Hin Bus Depot Hipster Art Centre George Town Penang
Hin Bus Depot Hipster Art Centre in George Town is the local entrepreneur community art space in artsy Penang. Built in 1947, the Hin Bus Depot was run by the bus company, Hin Company. The Hin Bus used to ply the Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang routes. Most seniors will remember fondly of Penang’s “blue busses”.
Many years after the Hin Company closed down; the depot was left vacant and derelict.
When Tan Shih Thoe and his business partners bought the place it was almost unheard of. It wasn’t exactly a landmark location that would draw in hoards of Saturday Night party goers or Sunday weekend shoppers.
The few building on site was derelict and a haunt for drug addicts and wage bonds. Looking at the state of the buildings, there wasn’t much that could be down to inject life into space.
Mural Artist Ernest Zacharevic’s Works on Permanent Display
The young Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic transformed dilapidated Art Deco style building and used the bare walls as his canvas back in 2014.
The old depot was cleaned up and used to host Zacharevic’s first solo exhibition, “Art is Rubbish is Art”. Zacharevic’s art depicts the local culture. He has a knack for blending his art into the original structure. It seeps unadulterated into the cracks of the old lime washed walls. The dilapidated condition forms part of the art and is preserved.
This set the depot on its creative path as more innovative ideas poured in. Hin Bus Depot on Jalan Gurdwara, George Town was transformed into an art exhibition gallery and a lively Sunday Pop up Market. More murals and sculptures were added by other artists over the last five years.
Hipster Trading Post
The Sunday Pop up Market grew organically over the years and is now a hub for arts, crafts, food and urban farms. This path has encouraged the space to grow and to inspire creativity in every sense of the word. The stall owners have changed over the years, yet some remain. Familiar faces are now part of this vibrant community of artists and friends.
Tan who manages Hin Bus Depot said that he gets a lot of requests from local entrepreneurs who want to rent a space in the depot. Hin does not look for tenants who look to the venue purely for commercialized ventures.
There is only one main criterion, in accepting a tenant. It is passion.
“We strongly believe in supporting these small businesses in our community. The benefits are tremendous.”
In the Gallery
The gallery space has held numerous art exhibitions over the past three years and is almost always fully booked. The art gallery is managed by Wanida Razali who has curated some very exciting exhibitions over the years. Apart from the art gallery, there is an open-air deck for events, a garden and open spaces with murals by Zacharevic and sculptures by other artists.
Check out the curated exhibition dates here. http://hinbusdepot.com/exhibitions-hinbusdepot.html
Tenants around Hin Bus Depot
Hin Bus Depot has since become a catalyst to turn this part of Brick Kiln Road into an arts precinct. Artsy cafés have flourished in the surrounding vicinity and the depot continues to attract artists and art lovers. Each time I visit the Hin Bus Depot, I find an interesting fun art show or a new creative exhibition by a local artist that you should check it out before I head off for dinner across at Presgrave Street.
The rows of shophouses flanking the depot form part of the growing hipster community of Hin Bus Depot. Old tenants such as a coffee shop, a hardware shop and motorcycle repair shop continue to operate at some of these shophouses. Other shophouses have been restored and converted into new spaces for local small businesses.
As a city grows, it becomes more sophisticated and hipster cafes and themed coffee outlets start to flourish. The young business community began to look at different ways to package products creatively.
Today, the depot has around 20 different business outlets under its roof. Hin Bus Depot’s concept of thinking out of the box type of business model would appeal to the younger set of travellers and the urban dwellers who are tired of mall culture.
Bricklin Café & Bar
Bricklin Cafe Bar is inspired by ‘Brick Kiln Road’ now known as Jalan Gurdwara. The café opened in 2014, remains as the anchor cafe at the entrance. The cozy nook serves up light meals, cakes, tasty drinks and a great cuppa coffee which makes it a little haven for escaping the scorching sun.
The Swagger Salon
With their brand “LANSI” — cocky, or arrogant, in the local lingo is the brainchild of hip-hop enthusiast Penangite Shen who grew up dabbling in rap music and graffiti art.
Wholey Wonder Vegan Cafe and Yoga Studio
Hipster vegan café Wholey Wonder a cafe that specializes in nourishing plant-based food serves a western menu in the city with burgers, pizzas, cakes or even a Briyani Quinoa. The cafe’s food is a medley of flavors and textures made from fresh fruit and can include kale, hemp seed, coconut water, barley grass, wheat grass and cashew cream.
For yoga enthusiasts, there are yoga classes in the studio above the Wholey Wonder cafe.
The Black Market (Glass House)
This little drinks counter has fresh Cold Pressed Juices (real fruit juice – no sugar no water added), Milkshakes, Coffee, Tea, and Wine tucked away in the beautiful Glass House. One of the best finds is a local crafted beer called Ang Mo Lang Teh (紅毛人; “red-haired people”) There is snow beer that tastes like a frozen Tiger beer to enjoy on a hot day. You get to chill with your drinks on the open wooden air deck. I like my long black made by Austin!
There are other tiny huts within the grounds of the depot which houses arts and crafts shops worth checking out.
Sunday Hin Pop-Up Market
It’s only natural that the next step is a cultural trading post of sorts that appeals to all ages and spans across the culture. The Sunday Hin Pop-Up Market serves to repurpose the old building and inject life into it. The Hin Pop-Up Market was mooted as a platform for local entrepreneurs to showcase their products and talent.
There is a large open-sided shed was built adjacent to the Gallery to maximize the space usage. The weekly market was perfect for young entrepreneurs to trade. The rental is purposely kept low to attract regular traders. These traders sell crafts, leather goods, skin care products, food, plants and other goodies in a chill out atmosphere. Those who want to take up a spot can apply for a spot at the depot.
The open atmosphere at Hin Bus Depot and the warmth of the community of vendors and customers continue to attract traders to the Sunday Market.
Hin Sunday Pop Up Market Opening Hours: 11.00am until 5.00pm every Sunday
Hin Bus Depot, 31, Jalan Gurdwara, George Town, 10300, Penang. Entrance to the market is FREE
For rental inquiries do contact +604-226 5691 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website http://hinbusdepot.com/
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