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Hong Kong's cultural hotspots you may not know about

Commercial buildings stand illuminated in the Central business district of Hong Kong, China.
Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Commercial buildings stand illuminated in the Central business district of Hong Kong, China.

While you wait until the West Kowloon Cultural District to get up and running, here's is a selection of Hong Kong's cultural happenings and hotspots:

Art Basel

The world's most prominent modern-art fair makes Hong Kong its third global base every March, luring some of the world's finest exhibitors and collectors. The annual art event and its many satellite events should, if not dispel, then ease criticism that Hong Kong is a cultural desert. For doubters, artist Cao Fei made an in-your-face statement during Art Basel Hong Kong 2015 when she lit up the International Commerce Centre tower — Hong Kong's tallest — in West Kowloon with gigantic images of 1980s video games including Pac Man and Tetris.

ArtWalk

The annual late-hours opening of more than 60 galleries, designed to be visited by following a walking tour-map, is an engaging way to visit the city's best galleries in between complimentary drinks and talks. ArtWalk Extra follows the unofficial art pieces cheekily displayed at Hong Kong's historic corners by artists keen to be noticed by Artwalk attendees. This year's dates are yet to be unannounced but information is available at www.hongkongartwalk.com

Hong Kong Cultural Center

The outside design of the imposing cultural center, strategically placed on Tsim Sha Tsui overlooking Victoria Harbour, may be the cause of many heated arguments but the oak-paneled interior has received accolades for its acoustics, hosting the LA Philharmonic, the Bolshoi Theatre and other top performance groups. The center is home to the Hong Kong Arts Festival every year in February and March.

Lesser-known haunts

When industry moved out of the Fo Tan district for the mainland after 1997, painters, photographers and printmakers moved in. The Fotanian Open Studio event in March allows entrance to the workplaces of more than 200 artists and art lovers in this bustling part of town.

Cattle Depot Artist Village is a former Kowloon slaughterhouse that over the past 14 years has developed into a home for arts groups. Worth checking out for theatre and arts performances as well as for its red-brick studios.

With more than 140 artists in house, the Jockey Club Culture and Art Centre (JCCAC) in the former Shek Kip Mei factory is full of fresh arts talent. Walk around the artists and artisans' studios in this old government estate building, or simply head to the rooftop for an evening of theatre, film or modern dance. Check www.jccac.org.hk for information on ongoing events.

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Managed by JCCAC, the Central Police Station is a colonial-era compound that comprises 16 buildings of historical importance within a 13,600 square-meter site. The project, scheduled to open in the second half of 2016, will provide an impressive setting for contemporary art and other exhibitions. But simply walking around these historical premises, including the renovated prison and Old Bailey, will be worth the visit www.centralpolicestation.org.hk.

Art Galleries abound in Hong Kong, testament to the wealth produced in the territory. Osage Gallery in Kwun Tong, Kowloon, fulfils its aim of provoking artistic debate and promoting Asian visual arts by representing overlooked artists. The Osage Art Foundation big show is usually held in the spring and is well known for its exhibitions and publications.

Para Site has been breaking down barriers in modern art exhibitions since before the British handover of Hong Kong, hosting exciting local and foreign artists. For those determined buyers with thicker wallets, White Cube and Gagosian also have outposts in Hong Kong.