Hin Bus Depot Hipster Art Center George Town Penang
Hin Bus Depot Hipster Art Center 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 Penang’s “blue busses.”
Many years after the Hin Company closed down, the depot was left vacant and derelict.
When Tan Shih Theo 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 buildings’ state, there wasn’t much that could be down to inject life into space.
What is Hin Bus Depot?
Hin Bus Depot is an art and events space in George Town, Penang.
Established in 2014, space is run by a small creative collective that curates the area’s contents.
The Hin Bus Depot space started with only an exhibition space and an outdoor stage. We now expand it with new businesses joining the ‘Hin Family.’
- tea house
- artist studios
- yoga studio
Hin Bus Depot supports and showcases progressive and upcoming artists, artworks, events, and art forms.
Mural Artist Ernest Zacharevic’s Works on Permanent Display at Hin Bus Depot
The young Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic transformed the 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.
Other artists added more murals and sculptures 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 many 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 primary criterion in accepting a tenant. It is a passion.
“We strongly believe in supporting these small businesses in our community. The benefits are tremendous.”
In the Hin Bus Depot 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 fascinating 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
One of the exhibits that I liked! You might fall in love with the “voice”. LOL <or run away…>
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 cafes 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 exciting, 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.
Old Shophouses next to Hin Bus Depot
The rows of shophouses flanking the depot form part of the growing hipster community of Hin Bus Depot.
The old tenants, such as a coffee shop, a hardware shop, and a motorcycle repair shop, continue to operate at some of these shophouses.
Other shophouses were 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 growing 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 travelers’ younger set and the urban dwellers who are tired of mall culture.
Bricklin Café & Bar
Bricklin Cafe Bar was 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, making 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 specializing 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, wheatgrass, 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 depot’s grounds, which houses arts and crafts shops worth checking out.
Sunday Hin Pop-Up Market
It’s only natural that the next step is a social 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 they built a shed adjacent to the Gallery to maximize space usage.
The weekly market was perfect for young entrepreneurs to trade. The owners purposely keep the rental low to attract regular traders.
These traders sell crafts, leather goods, skincare products, food, plants, and other goodies in a chill-out atmosphere.
Those who want to take up a spot can apply for a place at the depot.
How do I get to Hin Bus Depot?
Hin Sunday Pop Up Market Opening Hours: 11.00 am until 5.00 pm every weekend
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: [email protected] | Website http://hinbusdepot.com/