More heading for arts events

Non-ticketed events are drawing more artsgoers while public arts engagement has grown

Attendance at arts events here has grown in the past year, mainly buoyed by higher non-ticketed event attendance, according to the 2015 Singapore Cultural Statistics report released yesterday.

While non-ticketed attendance at arts events climbed to 2.8 million last year, up from 2 million in 2013, ticketed attendance hovered at about 1.9 million, same as the previous year.

The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, which issued the report, attributed this to "more small-scale productions being staged, in addition to a few blockbusters".

Public arts engagement has also taken off, with community interest registering the sharpest increases last year.

Membership in performing arts interest groups jumped to 36,766 last year, up from 24,767 in 2013. Among this, dance and vocal groups saw the greatest spike.

Visitorship to national museums and heritage institutions slipped to 2.97 million last year, a slight drop from 3.21 million the year before, due to the closure of the Asian Civilisations Museum and National Museum of Singapore for revamps.

The Singapore Night Festival is largely non-ticketed and caters to people in different age groups. PHOTO: ST FILE

Physical visitorship to the libraries also continued to decline, falling to 25.8 million last year, marking a downward trend from a 38.7 million peak in 2009.

But digital visitorship to the National Library Board's websites rose to 12.1 million, from 5.8 million during the same period.

Arts education and employment numbers are up as well, signalling the growth of Singapore's arts scene. Overall, tertiary arts courses enrolment here edged up to 5,504, up from 5,409 in 2013, while total employment in the arts and cultural sector rose to 27,436, up from 25,329 during the same period.

Regular artsgoer Au Yeong Yeen Seen, 26, who has attended at least five arts events this year, notes that they are "catered to a wider demographic now".

Adds the senior associate at the Singapore Exchange: "I notice that activities at arts events, such as the Singapore Night Festival, are more family-friendly. You see kids running around and there are also heritage tours which draw all kinds of people."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2015, with the headline 'More heading for arts events'. Subscribe