Interview With Female Leaders from ART Power HK, the New Community-Run Platform

This year, numerous events scheduled for Hong Kong Arts Month have been impacted by COVID-19 with major art fairs, exhibitions and auctions being postponed or cancelled. To unite partners from across the arts ecosystem, a new online platform is launched to highlight the vibrancy and diversity of the arts in Hong Kong.

ART Power HK, a non-commercial and globally accessible online platform, is a collaborative campaign that has grown organically from a community-wide desire to maintain momentum for the arts in Hong Kong. It offers exhibitions, events, and other activities hosted by partners across different sectors, including galleries, museums, auction houses, not for profit organisations, educational institutions, corporate sponsors of the arts and cultural media outlets.

ART Power HK hosted its first online seminar in March

The campaign is pulled off by an all-female working group with leading figures in various fields. We invited three members from the group to share with us their ideas and plans for this special art campaign.

Catherine Kwai|Founder of Kwai Fung Hin Gallery
Rosanna Herries|Director - Head of Sinclair Arts
Georgina Hilton|Christie’s Representative

Where did the idea of ART Power HK platform come from?

Rosanna: The concept of ART Power HK was conceived through the shared desire of a group of individuals who wanted to do something positive and collaborative for the arts community in Hong Kong following the cancellation of major art events due to COVID-19. The group shared the thought that it is important that the international community can see that the arts in Hong Kong are open, active and resilient.

Catherine Kwai|Founder of Kwai Fung Hin Gallery

How was the all-female working group formed?

Catherine: The idea occurred to us when we were talking about the impact of COVID-19 among a group of close friends. All art-related events are either postponed or cancelled while many countries closed their borders. We wanted to do something for the arts community in Hong Kong. We also hope to get more experienced members on board as you know this campaign is not-for-profit and we don’t get paid for our work. Some couldn’t join us since they are occupied with other duties.

Georgina:The ART Power HK working group was formed organically through a shared recognition that collaboration was key for the Hong Kong Art Community to continue to thrive during this challenging time. The all-female group was a coincidence; we came together through existing working relationships.

Rosanna Herries|Director - Head of Sinclair Arts

How do members of the group split the jobs and responsibilities?

Catherine: We have a weekly meeting to discuss plans and follow up on our progress. We then assign various tasks like fundraising, operation or getting content from partners to our working members according to their professional knowledge and experience.

Rosanna: We are constantly looking to develop and refine the campaign and Platform so that it best serves the arts community in Hong Kong that we set out to support, it takes ongoing discussion and check-ins with the whole working group so that we can ensure we are listening to and leveraging our collective experience and expertise.

Georgina: The variety of individuals involved provide a wealth of experience from across the different channels of the Art World, broadly covering the commercial sector as well as the non-profits. All decisions are made collaboratively, but everyone has their own unique voice. We enjoy some hearty debates, there is never a dull moment in the Working Group meetings!

How’s the campaign reception so far? What do you want to achieve with Art Power HK?  

Catherine: We have received an extremely positive reception so far. We hope to raise more money to fund the initiative, as well as to support our daily operation.

Rosanna: ART Power HK set out to unite the arts community in Hong Kong in a collaborative and community-driven showcase of the diversity and depth of Hong Kong’s art scene. Our goal remains to act as a facilitator and connector that enables the development of new digital content, amplifies ongoing initiatives, and shines a spotlight on the arts in Hong Kong when we need its positive impact more than ever.

Georgina: This is just the beginning and we are still gaining momentum, it is important that we remain agile and we continue to adapt to the evolving requirements of the Art Community in this uncertain time.

ART Power HK’s website

The campaign has united different art world players including competing partners in this difficult time. How does it strive a balance between competition and collaboration?​​​​​

Catherine: ART Power HK is a non-commercial platform. It welcomes all stakeholders in Hong Kong’s art community and provides the latest updates on exhibitions, activities, and educational seminars. It doesn’t involve any forms of competitions. We have more partners joining us to support the campaign.

Rosanna: These are unprecedented times that have required unprecedented responses from organisations across all industry sectors, the arts is no exception. It has been humbling to see how the Hong Kong arts community as come together to support each other, and I am excited to see what is yet to come.

Georgina: The general attitude amongst the Hong Kong Art Community is that we are all in this together. All partners benefit equally from the platform and there has been little resilience from competing partners.

Georgina Hilton|Christie’s Representative

ART Power HK was started with the question ‘How much is the arts worth to you?’. Why did you choose to crowdfund?

Catherine: We chose to crowdfund as we hope to get government’s subsidies for it. We have also seen strong interest from industry players and collectors in providing financial support. We believe it is a good way to show the government how supportive the general public is towards the campaign.

Rosanna: For the campaign to remain fully collaborative and community-wide, it is important that no one corporate or organisation dominate, and therefore the campaign has avoided a sponsorship programme. As a result, ART Power HK relies on the public and private sectors for support via a crowdfunding campaign which is being facilitated by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center to ensure it is financially managed and audited.

ART Power HK will end at this May. Any plans to turn it into a long-term campaign or even to go from online to offline?

Rosanna: ART Power HK is a campaign conceived with the view of enabling the community to show up for the arts in Hong Kong in 2020 when social gatherings and travel are not possible – or not encouraged. As a campaign and concept, it is evolving as the current situation develops and remains flexible to the needs of the community it serves. Stay tuned for the latest updates!

Other members from ART Power HK working group:

Alice Mong|Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Levina Li-Cadman|Co-Founder of art-partners

Katie de Tilly|Founder of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

Elaine Kwok|Christie’s Representative

Alexandra Seno|Head of Development at Asia Art Archive

Kiri Sinclair|Sinclair Arts' Representative