New CEO makes an impression on local arts groups and media

Graham with mediaWKCDA Chief Executive Officer (designate) Mr Graham Sheffield visited Hong Kong during the last week of May with an action-packed itinerary. In addition to meeting with Authority staff for planning and operational matters, Mr Sheffield also met with Hong Kong media, arts groups, arts students and others as he continued to immerse himself in the local scene prior to his assumption of full CEO duties in August.

Over the first two days, Mr Sheffield had a series of meetings and a reception with the Chairman of the WKCDA Board, Mr Henry Tang, members of the Board, committees, Consultation Panel, and executives from the Authority. Also on the schedule was a visit to the opening of the Hong Kong Art Fair at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

A highlight of day three was a lunch gathering with approximately 20 representatives from small- to medium-sized performing arts groups and a trip to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA). Over the lunch, the arts groups shared with Mr Sheffield their views on the progress of the WKCD project, also their activities and modes of operation.

Graham at APAOn the APA visit, the younger generations were well-represented too; Mr Sheffield met with student representatives and senior APA staff to discuss the importance of arts and culture education, which the incoming CEO said was a crucial part of his strategy for the district. The APA visit concluded with a look at the Bethanie Campus model, a tour of the performing arts venues and a Cantonese opera performance. Mr Sheffield then enjoyed a cup of tea with the Chinese Artists Association before heading off to meet representatives from the nine major Hong Kong performing arts groups and other arts and cultural stakeholders together with the Board Chairman.

Day four included a lunch with senior editors from local news media and a tea gathering with local reporters. This was Mr Sheffield’s second time meeting Hong Kong media. Mr Sheffield also met with some local visual art stakeholders on the same day, including representatives from independent art spaces, art publications, educational and art institutions.  Although the meeting was brief, Mr. Sheffield had a useful discussion with the stakeholders.

There was, of course, a lot more—Mr Sheffield’s Hong Kong visit also included meetings with the Development, Performing Arts and Museum Committees, the management team, a classical concert by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (Gershwin’s "Rhapsody in Blue") and a performance by City Contemporary Dance Company ("Tale of Two Cities").

To read Graham’s firsthand account of his "144 hours in Hong Kong", read "Diaries of our new CEO".