Jobs narrow cultural gap
Big government publicity for the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) has successfully changed the attitude of many parents towards the arts. Previously, many associated being an artist with low income and so they strongly opposed their children pursuing a career in the arts, afraid they would be unable to support them and that they would end up living in poverty. Now they are better informed. More importantly, the WKCD has hired many trainees on good salaries in positions open to fresh arts graduates.
Moreover, compared with previous decades, there are more opportunities for arts students now. A new TV station is to join Hong Kong’s broadcasting market, providing job openings for graduates. They can also work in the fields of apps, design and animation.
Local artists have worked hard to belie Hong Kong’s reputation as a cultural desert. But apart from the WKCD, the government is less enthusiastic when it comes to promoting the arts. The financial assistance it offers arts groups is far from adequate. Many have to use their own funds to support running costs. This may deter people from getting involved in the field. The government clearly needs to do more to promote the arts.
Julian Lee, associate professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong
As told to Chiu Po-sze