Spore's visual arts scene robust, well supported

Singapore has thrived as an open economy which welcomes the global inflow of talents and ideas so as to constantly innovate and improve.
Singapore has thrived as an open economy which welcomes the global inflow of talents and ideas so as to constantly innovate and improve.PHOTO: ST FILE

We refer to the recent letters on Singapore's visual arts scene (Govt agencies must manage art scene better, Jan 21; Learn lessons from Art Stage fair cancellation, Jan 28; and Singapore's visual arts reputation needs salvaging, Jan 28), as well as the column (The art of growing the market; Jan 27) and thank the writers for their views.

Singapore has thrived as an open economy which welcomes the global inflow of talents and ideas so as to constantly innovate and improve. If we are too risk-averse and only seek a guarantee of success, we will miss out on opportunities and new possibilities.

As recent as their Jan 1 press releaseon their website, Art Stage Singapore gave no indication of the possibility of cancelling their fair.

While we understand that this was a commercial decision, we are disappointed with the cancellation, and at such short notice at that - nine days before its planned opening. Naturally, exhibitors, partners and collectors who had planned to take part in the fair were impacted by this.

Nonetheless, we were heartened to see many local galleries, and the larger art community and beyond, come forward to support affected exhibitors - in particular, non-profit organisation Art Outreach, which organised The ARTery, the pop-up platform that showcased 14 galleries.

Our longstanding efforts to develop the art ecosystem in Singapore have established the vibrant and resilient visual arts sector we enjoy today - with diverse cultural institutions, non-profit groups, an active art community, and a growing marketplace.

Central to this success has been the close partnerships between public, private and people sectors to build capabilities as well as cultivate audiences and patrons - all backed by steady investment over the years.

Our arts calendar also includes year-round museum exhibitions, shows at art galleries and independent art spaces, as well as residencies and ground-up initiatives by artists and groups.

The National Arts Council, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and the Economic Development Board, will continue to raise awareness of Singapore's visual art offerings, and strengthen our home-grown capabilities for art market development.

We believe Singapore's visual arts scene is robust and well supported today.

Linda De Mello (Ms)

Director, Sector Development

(Visual Arts)

National Arts Council

Serene Tan (Ms)

Director, Arts and Cultural Precincts

Singapore Tourism Board

Cindy Koh (Ms)

Director, Consumer

Economic Development Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'Spore's visual arts scene robust, well supported'. Print Edition | Subscribe