SINGAPORE: About S$1.6 million will be set aside for the arts and culture sector as part of support for the community amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and to prepare the sector for “post-disease recovery”, announced Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng on Friday (Mar 6).
“We want cultural performances to continue during this time as the arts inspire us and lift our spirits, as long as necessary precautions are in place. This is what MCCY (Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth) agencies and institutions – including NAC (National Arts Council), NHB (National Heritage Board) and PA (People’s Association) – will commit to, where possible,” he said in his Committee of Supply speech.
“We also want to encourage arts and culture practitioners to take this opportunity to develop their capabilities and better position themselves for the future.”
Part of the S$1.6 million will include a subsidy of 30 per cent for venue rental and associated costs for arts and culture activities from Mar 7 to Jun 30.
This will be applicable at national cultural institutions such as the Esplanade, Arts House Limited venues and the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.
In addition, the National Arts Council will provide a one-time, enhanced capability development grant for individuals and arts organisations.
The aim of this grant, which will open to applications from Mar 16, is to promote upskilling and organisational capability development, said Mr Baey.
These two initiatives are part of the Stabilisation and Support Package announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget speech. The package was introduced to help stabilise the economy amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Arts groups and practitioners, including those who enjoy subsidised rentals under NAC’s arts housing scheme, can benefit from both initiatives,” said Mr Baey.
The Package includes a training support scheme for self-employed persons, who will be paid S$7.50 per hour as training allowance when attending eligible programmes.
NAC will continue working with SkillsFuture Singapore to curate arts and culture courses for arts freelancers to complement existing initiatives like the Arts Resource Hub.
“We encourage all eligible arts and culture professionals to tap on the available measures, including subscribing to the Arts Resource Hub, which is free, and prepare themselves for the post-COVID-19 upturn … We encourage arts practitioners to support one another during this time,” Mr Baey said.