation Permit by the end of 2020.
Regarding construction works at the Lyric Theatre Complex (LTC) and Integrated Basement, Mr Pescod reported that the L1 Works Contract remains on track, to be largely completed by the end of this year and the L2 Works Contract, the superstructure of the LTC, is also progressing well.
On arts and culture, Mr Pescod shared that, by collaborating with the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and Power Station of Art in Shanghai, M+ had organised ‘Archigram Cities’, a series of online and offline events in November 2020 under the ongoing series of M+ Matters and M+ International. The event celebrated the historic acquisition of the Archigram archive, which is now part of the M+ Collections. The ‘Archigram Cities’ introduced Archigram’s work to new audiences, in the form of encounters between members of the Archigram group and architects, scholars, students, and the wider public from Hong Kong, Mainland China and elsewhere. Mr Pescod supplemented that the programme is part of M+ Matters, a series of discussions that informs the museum’s curatorial approach, as well as M+ International, a platform for partnership with institutions around the world that addresses shared interests and challenges.
For Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders, the eleventh and final exhibition at the Arts Pavilion (previously named the M+ Pavilion), and the response exhibition of Hong Kong’s participation at the 58th Venice Biennale has now closed. Mr Pescod said that the exhibition, despite being temporarily closed down for a large period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, attracted more than 6,000 visitors and over 4,300 online participants from live tours on Instagram.
Mr Pescod also reported that the ‘Experimental Chinese Opera Festival 2020’ was presented at the Xiqu Centre from 10 October 2020 to 15 November 2020. The Festival showcased two award-winning productions Wenguang Explores the Valley and Farewell My Concubine (New Adaptation) and a specially curated series of Creative Sharing Sessions to encourage the exchange of ideas online among local and overseas creators, performers and audiences online.
Freespace Jazz Fest returned to the West Kowloon Cultural District (the District) from 6 to 8 November 2020 with a great line-up of music performances and activities at Freespace, the Competition Pavilion and Lau Bak Livehouse. Apart from ticketed indoor programmes, audiences and visitors were also able to enjoy various free music performances and workshops happening in and around the District. During the 3-day event, over 40 Hong Kong based music groups and more than 200 performers performed, and over 7,000 people enjoyed the Freespace Jazz Fest programmes.
Mr Pescod concluded that the Authority has been trying out cross-marketing initiatives between artistic events and food and beverage services in the District. By working with the Authority’s partners, different discounts were offered to ticket holders of Freespace Jazz Fest in the Art Park’s F&B outlets. In addition, audience members also enjoyed a range of special offers, including complimentary house wine, buy-1-get-1-free beer and discounted meals during this 3-day festival. Very positive feedback was received and it showed that the joined-up approach is a win-win-win situation that can attract people to the venues, events and programmes in the District.
About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.