Forum: Arts groups could use more funding help in this crucial period

I express my heartfelt thanks to the Government for the top-up of $150 million to the Cultural Matching Fund, which will be extended for another three years (Boost for charities with $100m top-up to Enhanced Fund-Raising Programme, Feb 19).

The fund provides dollar-for-dollar matching for private cash donations made to eligible arts and heritage charities.

In times of crisis, the arts is often the first sector to experience funding cuts. In Singapore, however, the arts and culture sector received more funding, to help improve skills and ease expenses amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

I am heartened by this move and the strong emphasis on our vibrant arts scene in Singapore.

I hope arts groups and artists can tap the Cultural Matching Fund to build their capabilities, so as to be self-sustained and well prepared for the concert season to come in the new normal.

They can explore options such as upskilling and upscaling digital capabilities, such as online marketing and programming, to share, spread and sell works.

The funding can be used to help arts companies pick up necessary competencies in digital content strategy, search engine optimisation, online syndication and licensing.

Instead of matching donations dollar-for-dollar through the Cultural Matching Fund, could the Government consider doubling the amounts? This would encourage more fund-raising efforts by arts groups.

This is a crucial period for all arts groups - with the sudden cancellations and postponement of shows, arts groups are expecting to experience a deficit.

Could the Government also consider more funding for project and production grants, so as to help arts groups work on recovery plans to bring back audiences and call back artistes for future performances?

More help is definitely needed to assure audiences that the show will go on.

I believe that there is a need to plot a post-Covid-19 recovery route for all arts groups. It is crucial to make the arts vibrant and accessible to the public again.

Terence Ho Wee San

Executive Director

Singapore Chinese Orchestra

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