New $10m fund for public artwork

This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 12, 2014 

From housing estates to Changi Airport, more public art will transform Singapore's cityscape as a result of the setting up of the Public Art Trust.

It will commission, display, promote and maintain new public artworks, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said yesterday when he announced the initiative at the debate on his ministry's budget.

To start the ball rolling, his ministry will give it $10 million in seed funding.

"The trust will give more opportunities for artists, especially Singaporean artists, to integrate their work into the built environment," Mr Wong said.

Private donations given to the trust will be matched by the Government dollar-for-dollar under the $200 million Cultural Matching Fund.

The trust will not fund the maintenance of existing artwork. But it will pay for the maintenance of the artwork it commissions.

Detailed plans and budgets for maintenance must be submitted when applying to the trust.

Singaporean sculptor Yeo Chee Kiong, 44, who has created several pieces of public artwork, feels the trust is a step in the right direction.

"For sculptures, especially if you want something that is more long-lasting, the choice of material and method of production is very important," he said. "If you choose the right material to deliver an idea, there might be fewer problems with maintenance.

"But you might be limited by the materials that you can use outdoors. It is something we need to think about, especially for artists who never deal with public art."

The National Arts Council will consult the public on the features of the trust before finalising the scheme by year's end.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on March 12, 2014

To subscribe to The Straits Times, please go to