SINGAPORE - A RENAISSANCE CITY
The Ministry of Information and The Arts (MITA) has produced a report, in consultation with members of the cultural community, that articulates a vision of Singapore as a world-class city supported by a vibrant cultural scene, and outlines the strategies required to take Singapore there. We welcome your views on the recommendations.
While Singapore is in the top league of cities in terms of economic indicators, it fares less well on the cultural indicators, in terms of talent pool, facilities, activities, audience figures and level of state funding for the arts. We should aim to reach a level of development that would be comparable to cities like Hong Kong, Glasgow and Melbourne in 5-10 years. The longer term objective would be to join London and New York in the top rung of cultural cities.
CULTURE AND CREATIVITY IN THE FUTURE ECONOMY
Apart from the direct economic benefits that accrue to arts and cultural activities, creative and artistic endeavours will also play a decisive role in the future economy. To ensure sustained growth in the long run, Singapore must forge an environment that is conducive to innovations, new discoveries and the creation of new knowledge. Knowledge workers will gravitate towards and thrive in places that are vibrant and stimulating. Building up a cultural and creative buzz will thus help us to attract both local and foreign talents to contribute to the dynamism and growth of our economy and society.
VISION OF A RENAISSANCE SINGAPORE
Our industries are supported with a creative culture that keeps them competitive in the global economy. The Renaissance Singaporean has an adventurous spirit, an inquiring and creative mind and a strong passion for life. Culture and the arts animate our city and our society consists of active citizens who build on our Asian heritage to strengthen the Singapore Heartbeat through expressing their Singapore stories in culture and the arts.
ROLES OF THE PLAYERS
The state and the private sector must provide support and space for the development of the arts. The arts community must strengthen its sense of professionalism and accountability. The private sector and individual citizens must engage in a fruitful and symbiotic partnership with the arts community.
STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Develop a strong arts and cultural base
- Expand the current Arts Education Programme with additional funding of another $400,000 per annum.
- Set up a Singapore Studies Department or Programme at the NUS to offer courses relating to the people, society, heritage and culture of Singapore.
- Allocate $500,000 a year for the next 5 years for the National Arts Council (NAC) to fund or undertake research and documentation projects in culture.
Develop flagship and major arts companies
- Allocate to NAC an additional $5 million per annum over the next 5 years to support up to 8 major arts companies.
- Provide $200,000 per annum to develop technical and managerial skills among our arts and heritage managers and administrators.
Recognise and groom talent
- Beef up scholarship funding by $300,000 per annum to send local and foreign talents for training.
- Set up a "New Artist Discovery Scheme" with an initial sum of $200,000 per annum to fund promising projects proposed by fresh talents.
- Create an annual $200,000 fund to support projects or commission works by recipients of Cultural Medallions.
Provide good infrastructure and facilities
- Expand NAC's successful Arts Housing Scheme to include a further 7,000 square metres over the next 5-7 years.
- Continue to cater for good cultural facilities such as the extension of the Singapore History Museum, the refurbishment of Old Parliament House as an arts and cultural centre, and the development of a national arts gallery at Queen Street.
v) Go international . Allocate an additional $700,000 per annum for NAC to reinforce our efforts to promote our artists overseas and for NHB to bring our exhibitions overseas.
- Strengthen cultural relations with other countries to facilitate cultural exchanges and forge partnerships with other cultural agencies.
- Encourage and facilitate international co-productions and collaborations involving Singapore and overseas talent.
Develop an arts & cultural 'renaissance' economy
- Allocate an additional $1.5 million per annum to make events such as the Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Writers' Week the leading ones in Asia.
- Initiate a Sculptural Biennale to showcase sculptures from all over the world in our indoor and outdoor venues, with funding of $500,000 for each Biennale.
- Create a new biennial mini arts festival similar to the Boston arts festival around the Waterloo and Fort Canning areas with funding of $1 million for each festival.
- Set up a fund of $1 million over the next 5 years to develop a regional award in the visual arts.
- Set up an Arts Marketing Task Force to systematically develop marketing practices in the arts industry that would attract more audiences and sponsors from Singapore and abroad, supported by $500,000 over 3 years.
- Set aside $500,000 over 3 years to organise an international performing arts market with an Asian focus to attract our neighbouring countries to sell their arts groups and productions to festival directors and impresarios.
For a start, MITA is giving additional funding of $50 million over the next five years for the new programmes and schemes. These initiatives in culture and the arts demonstrate the Government's resolve in pursuing policies that will secure a bright, vibrant and creative future for Singaporeans in the 21st century.