Forum: Many opportunities for local artists

A mural titled My Chinatown Home by artist Yip Yew Chong.
A mural titled My Chinatown Home by artist Yip Yew Chong.PHOTO: ST FILE

The National Arts Council (NAC) shares Ms Ong Seok Khim's belief in making art an integral part of people's lives and deepening public appreciation of our artists and their works (Do more to support local artists, Nov 27).

The Public Art Trust (PAT) was established by NAC in 2014 to commission meaningful public art that rejuvenates urban spaces and brings art closer to Singaporeans. The initiative provides artists, including those who have not created public works of art before, opportunities to showcase their work.

To date, 21 works by Singapore artists have been installed by the trust in public spaces islandwide, including the Civic District and residential neighbourhoods. The artists and their works are acknowledged with in-situ labels and on the PAT website.

PAT champions best practices for commissioning public art. It is open to working with other public art commissioners, including public agencies and private organisations, to highlight home-grown artistic talent and educate the public about the artists and their works.

NAC also supports artists with spaces for arts creation and presentation, in partnership with other public agencies, cultural institutions and corporate organisations.

Our partnership has allowed us to unlock more arts spaces, including in the community and at shopping malls. The gross floor area of arts spaces, either supported or directly held by NAC, has grown from about 18,000 sq m in 1985 to over 88,000 sq m this year.

To ensure that more artists, including newcomers, can access arts housing support, NAC offers spaces with fixed tenure under the Framework for Arts Spaces. When they become available, open calls will be conducted for artists and arts groups to submit their applications.

Since last year, NAC has secured 49 sites varying from sports centres, civic plazas and parklands to urban corridors, which invite public art expressions including those from young artists. These sites are listed on www.publicarttrust.sg/ public-spaces

Our partner institutions also support the presentation of works by Singapore artists. The National Gallery Singapore has a long-term exhibition that features over 300 works of Singapore modern art. It has also held special exhibitions that spotlight home-grown artists such as Chen Chong Swee and Iskandar Jalil, and commissioned work by artists such as Jane Lee and Tang Ling Nah.

We hope that the increased opportunities for art creation and presentation will allow more Singapore artists to showcase their talents to a wider audience and make art accessible to everyone.

Linda de Mello

Director

Sector Development (Visual Arts)

National Arts Council

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2019, with the headline 'Many opportunities for local artists'. Print Edition | Subscribe