I feel very grateful to have had the privilege of serving the Friends. I would like to thank all our members for their continued support. I would also like to thank my amazing Board, whose warmth, friendship, and commitment have been invaluable to me. I will miss all of them very much.
This past year has been a happy and productive one for the Friends. Our programme of talks, lectures, gallery and private collection visits; study group, day tours, and bespoke events has given our membership access to informative and amazing speakers and venues. In the last year we have also worked with major auction houses on some very exclusive events that offer our members opportunities for hands-on experience. Our events are well attended, and due to the tireless work of the Events Committee, they are always interesting and unique.
Our membership is growing, with a total membership of nearly 550 members. Our Young Friends are growing as well, and their membership is now up to almost 70. We are delighted to have this young dynamic section of our membership.
The Friends offered our members several varied and interesting trips this year. Immediately following our Gala Dinner last November, we travelled to Shanxi, China. Many of the previous chairs took this opportunity to travel with “friends” on this interesting tour. We were honoured with the company of Dr. Xu Xiaodong, the Museum of Art’s Associate Director, who made this experience very special. Belinda Piggott, a previous Board member, and Keiko Packard, our former Chair, took the Friends to Japan on an “Art Constellation” exploration of the traditional and modern art traditions. And we visited Jingdezhen, the ceramic capital of China, accompanied by Dr. Guanyu Wang, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Art Museum, CUHK.
To raise awareness of the Art Museum at CUHK and its role in the community, we made a concerted effort visit the new exhibitions. These visits were led by curators and researchers at the museum and gave us an extra insight into the collections and workings of the Art Museum and proved very popular with our members. In September, we held our first, “Family Fun day” in conjunction with the two Gold exhibitions at the Museum. It was well attended and we all enjoyed the excitement of all the children.
Working with Dr. Josh Yiu and Dr. Xu Xiaodong has been a great pleasure. They are unfailingly supportive of the Friends. Professor Joseph Sung and our Patron Mrs. Joseph Sung have also been unstinting in their support.
In June this year, we were once again the main sponsors of the CUHK Graduate Exhibition – The Art of CUHK 2017 – “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You”. We continue to support the students through grants, scholarships, internships, and residency programmes. This year we provided awards to six students, together with the Madeline Tang Research Grant were awarded at our Garden Party.
The Collectors Circle, originally launched in 2015, continues to thrive. We have established an annual Collectors Circle panel discussion that is one of the most popular events on our calendar.
The Friends line of products has been going from strength to strength. We produce an exclusive and reasonably priced range of wonderful products. This year, our newly introduced blue and white foldable shopping bag was one of the best sellers.
Two new Friends chapters were announced this year, the United Kingdom and Australia. Both London and Sydney have a membership made up of Friends members who have moved there and new members who are keen to be included in our activities. A number of very engaging events and tours have already been held and were well supported.
I would like welcome Mr. Peter Woo as our new Chair. Peter comes to us with a very special and unique mixture of a finance and a calligraphy background. I think this unusual combination will bring a breath of fresh air to the Friends. Our wonderful and super efficient Secretary, Emma Graham, is returning to the UK. Dan Maini, an ardent supporter of many years, will be assuming this role. The majority of the Board remains unchanged, comprising a team of dedicated and talented people.
I would like to thank you all for the tremendous support you have given me over the past two years and I know I will remain engaged with the Friends in one way or another.
Thank you all very much for your generosity and friendship