The upcoming University of the Arts Singapore marks a milestone for Singapore's arts scene. Due to open in August 2024, the new institution is formed by an alliance between the Lasalle College of the Arts and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and will confer degrees in the arts. This plugs one gap at the tertiary level for the arts. While there is good reason to celebrate its coming into being, this is but just one part of an ecosystem that still needs work. Literally.
The pandemic has exacted a terrible cost on the livelihoods of arts practitioners. When theatres closed, everyone from behind-the-scenes workers to onstage performers found their income streams drying up overnight. Despite generous government subsidies, many workers have pivoted to other industries and a fair number are unlikely to return even as theatres now reopen. The past two years have been a painful lesson in the financial precarity of arts careers. Young talents who witnessed this hard truth may not be as willing to plunge headlong into this arts world.