Hong Kong artspace Para Site wins its largest-ever government grant

Leading independent contemporary art space Para Site wins the largest grant in the organisation’s 18-year history.

The Hong Kong Government’s Home Affairs Bureau awarded Para Site with the Springboard Grant in recognition of its achievements as a local, regional and internationally relevant contemporary art platform.

Image courtesy Para Site.

Image courtesy Para Site.

Hong Kong art space Para Site announced on 30 July 2014 that it has been awarded a consecutive Springboard Grant of HKD4.5 million by the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) – not only the highest amount available under the grant scheme, but also the largest government grant the institution has received to date.

It was announced on 11 June 2014 that Para Site’s grant application to the Hong Kong government’s HAB, the government branch overseeing Hong Kong’s cultural and recreational matters, had been approved. Para Site joined fifteen other successful applicants to receive support from the government under the Bureau’s Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme.

Promoting the visual arts 

Among all applicants, Para Site is the only visual arts organisation to receive the Springboard Grant, which provides a 200 percent matching grant of up to HKD3 million in respect to actual cash income. The funding period lasts for a maximum of two years unless otherwise approved.

The Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme was introduced in 2011. It provides funding support for organisations or specific project proposals that aim to make meaningful impact in the areas of arts development, arts promotion as well as arts education.

Para Site’s Executive Director Cosmin Costinas said, quoted by Flash Art:

[The grant] comes at an incredibly crucial point for Para Site as it looks to expand and build on its position as Hong Kong’s leading mid-sized contemporary arts organisation. Together with the private support from individual patrons, annual fundraising auction and corporate sponsorship, this government grant, which starts in September 2014, guarantees Para Site’s growth at both a local and at an international level.

According to the press release, Para Site proposes to use the grant to expand its exhibition programme, new educational initiatives and capacity building to attain a higher level of professionalisation.

Third time’s a charm?

As ArtAsiaPacific reported in August 2013, Para Site’s application last year was rejected. Around the same time, the organisation was also notified that funding from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the statutory body supporting arts development in the city, would no longer continue. The two disappointments were a shock to the then seventeen-year-old art space, which had enjoyed a particularly productive year. Costinas was quoted as saying:

The message that the government committees behind these decisions is sending to the Hong Kong arts community runs counter to the government’s stated public objectives.

This year’s award of the grant is a much awaited and rightful endorsement of Para Site’s vision and a recognition of the important role the independent institution plays in Hong Kong.

Michele Chan


Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, art spaces and events in Hong Kong, funding, grants, non-profit art spaces

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