PARLIAMENT

More than 60 projects benefit from new grant for the arts

An online concert by the Jazz Association (Singapore) aired on Facebook and YouTube last month, and was one of the projects that benefited from the Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts.
An online concert by the Jazz Association (Singapore) aired on Facebook and YouTube last month, and was one of the projects that benefited from the Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts.PHOTO: JAZZ ASSOCIATION (SINGAPORE)

A grant for digital arts projects in the time of Covid-19 has supported more than 60 projects so far, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng told Parliament yesterday.

The Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts, which encourages artists and arts groups to go digital, is supported by the Digitalisation Fund - part of the Government's $55 million Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) to help the sector tide through the pandemic.

Successful applicants receive up to $20,000 for each project.

"Since applications opened on April 14, 62 applications have been supported.

"Overall, the Digitalisation Fund aims to generate over 1,000 opportunities for cultural and related practitioners, including in the post-circuit breaker period," Mr Baey said. "The allocation for each area of support under the ACRP will depend on the evolving national situation, as well as the needs and demands of the arts and culture community."

He was responding to questions from Nominated MP Terence Ho, who had asked for various updates on the Government's support for artists amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

One project to benefit from the grant was an online concert by the Jazz Association (Singapore) last month. It aired on Facebook and YouTube, with swinging renditions of classics such as Singapura and jazz standard I Can't Get Started.

Aside from covering the grant, the Digitalisation Fund also aims to make museums' exhibitions and collections accessible on virtual platforms, and support the digital presentation of events such as the Singapore Writers Festival and the Singapore Art Week.

It is supporting at least eight commissions as part of the National Arts Council's #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, with partners such as Lianhe Zaobao, Hear65 and Viddsee.

Earlier this year, the Government announced that it would pump $55 million into the arts and culture sector to save jobs and encourage groups to improve their skills and go digital.

This was on top of the $1.6 million that had been set aside earlier to help arts groups improve their skills and ease expenses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The raft of measures also defray the cost of rent, wages and training for arts groups.

An enhanced Capability Development Scheme for the Arts, which offers training grants, has supported more than 160 programmes so far, Mr Baey said yesterday.

"I am heartened that many of our experienced artists and cultural practitioners, such as Maestro Yeh Tsung, Chong Tze Chien and Checkpoint Theatre, have stepped forward to share their experience through virtual masterclasses and online training," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2020, with the headline 'More than 60 projects benefit from new grant for the arts'. Print Edition | Subscribe