• Why is state funding needed for our arts scene to thrive?



    In 2015, according to the Singapore Cultural Statistics report, 80 per cent of arts and heritage funding in Singapore, or $595.7 million, was provided by the Government through state agencies such as the National Arts Council (NAC).

    In the 2015/2016 financial year, for instance, $70.9 million was disbursed through the Grants Framework and $7.4 million through the Arts Housing Scheme, which was implemented in 1985 to provide affordable spaces to arts groups and artists.

    Some might argue that the "survival of the fittest" approach should be applied to the arts as well - that it should be left to the free market to determine which arts groups thrive based on the quality of their output.

    It is a universally acknowledged truth that a country in possession of a First World reputation must also have a thriving arts scene.

    But when it comes to paying for the arts, people are less quick to reach for the bill. And lately, the dreary economic climate means an increasing reluctance to open wallets.

    The arts - which comprise theatre, dance, traditional arts, visual arts, music and literature - in Singapore are mainly funded by the state, unlike in other countries such as the United States, where they are largely supported through private donors and foundations.

    Read the full article at straitstimes.com
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Godspeed64's Avatar
      Godspeed64 -
      Imagine how destructive our Stop at Two Policy has been, in fact spilling over behaviourally way past the campaign expiration date. Same with China's One Child Policy.

      During a time where Singapore's music scene was booming, the Yellow Culture movement meant live music was banned. Could that be a catalyst in stifling local music? It made it culturally inappropriate, perpogating a stigma towards being involved in music. It feels like the state had a hand in destroying it once, and the echoes of such a Policy is still being felt today.

      What about the scene we have crafted for ourselves? We pay bar bands to play cover music, but you get ONE night in a bar for originals (if any), and it's free most times. Unpaid gigs. For years we've had pay to play gigs, sometimes to cover your own ticket cost and there was once I even paid to play a free gig. Wtf? The infrastructure is in place to denounce music, and in fact I think the government should do more.

      I remember recording once and the producer said, "Ah wth let's do this. You guys aren't doing this for radio anyways right?". What on earth is radio music, if it's not something you create for yourself. Imagine if we are like Indonesia, Philippines, or Japan. Local music is the norm. It permeates because their radio stations choose to play them. Instead, we got one sole station that was shut down. We have sick musicians doing crazy novel work, playing unpaid gigs, having unaired songs, but destroying it on Spotify.

      My two cents.
    1. soft's Avatar
      soft -
      I believe the government has done much to promote music in the last 15 years, starting with the Esplanade. Suddenly, there's a good venue where local musicians can showcase their music. Correct me but I understand that the musicians are given an allowance too.

      There are also other venues such as *Scape , Aliwal Arts Centre and Substation which are all subsided by the government.

      The government has been giving out grants to musicians to pursue educations, workshops, festivals and funding for music production.

      If we say that we are in this current state because of what the government has done previously, do we then want them to continue doing any more for us? Or let the market force decide?