We are heartened by the letter by Chong Suet Fen, who shared her ideas on making the arts a bigger part of the lives of people in Singapore ("Do more to encourage artists"; last Wednesday).
Knowing that many young people are actively thinking of ways to encourage learning about and appreciation of the arts is what drives us at the National Arts Council (NAC) too.
We strongly believe that lifelong support for the arts begins when one is young. Hence, we work closely with partners such as the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Tote Board to provide subsidies to all schools when they organise assembly shows and arts enrichment workshops or purchase tickets for students to attend arts performances.
This is on top of a variety of existing arts education programmes, such as arts co-curricular activities, the MOE art elective and music elective programmes, and the NAC Artist-in-School Scheme.
For students who are interested in pursuing arts education at the tertiary level, there are tuition grants of between $12,000 and $19,800 available for Singaporeans and permanent residents for many of the diploma and degree programmes in our local arts institutions - Lasalle College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. These grant amounts are similar to those offered to polytechnic and university students taking non-arts courses. We also offer NAC arts scholarships for undergraduate studies.
Beyond school-based opportunities, there is Noise Singapore, which offers free mentorship and showcase opportunities for young people below the age of 35, and Matchbox, our grant initiative for aspiring artists. We also support arts performances and exhibitions that are easily accessible to everyone through grants to artists and arts groups, as well as partnerships with various agencies.
In 2014 alone, Singapore had a year-long calendar of nearly 5,000 free arts activities, many of which featured Singapore artists. The A List (a-list.sg) also has a schedule of arts and culture events and happenings in Singapore.
We recognise that the journey continues as Singapore evolves.
We will continue to work closely with artists, arts groups, academic institutions and the MOE to broaden and deepen arts education opportunities for all young people in Singapore so that they become the artists, audiences and arts supporters of the future.
Arts & Youth and Strategic Planning
National Arts Council, Singapore