Cover Jonathan Cheung, Kevin Poon and Fiona McLeish at Para Site's gala on November 23 (Photo: Kenneth Tang)

Para Site’s annual gala proved that fundraising can—and should be—a blast.

When?: November 23, 2022

Where?: St Regis Hong Kong

Who?: Billy Tang, Yenn Wong, Inna Rodchenko-Highfield, Kevin Poon, Jehan Chu

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The November 23 event at the St Regis Hong Kong’s Astor Ballroom drew the city’s biggest art connoisseurs in celebration of the contemporary art centre. The theme of the evening was “swimming pools”: think blue striped table covers, swimming cap centrepieces, plates adorned with gold medals, tables named after cities that have hosted the Olympics—plus an Olympic podium photo backdrop that made every Instagram lover’s dream come true.

Prior to dinner, Hong Kong art legend Frog King delivered a quirky performance that had guests wearing face masks (not the ones you think) while waving hula hoops over their head. The ten-minute show ended with a lot of laughs and a group photo with the artist.      

Though the spirit of the evening was jovial, guests in attendance were there for a very specific purpose: to raise funds for Para Site’s future exhibitions and public arts educational programmes.  More than 60 pieces by popular artists, such as Antony Gormley, Pipilotti Rist and Hong Kong’s own William Lim, were up for auction.      

Para Site’s executive director and curator, Billy Tang, took two shots of tequila on stage to calm his nerves—     which was naturally met with roaring applause. “I’m a little bit nervous as it’s my first time [up here]. It’s really hard to take the reins of such a cherished institution. It’s overwhelming. Stay with me, I’m jumping into the deep end, but I promise that I will work with all my heart with the support of the artists and curators,” he said before thanking Para Site’s long-time patrons and supporters.

Former Para Site board member Jehan Chu led the auction, tugging at heartstrings and reminding the crowd to bid high and bid often. As Chu put it,  art has the ability to bring people together, and “there no price is too high to pay for more dialogue and more connection”. We’ll cheers to that!

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