CSR and Art
Art is a source of immense pleasure. It should never be restricted to just art galleries but should be all around us. Maybe this was one of the reasons the MTR in Hong Kong launched the “Art in the MTR” Initiative in 1998. This initiative has taken many forms and continues to grow in ways that they hadn’t really envisaged in the early days of the program.
I remember the first time I went to Chicago. The art all around me, from the moment I landed at the airport, made me feel so wonderful. Why can’t we provide such simple pleasures for our communities in Pakistan and instil in them the value of art and culture? Why can’t our companies, large and small, take CSR to the masses – in the areas of art, culture, health and education? I know some companies are working in the health and education sectors but much more needs to be done – in a variety of innovative ways.
Here are some examples of what is happening in the MTR stations in Hong Kong.
open art gallery
The open art gallery aims to improve the travelling environment by exhibiting drawings of renowned artists at various MTR stations. It features 14 reproductions of paintings by renowned Hong Kong artists in 13 stations, each presenting a different aspect of local life and culture. In addition, three giant photographs depicting Hong Kong’s natural habitat have been displayed at Kwun Tong Station since 1999.
Located at the entrance to Central Station, the “arttube” is a mini art gallery created to provide a platform for aspiring artists, designers and talented individuals in the creative industries to showcase their works.
Since its inception in December 2003, the “arttube” has hosted numerous exhibitions of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional art creations.
“Arttube” is expected to help groom emerging artists, enhance public interest in the visual arts, and provide the public with yet another opportunity to appreciate the artistic talents and cultural heritage of Hong Kong.
community art galleries
In February 2000, the two footbridges adjoining Lam Tin Station (in the Newcommunity galleries Territories area) were converted into a community art gallery for the display of paintings and drawings by students from schools or artists from local groups in the Lam Tin area.
Following this success, community art galleries have been extended to other stations. There are now a total of 36 such galleries in the MTR system. All have become highly popular.
The “roving art” programme features temporary art exhibitions at various MTR stations. Organisations in proximity to MTR stations are invited to exhibit their artwork. The aim of the programme is to promote community art by providing a venue for local artists to showcase their works.
Starting in October 2004, the Central Subway of Hong Kong Station has been converted into a stage for professional artists and amateur performers to demonstrate their artistic talents to the public. Performances are held every Friday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.. Passengers can relax and take a break from the stress and pressure of city life.
art in station architecture
The art in station architecture programme was introduced in 1998 when the Airport Railway commenced service. In addition to contemporary art pieces being installed at MTR and Airport Express (this is the train that runs between Hong Kong and the airport) stations, artworks are also incorporated into the actual design of station architecture.
At present, 29 art pieces have been introduced at various stations as part of the station architecture.
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