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「其實在商會裏，我們很多人都喜歡做教育大眾的工作。」香港古董及藝廊商會公關總監兼88 Gallery 總監及設計師的蔡俊邦（Adrian）說。
作為家具品牌「錦田」的第四代傳人，從小被藝術及古董包圍，他對藝術有自己的看法：「我跟這些可被收藏的作品一起生活，彼此間是有交流的。有些作品 (家具)並不只能用肉眼觀賞而已，你可能會坐上去，也會摸摸它。」Adrian 很重視自己跟藝術品之間的連結，深信藝術品除了金錢的價值，還有和觀賞者建立起情感上的價值。
商會的活動面向不同群體，不論行內或行外的人士都囊括其中。Angel 憶述一次晚宴活動：「我們邀請了各自的藏家朋友出席那次晚宴，再從各自的畫廊挑選一些作品於晚宴中展出。參加者可以在晚宴開始前遊覽一圈，看看有沒有感興趣的作品。例如有參加者對我的書畫感興趣，我就可以直接和他交流討論。」Angel 表示這類活動十分難得，因為不同藏家各有自己專業的領域。來到這個場合，藏家甚至搞手都可以一邊展現自己的專長，同時發掘另一個感興趣的領域。
Association acts as the bridge of face-to-face art education
“In fact, most of us in the assocation are happy to engage and educate the public in art.” said by Adrian Choi, director and designer of 88 Gallery.
As the fourth generation heir of the furniture brand “Kam Tin”, Choi has been immersed in art and antiques since his childhood. He has his own perspective on art, “Living with collectibles arises a special connection between the collectables and me. Some works (furniture) should not only be appreciated by the naked eye; but should be appreciated by sitting on it or touching it for feel.” Choi values the bond between him and the artworks; and he strongly believes that emotions of the consumer towards the artworks is more important than the value of the artworks.
Although Choi thinks highly of the interaction between people and artwork, it does not mean that every art piece can be touched by the viewers’ disposal. “If children come into the gallery, I would introduce antiques to them, or share a detail of designs. Then I would explain to them why some pieces should not be sat on or touched. It is not my intention to be caustic to them, instead I hope they, even their parents, can understand art in an appreciative way.” Choi said. Choi often encounter individuals who misunderstand antique and art; and that motivates him to open up and engage in conversation with them when they show interest in pieces.
Different backgrounds, same belief
Open discussion on art requires not only the space, but also knowledge from experience individuals. The association comprises of members from different backgrounds; and has become the bridge between the arts and the public. “We hope to create more opportunities for the public to appreciate art and to have more exposure to art. Grateful that we have different knowledge in art, so the association covers most art categories. Hence, we can fully develop our community by introducing our specialties to everyone.” said by Angel Siu, founding member of HKAAGA and director of Chelesa Art.
The association activities target at different audiences, including both insiders and outsiders of the art field. Siu recalled a dinner event, “We once hosted a dinner party and invited collectors and friends. To decorate the venue, we handpicked and exhibited some artworks from our galleries to create an art space where the guests were able to engage and appreciate the artworks prior to dinner. When a guest showed interest in my exhibit paintings, I was able to share my knowledge and engage him with an inspiring conversation.” Siu expressed that it is seldom to have cross art category events because art events are usually of a specific category to target the specific collector. In this special occasion, the collectors and the organizers are able to share their expertise with each other that may trigger themselves to have an interest in another field.
The association also educates the general public in a simple way. “We organize talks on different art topics and art categories, such as modern and contemporary calligraphy and painting or porcelain,” Siu said. These events cater to the public who have interest in art but are less likely to get exposure to it. These talks are mostly open to public, where we provide a platform and opportunities for individuals to appreciate art.