New insights into Singapore’s current local arts community have been revealed by the latest Population Survey on the Arts from the National Arts Council (NAC).
2021 saw Singaporeans being hit with many safety measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the local arts scene being severely impacted. Performances with live audiences were halted to control the spread of COVID-19, especially during heightened alert phases. To adapt to the ever-evolving measures and continue to bring new content to their fans and audiences, artists turned to digital methods such as virtual concerts and presenting their creative works on online platforms.
80% of Singaporeans also expressed a sense of pride in the local arts scene
Now that we are nearing the end of 2022, there has been an influx of local arts events this year due to considerably relaxed measures since the start of the pandemic and Singaporeans being thrilled at the opportunity to be part of physical arts and culture events again. Following this, it is important to note that 80% of Singaporeans also expressed a sense of pride in the local arts scene.
In a biennial population survey, NAC has reported the critical findings of Singaporeans' perspective of the local arts scene, which includes increased support for the local arts community amidst COVID-19, changing arts consumption patterns, and the enhancement of well-being and social compact due to the relevance of the arts.
Support for local artists
Evidently, we've all felt the effects of the pandemic on our local arts scene. However, 71% of respondents affirmed that the arts do contribute to Singapore’s economy, which is a four-percentage point increase from 2019. 47% stated a continued interest in the arts and culture content and additionally, 40% desired to support local artists. Presently, with Singapore's art scene coming back to life, 60% of respondents also expressed their intention to increase or maintain their current levels of attendance at arts and culture events.
47% stated a continued interest in the arts and culture content and additionally, 40% desired to support local artists
Although the survey does see a five-percentage point decrease in respondents' perception when it comes to the vibrancy of the local arts scene in the past five years, 69% of Singaporeans agreed that there are sufficient opportunities to nurture young Singaporean artistic talents, which is a four-percentage point increase from 2019.
Since the easing of safety measures, Singaporeans have been presented with opportunities to support local artists at the Our Cultural Medallion Story showcase and the forthcoming show of the Singapore Pavilion where avid fans can get acquainted with artist Shubigi Rao and curator Ute Meta Bauer, who represented Singapore at this year's Biennale Arte.
Shifting consumption trends
With COVID-19 halting all occurences of live events, consumers of the local arts scene have since adapted to the arts and culture related content that artists have released online instead.
71% of respondents shared that they consume arts digitally
71% of respondents shared that they consume arts digitally, with more than four in five digital arts consumers stating that they will continue to do so in the next 12 months. Notably, two in five of digital arts consumers also paid for digital arts experiences in the past 12 months.
Arts' impact on well-being and society
Arts and culture have been an integral part many lives even before the pandemic began. But it's in times of crisis like this where we find ourselves relying even more on the comfort and solace that it offers.
35% of attendees stated that the events enhance their well-being by helping them to relax, which is a notable 10-percentage point increase. 51% of participants have also shared that they enjoy the arts and culture activities.
35% of attendees stated that the events enhance their well-being by helping them to relax
Survey findings also show that with a deeper understanding of the arts, greater receptivity and interest can be created. By first reading a preamble that touched on topics such as music streaming and TikTok dance challenges, 11% of respondents showed greater interest in the arts after being pre-exposed to the ways that arts can be presented. This could point towards greater success for future advocacy endeavours in the local arts scene.
47% of those surveyed expressed their wishes for such activities to be held closer to them in heartland precincts
As with many other events, convenience and accessibility are key factors of the attendance rate for arts and culture events and activities. 47% of those surveyed expressed their wishes for such activities to be held closer to them in heartland precincts. Organizers are aware of this and Singaporeans can look forward to upcoming opportunities to encounter and engage with live arts events in their own everyday spaces.
Lynette Pang, Deputy Chief Executive (Planning and Corporate Development), NAC, added, “It is encouraging to witness the pride and appreciation that Singaporeans have for the arts scene, recognising the value of the arts in contributing to our well-being and to the creative economy.
She continued: "The 2021 results affirm our strategic directions for the upcoming launch of Our SG Arts Plan (2023-2027), after extensive engagements since 2021 with many stakeholders. We will continue collaborating with the arts community and partners from the People, Public and Private sectors to advocate the role of the arts in building a connected society, enhance vibrancy of arts offerings to make Singapore a distinctive city and create opportunities to establish a creative economy known locally and internationally.”