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

Wendy TSANG: From Stalls to Carnivals

Founded in 1993, the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation once rented Hong Kong Arts Centre's dressing room as office. It was only when Wendy joined the Foundation in 1996 that it became a regular tenant of the Centre. The Foundation moved away from Wan Chai in 2006. As someone who used to live and work in the district, Wendy is very fond of the Tai Yuen Street open market. The market is where Wendy and her colleagues bought their art supplies. Accompanied by a few art supply shops, Wan Chai has a steady supply of paints and tools.

Although the Foundation and Wendy have moved away from Wan Chai, their work is still connected to the district. The Foundation organizes the Standard Chartered Arts in Victoria Park every November. As Wendy explains, Victoria Park is a convenient hub of activities, just like the Central Park in New York. Last year, the art carnival attracted 3,500 local and oversea artists and students to participate. The Sunday Causeway Bay art parade alone was co-created by 600 artists and students. Attracting over 180 thousand visitors, the carnival was a huge step for young people to promote their art. It even won the approval of one police officer, who said that "Hong Kong needs these positive events".

Beginning with modest art fairs in Stanley, the Foundation first moved to Victoria Park in 2008. In 2011, the team reached out to host street shows and parades in Causeway Bay. A night-time event was added in 2014. For Wendy, promoting art is all about exploring people's need and imagination of space. The Foundation focuses on involving the kaifong, e.g. by hosting parade costume workshops, which make the community more vibrant.

Apart from carnivals, Wendy and her colleagues also work hard to integrate art with local stories. Stories bring the kaifong and artist together, so that art could help re-imagine local communities. For instance, Wendy tried to bring artist and stall owners together. The artists converted the sliding gates of stalls into canvasses for street art. One artist’s painting of a cat that visits the stall attracted kaifong to share stories about the same cat. The “City Stall Magazine” project adds a touch of art to Lee Kung Man Knitting and ABC Bakery, which brings people together and recalls kaifong’s fond memory.

Wendy conducts her art projects based on the ideal “from the community, to the community”. Distilling inspiration from the community, artists offer their work back to the community and reignite the local neighborhood.