A gritty industrial park may not seem a natural location as a venue for art, but the Tanjong Pagar Distripark has long been home to art businesses and galleries. The recent announcement that the National Arts Council (NAC) is planning to develop a multidisciplinary arts cluster is an overdue acknowledgement of the organic place-making that has already happened there.
Building arts clusters is a dicey business, as the authorities have learnt over the years. Gillman Barracks, launched with much fanfare in 2012, was a top-down project initiated by the NAC, Economic Development Board and JTC Corporation. Despite a starry line-up of power galleries, the development has struggled with low footfall and complaints about a lack of amenities.