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Gerald Lidstone, director of Institute of creative and cultural Entrepreneurship in Goldsmith University of London, highlighted two difficulties faced by art institutions in Hong Kong when carrying out cultural exchange projects, the first one is funding.
With financial burden being a great concern when holding art events, funding is always the main issue to the organizers. In Hong Kong, an art institution can approach corporations and charity foundations for sponsorship, and there is also government funding opened for application for artists. “The problem with any government funding for cultural institutions, specifically state funding, is that the “art has to correspond with the observation structures of their sponsors…….might lose their intrinsic motivations to stage other pieces and forms of art”.
Many cultural exchange projects are restricted by the rigid direction set by the funding proposal, which undermines the potential creativity and flexibility. It is often a worry that the artists would lose their motivation in engaging in other art form in order to get the government funding, as that would be having the purpose and result inverted. However it presents a picture of how difficult it is to get the government funding and this is in the main focus of the research. In order to facilitate the cultural exchange with other countries, Korean government has implemented various funding for artists to develop the art sector. “After the Asian financial crisis, President Kim Dae-jung created a special fund to create the Cultural Content Office……is now the “nucleus” of Korea’s soft-power strategy.”
a tool of soft power, the Korea government has put in effort in promoting the art industry to the world, with the most direct way, funding. Artists can apply for funding when organizing art events. For instance, Art Council Korea (ARKO) is the largest funding agency governed by council members appointed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Korea. It accepts application for funding in use of holding art events and supports the financial needs of the artists, which makes it a very important variable in organizing the events. According to the case studies conducted in my research, artists apply different types of funding depending on their art forms and they receive funding from different organizations of the government’s arts-related department funding body or sometimes from private sectors as well. However, problem arises when the application is often troubling the applicants with complicated procedures.
First, many paperwork and supporting documents have to me submitted, which it is difficult for small-sized art companies. Second, time is not only needed in sending application, but also in confirming of successful applications and transferring the funding. Due to different art and cultural-related policies in different countries, certain administration processes are required when applying for funding in purpose of cross-border art events. It slows down the progress in confirming successful applicants, and then time is again needed to transfer to the other country, which often creates other relative troubles.
Another problem caused by the slow and complicated process in applying funding would be the often failures in venue booking. The lack of venues for performances and exhibitions is always the problem for artists in Hong Kong and many of them need to be booked at least one year in advance. At the same time, Hong Kong is a popular spot for cross-cultural art exchange, where attracts numerous artists from all over the world to come for holding exhibitions. With limited space and large demand, there is always an unmatched in answering all the demands. Therefore if the artists or organizations cannot reserve a venue earlier as two to three years in advance, there is a very high possibility that they would fail to find one for events.
Unfortunately, it often happens for the cross-cultural events organized by South Korean artists because of the long process for application for funding. The main reason is that the result of successful funding application is only released in a certain time, which is mostly in the beginning, of the year. Without funding secured, artists cannot reserve the venue for their exhibitions, yet there is never enough time for them to book one when they finally get the funding. It is hard to get a balance between the two issues and at the same time it is out of control as it is a policy issue of two countries.
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