Arts and Culture
99. Regarding arts and culture, the West Kowloon Cultural District will provide an environment conducive to the development of Hong Kong as an international art and cultural metropolis, and will enrich our cultural life. It will also bring economic benefits to Hong Kong, promoting creative industries and attracting visitors.
100. We are committed to bring art into the community. The Home Affairs Bureau and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council will provide local artists and art bodies with direct funding of about $330 million next year. We will also increase the recurrent subvention for the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to more than $193 million to strengthen training programmes.
101. Cantonese opera is a gem of Lingnan culture. Hong Kong has preserved the essence of Cantonese opera which should be developed further. The Legislative Council has approved funding of about $186 million for the conversion of the Yau Ma Tei Theatre and the Red Brick Building into a Xiqu Activity Centre to provide performing and practising venues for small-scale Cantonese opera performances and budding artists. We have also injected $20 million into the Cantonese Opera Development Fund and will invest about $33 million in 2009-10 to further support the research and promotion of Cantonese opera.
102. To provide more opportunity for people to use library facilities and to encourage more reading, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will standardise the opening days of their
33 major and district libraries to seven days a week from 1 April, with opening hours increased by about 10 hours to 71 hours a week.
103. The Legislative Council has approved funding of
$93 million to upgrade and enhance the Multimedia Information Systems of public libraries. This will help meet future demand and provide more effective and advanced library information services to the community.