Government outlines how $210m will be spent on the arts

SINGAPORE - The Government revealed yesterday how the $210 million fund allocated to the arts under its Community Engagement Masterplan will be spent.

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, said that the money will go towards three priority areas: (i) promoting learning and appreciation; (ii) seeding new interest groups, community networks and ground-up initiatives; and (iii) providing more community touchpoints for the arts and culture.

The percentage allocation of the funds are 30, 25 and 45 per cent respectively.

For the first - the promotion of art appreciation - the initiatives to be launched include more than 6,000 art appreciation sessions conducted in partnership with art and culture practitioners to reach over 300,000 Singaporeans in the next five years; a one-stop portal for information on related activities (ArtsCultureSG); a Silver Arts Programme for seniors; and the extension of the National Library Board's annual reading campaign to include a younger audience.

For the building of ground-up initiatives to create additional platforms for the arts, notable initiatives include providing support for community interest groups and the setting up of Community Arts and Culture Clubs in each of the 87 constituencies.

The support to be rendered includes grants, starter toolkits, workshops, masterclasses, and partnerships with professional instructors.

Art events and platforms such as the District Arts Festivals and Noise Singapore are to be enhanced for more showcase opportunities for art practitioners.

Of the 45 per cent budget allocation for developing touchpoints for the arts, a quarter is to go towards upgrading existing community spaces and facilities. Between 2012 to 2016, the Government aims to upgrade up to 25 community spaces.

This is to enhance their usability and serve as more affordable facilities for arts groups.

In addition, the Government is considering whether to have Regional Cultural Centres in town hubs, where larger-scale facilities could be built to serve a wider catchment.

However, this would be studied separately due to the higher costs involved, Dr Yaacob said.

To ensure their relevance to Singaporeans, the Masterplan will be continually reviewed and funding to be adjusted according to the needs and responses of the ground, the minister added.

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