While one hopes the WKCD experiences better luck with all its infrastructure projects and venues, in the coming months and years, the immediate task it faces is finding a wide pool of skilled staff to keep its operations ticking smoothly.
In short, the WKCD comes with a paradoxical catch. While it may provide the answers to Hong Kong's chronic shortage of performance venues, it also delivers a tall order to fill: the increasing demand for administration talent and cultural software.
"The arts scene here is fragmented by participants embracing quite different philosophies. We accord equal importance to enthusiasm and flair to gain a quick grasp of the value system and business philosophy of the industry," says Louis Yu, former chief executive of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and currently the performance arts executive director of the WKCD Authority, which is tasked with managing the development of the district.
When finished, the WKCD is envisioned to include a mega performance venue, a grand theatre, a concert hall, a chamber music hall, a xiqu centre comprising a main theatre and a small theatre, two medium-sized theatres, and four blackbox theatres.
A critical review recently of the economic impact of developing the WKCD estimated that around 4,000 positions will have to be filled after the implementation of phase one, namely core arts and cultural facilities. These will include 820 managerial operation or administration positions, including those for venues and management in core infrastructures alone.
The shortage will worsen when only 876 arts administrators will be working or available. These are administrators employed full time by the government or publicly-funded organisations in 2007. These groups can be classified into three sectors: venue providers; programme curator and venue user; and promoter, programmer and co-ordinator.
These three areas will serve as a guideline for assaying the need for human resources training and development in arts administration. At present, around 68 per cent of administration staff are working for the first group, 23 per cent for