By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Finding workshops or classes of interest to learn painting, drawing, handicrafts or other kinds of artistic pursuits is not that easy in Macau.
And it is particularly ironic when the government seems to have made so much effort and even set up a commission to look into ways to boost the development of the local cultural and creative industries as well as build a “cultural atmosphere” in the city.
In response to a lawmaker’s interpellation, Cultural Affairs Bureau chief Ung Vai Meng recently disclosed that the bureau would shortly encourage educational institutes and social organisations to open cultural and creative industry related training and courses, in the hope to promote local youth’s knowledge in those areas.
But instead of restricting support to educational institutes and social organisations, would the government consider supporting independent artists who are or have the wish to hold classes?
From my point of view, the spacious “glass house” at Tap Seac Square would be a very nice place for artists both from Macau and all over the world to join together, work together and exchange their ideas and knowledge. The glass wall also enables artists ample sunlight when creating their art pieces. The whole property seems to be perfectly made for this purpose, at least that’s what I believe.
Sadly, nothing much seems to have been done ever since the government said last year the long-vacant structure would become a base for the development of cultural and creative industries.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cheong U met with some artists and art groups last weekend. He again reiterated the government’s determination to promote cultural and creative industries, and also revealed the plans to create more cultural and creative industry zones from the centre point of the Ruins of St. Paul’s.
Tap Seac Square, he said, will be included in one of the zones. It came with no surprise because since 2010 Macau people have been expecting that the “glass house” would be turned into something to foster cultural and creative pursuits. So what’s new apart from that?
More detailed and specific action plans and strategies are needed here. At least I wish the secretary could have explained the objectives or purpose of these “zones”, in what ways they could help the industries to flourish and also how the government could really make them work.
On the other hand, Ung Vai Meng also said the government would begin with basic education and gradually create an environment for children where they can cultivate a “creative mindset” and have contact with different cultures and arts.
Its common sense that the earlier a child can establish contact with the arts the easier it would be for them to “cultivate” an interest. I heard some parents complaining that they couldn’t find any arts interest classes in Macau for their children this summer because they’re considered too small.
Nevertheless, kindergartens and primary schools have the responsibility to help foster the “arts sense” of children. Just go back to baby steps, if the Macau Government truly would like to cultivate talent in this field and create a “cultural atmosphere” in the community.
Macau undeniably has interesting cultures as is obvious by the city’s very colourful history. It would be a great advantage if the government could take solid action as early as possible to ensure that the flourishing cultural and creative industries will be in the future of Macau.