Resource centre for freelancers, more public art planned

Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng yesterday announced plans for a resource centre to support arts freelancers, the launch of a website to promote Singapore music, and that more public art installations would be commissioned under the Public Art Trust initiative.

Speaking during the debate on his ministry's budget, he said that to set an example for those hiring arts freelancers, the National Arts Council (NAC) and National Heritage Board will adopt the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) Tripartite Standard For Contracting Self-Employed Persons. These guidelines on best practices for engaging freelance services were launched this week, during the debate on the MOM's budget.

However, the arts council would not be able to mediate disputes over payment between other hirers and arts and culture freelancers, including those hirers who might receive funds from the NAC, he said.

Mr Baey was responding to queries from Mr Ang Hin Kee (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Nominated MP Kok Heng Leun.

He explained that the NAC could not intervene because it would not be directly engaged in the contracts with freelancers. "We definitely will encourage our vendors to respect freelancers and to also adopt the measures that we have," he said.

He also said that a national resource centre would be set up to support and train arts freelancers. It would provide resources and services for career development and also perhaps mediate disputes.

No target date was given for when the centre, which will also be online, would open.

With respect to developing the arts sector, next month, the arts council will launch a new website, Hear65, to promote local music. Users can stream music from Singaporean artists such as Gentle Bones and Kit Chan, and also access crowdsourced reviews.

Also, the Public Art Trust will commission two new signature works of art in community spaces to commemorate Singapore's bicentennial next year. Thereafter, one signature work of public art will be commissioned each year.

The trust, established by the NAC in 2014, aims to make art a part of the urban landscape and to increase public engagement with artworks.

In his speech, Mr Baey also said that more than 30 sites have been secured for future public art installations, including in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Clementi and Woodlands.

The list of sites will be released in the middle of this year and artists are encouraged to submit proposals for site-specific work through the Public Art Trust website at www.publicarttrust.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2018, with the headline 'Resource centre for freelancers, more public art planned'. Print Edition | Subscribe