New Director For Tai Kwun
By HG Masters
On April 9, the Hong Kong nonprofit Jockey Club CPS Limited (JCCPS), operator of Tai Kwun – Centre for Heritage and Arts, named Chin Chin Teoh as its new director, beginning April 17. Tai Kwun is located within the former colonial-era Central Police Station (CPS), which included courthouses and a prison, in the Central district of Hong Kong.
Teoh previously served as one of the founding co-directors of the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT), a cultural organization located within the retail and leisure development known as The Mills, which opened in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan area in March 2019.
Leong Cheung, executive director of Charities and Community at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, praised Teoh’s “successful experience launching and managing a heritage and arts venue.” Before CHAT, Teoh worked in private equity and investment banking, and holds a MA in history of art from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and a MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Teoh’s appointment comes as part of a larger structural reorganization at Tai Kwun, effectively splitting the directorial administrative job from the artistic directorship. The current director of CPS, Timothy Calnin, who oversaw the complex’s opening in mid-2018, has been named director of Tai Kwun Arts, and will oversee the organization of contemporary art and performing arts programs, as well as fundraising. Calnin’s background is in music, having served as chief executive of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, general manager of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and director of performing arts at the Sydney Opera House.
Tobias Berger remains head of art at Tai Kwun Contemporary; in this role, Berger has co-organized exhibitions including Takashi Murakami’s 2019 solo blockbuster as well as the annual Booked: Hong Kong Art Book Fair in January.
In its first year of operation Tai Kwun welcomed around 3.4 million visitors. In October 2019, it received the Award of Excellence in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The venue was in the headlines in November 2018 for a controversy involving the author Ma Jian, who was due to speak at a Hong Kong International Literary Festival event at Tai Kwun; the engagement was canceled and then allowed to proceed after the author promised not to promote his political interests.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club retains the hugely lucrative gambling monopoly on horse racing and football betting, and around 90 percent of the Club's annual operating surplus after tax is donated to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. In 2018–19, the Trust distributed HKD 4.3 billion (USD 554.5 million) to 294 charity and community projects including Tai Kwun.
HG Masters is the deputy editor and deputy publisher of ArtAsiaPacific.
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