Strong attendance, interest in arts events: Survey

More than 50 per cent of Singaporeans have been attending arts events - the highest level since 2005 with the exception of 2015.
More than 50 per cent of Singaporeans have been attending arts events - the highest level since 2005 with the exception of 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

More than half of Singaporeans have been attending arts events - the highest level since 2005 with the exception of 2015, according to a survey commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC).

A total of 2,023 Singaporeans and permanent residents were interviewed between January and March this year for the survey, which was released yesterday.

According to the 2017 National Population Survey on the Arts, 54 per cent of Singaporeans attended arts events, while 22 per cent took part in arts activities.

Both figures are the highest on record since 2005 - excluding 2015 when there was a surge in arts events to celebrate Singapore's 50th year of independence (SG50).

Of those surveyed, 37 per cent expressed interest in the arts - the highest percentage in the last decade, again excluding 2015.

But there is still a gap between sustained interest in the arts and attendance of arts events.

There was a 17 percentage point difference between interest and attendance - a wider gap than in 2011 and 2013, which both had a 12 percentage point difference.

NAC said that this highlights the need to heighten and deepen Singaporeans' interest in the arts and encourage more works that are relevant and accessible to their audiences.

Among the respondents, 46 per cent did not attend arts events, citing a lack of time as a key reason. Nearly 30 per cent of them noted that they would be more likely to do so if there were arts and cultural events near where they lived or worked.

Of all the demographics, students aged 15 to 24 were most involved in the arts. Nearly 70 per cent of them attended at least one arts and cultural event or activity over the past year - as opposed to just a third of those aged 65 and above.

"It is encouraging to note that the majority of Singaporeans continue to appreciate the value of the arts, especially in terms of enhancing their understanding of the richness and diversity of our society," said NAC's chief executive Rosa Daniel.

"However, more still needs to be done to grow Singaporeans' interest in the arts and culture, and to sustain arts attendance and participation. We hope the findings in the survey will provide insights for our artists and arts groups to create and present more works which are accessible and relatable to Singaporeans."

She added: "NAC will also continue to focus our efforts in audience development and engagement so that more Singaporeans can come together to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the arts."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2018, with the headline 'Strong attendance, interest in arts events: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe