Record 13.6 million attended art and cultural events in 2018

Members of famous Argentinian troupe Fuerza Bruta interact with audience members at the 2019 Singapore Night Festival.
Members of famous Argentinian troupe Fuerza Bruta interact with audience members at the 2019 Singapore Night Festival.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Attendance at arts and culture events hit a record 13.6 million in 2018, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) noted on Thursday (Jan 16).

Non-ticketed attendance was at an all-time high of more than 11.4 million, up 0.9 per cent from 2017.

Ticketed attendance was around 2.2 million, up 15.8 per cent and the highest level since 2012.

More details will be released later this month.

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu addressed concerns that the arts calendar is saturated.

"We always analyse whether (each of our programmes is) effective in achieving our goals, and whether it's done in a cost-effective way. We are very mindful that it's not just (about) headline numbers." Ms Fu said during the MCCY's Year-in-Review event on Thursday (Jan 16).

"I must also explain why some of these major events are important. For example, Singapore Art Week (SAW) is an important way for us to bring artwork (of) Singaporeans to major collectors from the region and across the world.

"For us to attract them to come to Singapore, we need to line up sufficient programmes that will keep them occupied for several days."

The MCCY later said in a statement: "We seek to develop a vibrant arts scene with a diverse year-long calendar of activities. Such a calendar caters to a diversity of audiences, provides richer experiences for audiences, and more opportunities for artists and arts groups.

"We encourage all our arts groups to present their own programmes, and over the years, Singapore's vibrant arts scene has seen more independent and ground-up initiatives led by community partners and arts organisations, adding to the offerings of our cultural institutions."

Singapore Art Week, which runs until Sunday, has more than 100 events, with around 85 per cent initiated by arts organisations, artists and businesses.

"Beyond their own programming, smaller arts groups benefit from being invited to larger presentation platforms, which profile them to local and international audiences through concerted marketing and communication strategies," the MCCY added.

Meanwhile, attendance at the annual Silver Arts festival, which encourages seniors to engage with the arts, has also increased. The National Arts Council-organised festival attracted more than 45,000 people last year (2019), up from about 33,000 in 2015.