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Cultural centers should be public-friendly: arts guru

2012/05/05 20:09:22

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Cultural centers should be designed to fit ordinary people's needs rather than playing a role as some kind of elite art clubs, an arts management guru said Saturday.

Michael Lynch, CEO of Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, said cultural facilities should be public-friendly and multi-functional, providing a wide range of cultural experiences.

During a talk with Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai on the role of cultural centers, Lynch suggested that cultural infrastructure should be built in such a way to foster connectionsbetween artists and local communities.

"What the cultural center will do, in a bigger sense, is it will be a major catalyst for change within the cultural life of people," said Lynch, who has run some of the world's greatest cultural institutions, including London's Southbank Centre and the Sydney Opera House.

In reflection of the "mosquito buildings" problem in Taiwan --unused public facilities that house nothing but mosquitoes -- Lynch said the government should strive to make cultural centers accessible to everyone.

If a cultural facility gives people the impression that it is all about expensive tickets and elite membership, Lynch continued, it is not of much interest to the general public.

Citing his own experience of running the Sydney Opera House from 1998-2002, the Australian said his team spent a great deal of effort rejuvenating the country's cultural picture by calling for participation by people from all walks of life.

"If you can get people in the door, at least inside the gate, you've got a very good chance of opening up the whole range of cultural experiences for them," Lynch said.

He suggested that the authorities could meet such a goal by holding free outdoor activities to build a sense of public ownership, as well as introducing commercial operations such as bars and retail outlets to cultural centers.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)