Next time you hurry through the lobby of Central Plaza in Wan Chai, take a minute to look through the gallery at the Sino Group's property.
Now featuring works from veteran photographer Leo Wong, which capture the fleeting beauty of the lotus through the changing seasons, the gallery provides a free and accessible platform for the public to appreciate art.
"We strive to create a more culturally vigorous Hong Kong," says Randy Yu, general manager of Sino Group, which initiated the "Art in Hong Kong" programme in 2006 to bring art into the everyday life of Hongkongers.
"Art can always delight and inspire people," Yu says. "It's very rewarding to reach out to the public and ignite an interest and appreciation in art."
An in-house curatorial team is dedicated to the programme, which involves organising art exhibitions and activities at various Sino Group properties.
Apart from free venues, the company offers curatorial support and publicity assistance, and organises educational programmes to promote artists and their works.
Exhibitions are regularly staged in open galleries in Central Plaza and Olympian City 1 in West Kowloon. Three shop spaces in Citywalk in Tsuen Wan have also been temporarily converted into galleries where an exhibition, entitled "Rising Stars International Arts Festival 2010 - Mind Painters", is now on. The exhibition, jointly organised with non-governmental organisations in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, showcases 62 artworks created by the mentally ill and aims to build a more inclusive society through sharing the talent of the artists with the public.
Since 2006, Sino Group has presented more than 90 exhibitions and art events, covering art forms from painting and installation to sculpture, photography and paper cutting.
In recognition of the company's contribution to arts and culture, the "Art in Hong Kong" programme was given the annual Award for Arts Sponsorship in 2007 and 2008, and the Award for Arts Promotion in 2008 by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
Yu says that Sino Group also organises programmes to engage the public directly and sponsors major art events in Hong Kong, such as the annual Fotanian Open Studio event displaying art by more than 200 local artists, the Hong Kong Arts Festival and graduation shows at art institutes in Hong Kong. Sino Group also offers rental sponsorships to the Asia Art Archive, Opera Hong Kong and Asian Youth Orchestra.
"We support local, Chinese and international artists whose proposals include interesting ideas, positive messages, artistic merit and an educational impact on the community," Yu says.
"We also constantly engage [our] partners and audiences for their feedback so that we can make meaningful improvements to our programmes and activities."
Rising Stars International Arts Festival 2010 - Mind Painters (until May 31)
Lotus Fantasia - Photography by Leo Wong (until May 31)
Identity - A Singapore International School Art Exhibition (until May 31)
Take a Break with Art - Joint exhibition of 23 local illustrators (until September 13)