Forum: Gillman Barracks can serve other roles for arts scene

I refer to Mr Jeffrey Say Seck Leong's letter about reviving Gillman Barracks (Reviving Gillman Barracks should be a priority, Aug 27).

The Economic Development Board has already spent millions of dollars on the Gillman project. There is just not enough of a critical mass in Singapore for an arts venue like that and besides, we already have many independent art galleries that people can go to.

Even the various art shows that were staged previously in other venues have had to reduce their capacity or even cancel their shows, because there was just not enough interest.

Regionally, we are competing against more established shows like the Hong Kong Art Week and also major art shows held in China. And for art lovers for whom money is not a concern, there are many shows in Europe and the United States that they can patronise.

As Mr Say mentioned in an earlier letter (Arts companies need permanent homes to grow, July 28), there is a dire shortage of independent arts spaces for arts companies, and Gillman could very well be an answer akin to Goodman Arts Centre. It could also provide spaces with low rental for non-profit, art-related outfits like Art Outreach, which is currently located there, and be a hub for arts education for Singaporeans young and old.

The few food and beverage outlets in Gillman seem to be doing well, as the location is ideal for a cosy meal away from the city amid lovely greenery and history. Perhaps more F&B outlets with unique concepts, that also promote local artists in their space, can open there.

For those of us who love Gillman Barracks, please do not let it fall to disrepair; it will be heartbreaking to see such a beautiful space go to waste.

Charlotte Chu

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