Urban Diary
未來故事 永續香港|Sustainable Future, Hong Kong Tales

Connie LAM: Art-topia, Wan Chai

As someone who grew up in Wan Chai, Connie’s work and life revolves around the district. Wan Chai was the place that gave birth to Connie’s artistic life. She used to stroll around the district, appreciating its architecture, visiting its cinemas. She spent her early secondary school years in the Jade and Pearl Theatres. The Hong Kong Art Centre was the place where Connie first attempted Jazz dance, saw an exhibition, and learned to appreciate cinema and alternative rock. Today, Connie still sees Fu Tak Building as her cultural spot. “Wan Chai encompasses the old and new. You don’t leave Wan Chai because it has all the culture, art, life, and entertainment you need”.

Connie became Executive Director for the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2009. Together with musician Kung Chi Sing, they gave birth to a regular street music series. “We already had some street music and art events in the Arts Centre. But we believed that a regular gig could cultivate and bring art into people’s lives”. The small space outside Arts Centre became the touchstone for a monthly street music show. The space helped cultivate street music for the next seven years.

Art Centre’s open space was an example of greater things to come. The space brought different artists, audience and genres of music together. In recent years, the Art Centre began operating the Comix Home Base in Wan Chai, and brought street music to the new venue.

In Hong Kong and elsewhere, art shouldn’t be confined to art centers, theatres, and galleries. In fact, the street, public parks, and trams are also everyday venues for art. Connie thinks respect is a vital part of doing art, because sincere engagement with the neighborhood is essential. A few years ago, the Arts Centre ran a Park Deco scheme in Quarry Bay. Talking to the neighborhood was essential to avoid disrupting its everyday atmosphere. Connie also hopes to run mural painting programs for the artists, kaifong, and community stakeholders in Wan Chai, so that everyone could feel the district’s culture.

Connie has a heartfelt wish throughout her years of promoting art, “I really hope to organize a cultural event on Harbour Road. Harbour Road is home to the Arts Centre and Academy of Performing Arts. Fu Tak Building is a few blocks away. If we could gather different artists every year for music shows, screenings, art fairs, convert the road into a temporary cycling zone, it would definitely be a fun thing.” In the meantime, Connie passionately shares her vision, hoping it would one day spark the neighborhood into action.