Provisional LegCo Panel on
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
A Report on the progress on the issues raised in the Arts Policy Review Report
This Paper aims to inform Members of the progress made on the issues raised in the Arts Policy Review Report published in 1993.BACKGROUND
The Arts Policy Review Report was a public consultation document prepared by a Government inter-departmental working group set up specifically in 1992 to review Government policy on the arts. The review looked into the major developments of the arts in Hong Kong since the 1980s and the issues which would affect its future development. It made the following recommendations:
- the scope of Government's responsibilities for the arts should be enlarged to cover the visual and literary arts in addition to the performing arts;
- a new non-statutory Arts Council should be established to replace the then Council for the Performing Arts to advise Government on the development of the performing, visual and literary arts;
- Government should continue to provide funding support through the new Council (now known as the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC)) for the three professional performing arts companies, namely, the Hong Kong Ballet Ltd., Chung Ying Theatre Company and City Contemporary Dance Company as well as other performing arts groups which have yet to achieve professional status;
- the functions of the Music Office should be transferred, either wholly or partly, to a non-Government body; and
- Government should continue to function as a catalyst through the cultivation of a social and creative environment conducive to the flourishing of the arts, and should continue to maintain a neutral stand in such matters as artistic creation and expression.
These recommendations were well supported by the public. During the consultation period, several hundred responses were received. The public agreed that Hong Kong should have a well constituted and independent statutory body with executive powers to plan for the development of the arts. In addition, it was generally felt that Government should not only promote performing arts but also extend its support to cover other artforms such as visual and literary arts.
Establishment of HKADC and Extension of Government's Scope of Responsibility
Subsequent to the consultations, Government has taken steps to implement the recommendations of the Review Report. In April 1994, Government set up the HKADC as a non-statutory body. Following the enactment of the HKADC Ordinance in May 1995, the HKADC became a statutory body with full executive powers to plan for the broad development and promotion of the arts in Hong Kong. As stipulated in the HKADC Ordinance, Government's support to the arts was extended to cover visual, literary, film and media arts in addition to performing arts. In order to enable the HKADC to discharge its function effectively, Government provided it with a capital injection of $130 million in 1994. In addition, Government provided it with a recurrent subvention amounting to $46 million for 95/96, which increased progressively to $56 million for 96/97 and $82 million for 97/98. The amount of recurrent subvention will rise to $109.7 million in 98/99.
Funding Support for Professional Performing Companies
Regarding funding to the three professional performing arts companies, the companies are now receiving General Support Grants (GSG) from the HKADC in addition to three other GSG recipients, namely Exploration Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Festival Company Ltd and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.
As for the Music Office, it has been placed under the two Provisional Municipal Councils since August 1995 while its functions remain basically unchanged.
We will continue to work closely with the HKADC and the two Provisional Municipal Councils to ensure that Hong Kong will have a dynamic and diverse arts scene. We will also continue to provide an environment which is conducive to the continued growth and development of the arts, and which allows freedom of thought and expression so that people can give full play to their talent and creativity.
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau