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Helping artists engage with business

What’s does the future hold for Hong Kong artists? SCAD Art Sales is helping to connect the city’s young creatives with buyers and commercial opportunities.

About SCAD

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private non-profit university in Hong Kong specialising in the creative arts. And it’s an amazing place. First, the physical campus itself is tangibly cool. The university took over the North Kowloon Magistracy building and fully revitalised this amazing slice of local history. Now, it’s a UNESCO-listed site – and fascinating to visit.

To complement this unique space is a memorable learning experience for students. This is a creative campus where students attend lectures in old courtrooms, and lecturers share knowledge from a judge’s bench. It’s a far cry from most university experiences.

Another thing I love about SCAD is that it’s equal parts boundary-pushing creative experience and pragmatic vocational learning. This is a place where both imaginations are unleashed and careers are born.

SCAD office

Linking students, alumni and community

As of this autumn, the university is creating opportunities for careers to thrive in our city with SCAD Hong Kong’s Art Sales, a service that connects private clients and corporations with the work of SCAD artists past and present.

The service will promote the work of SCAD’s artists for any commercial and private design projects. It will identify the right talent to make a company or private buyer’s idea a reality.

ABBY MCKENZIE is SCAD Hong Kong’s Art Sales representative; she explains, “SCAD Art Sales works closely with both our students and alumni – over 45,000 artists and designers across the university’s three global campuses. These artists and designers are working within a range of mediums and crafts including painting, sculpture, furniture and interior design, film and video art.”

According to Abby, the service is already a success in the US and the UK. “It works in a variety of different scales and projects to propel ideas to implementation – everything from large-scale projects and exhibitions such as the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and Heathrow Airport in London, to working with private art collectors to build out and broaden their collection.”

SCAD

Hong Kong launch

“Here in Hong Kong, there’s been an exponential rise in the interest in art over the past several years,” says Abby. “This has seen the opening of a range of notable international galleries and museums, including Tai Kwun and the M+ Pavilion, that are providing further avenues for the public to enjoy art.”

In Asia, specifically, SCAD Art Sales will strive to promote the work of local artists. These students and alumni bring an international perspective to projects. Often they have studied and lived on multiple SCAD campuses throughout their degree, spending time in Hong Kong, Europe and the US.

Abby shares a final glimpse into the vision of the project and the talent on offer: “We hope to find ways to bring more art into the public sphere. Hong Kong provides such a variety of vibrant urban spaces to inspire young artists and promote creativity throughout the city. Alongside this, we want to promote the strength of our students’ work through exhibitions. Recently, one of our third-year Bachelor of Fine Art painting students was selected to exhibit at the Hong Kong Opera Gallery alongside world-renowned artists such as Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh Chun, Pierre Soulages and others.” 

Scad shop

Why art can be a boon for business

When it comes to providing support for the artistic community, businesses can become patrons and engage with that community by directly collecting art, sponsoring initiatives and hosting artistic events and discussions. This can be beneficial in many ways. “The creation of a stimulating and inspiring work environment can assist in promoting creativity and collaboration among employees, increasing engagement with the local community, and branding a company’s ethos and culture both through their social responsibility and their core company values,” says Abby. 

Creating or donating spaces for artists to work on is another way businesses can get involved. Corporate and real estate collaborations can bring about incredible spaces for employees and the community to share. And it’s a case of win-win. “The responses of artists to the environment are often one of the most fascinating things about their creative output,” says Abby. “Site-specific murals, light installations, sculptures and paintings that relate specifically to the physical environment of Hong Kong are some of the greatest ways to celebrate this city and see it through a different lens.”

Want to get involved? If you have a design project or creative idea you need realised, contact Abby at amckenzie@scad.edu or 2253 8110. Savannah College of Art and Design is at 292 Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po. scad.edu


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This article first appeared in the December/March 2019/20 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.