Singapore government funding to develop local arts businesses

Singapore government funding to develop local arts businesses

Renaissance City Plan for local arts business
The Singapore government will be introducing seed funding schemes to help develop local arts businesses as part of Phase 3 of the Renaissance City Plan (RCP III).

The article below provides more information about the various schemes available and how these intend to support foreign artists as well as to build a sense of rootedness among Singaporeans.

Government seed funding scheme to nurture arts businesses
The government will introduce seed funding schemes to help develop local arts businesses and integrate them into the Arts Housing Scheme as part of the third phase of the Renaissance City Plan (RCP III).

The move is part of a push to grow the 'cluster' effect of the arts sector so there will be a complete value chain, Senior Minister of State for Education and Information, Communications and The Arts, Lui Tuck Yew, said at the launch of the plan's public report yesterday.

Besides seed funding, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (Mica), the National Arts Council (NAC) and National Heritage Board (NHB) will partner the Economic Development Board to help grow the local base of auction houses, galleries and specialised art services such as storage, logistics and professional conservation.

The amount of seed funding has not been revealed. But in September, NHB launched an $8 million Heritage Industry Incentive Programme (HI2P) to help develop the heritage sector over the next five years.

RCP III, announced by Mica Minister Lee Boon Yang in February this year, is Singapore's arts and cultural master plan for 2008-2015. A total of $115 million will be allocated over the next five years to help develop content and an ecosystem and to engage the community.

RCP III aims to bond Singaporeans by giving them a sense of 'rootedness' through the arts and culture, Mr Lui said yesterday. Another aim is to attract foreign talent by promoting a vibrant arts environment.

Content is the core of the arts and culture, said Mr Lui. So RCP III will introduce new content creation funds to encourage greater Asian content creation in Singapore or by Singaporeans.

Early next year, NAC will launch an Artist Residency Scheme to support foreign artists here, as well as Singaporean artists living elsewhere.

The scheme is meant to position Singapore as a cultural centre and gateway for Asian arts.

To help develop a dynamic ecosystem, the 33,000 sq m Arts Housing Scheme will be enlarged two years from now.

When the School of the Arts vacates its current campus at Goodman Road in 2010, an extra 15,000 sq m of arts housing space will be created.

Housing will be provided not only for artists but other players in the arts ecosystem, such as art businesses or specialised art services.

RCP III was built on the success of the previous Renaissance City Plan, Mr Lui said. “If you look at the statistics and hard figures, I think we've done quite well,” he said.

Mica has released the first Singapore Cultural Statistics Report, which gives figures on the growth of the cultural sector from 2003 to 2007, covering arts, heritage, libraries and film.

“What is significant is that there has been substantial increase in arts attendance in the Malay community, among people aged 35-49, HDB one to three-room dwellers and those with 'O' level education and below,” Mr Lui said.

As for an anticipated drop in corporate sponsorship of the arts next year, Mica will continue to cultivate relationships with companies while looking at how to make corporate sponsorship schemes more attractive, he said.

But this year will register significant contributions, with a $12 million donation by Ngee Ann Kongsi to the School of the Arts and the donation of $66 million of works by renowned artist Wu Guanzhong to Singapore Art Museum.

Mica is looking at ways to encourage members of the public to make small donations to the arts. “In (US President-elect) Barack Obama's campaign, people made small contributions but these engendered a sense of ownership,” Mr Lui said. “We think it's important for all Singaporeans to feel engaged.”

Source: The Business Times, 30 December 2008 ©Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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