MICA, NAC and NHB jointly releases the Renaissance City Plan III
In February this year, Dr Lee Boon Yang, the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), launched the third phase of the Renaissance City Plan - Singapore's arts and cultural master plan for 2008 to 2015. Dr Lee announced that MICA would allocate $115 million over the next five years, or about $23 million a year, towards the three key areas of Distinctive Content, Dynamic Ecosystem and Engaged Community. MICA, the National Arts Council (NAC), and the National Heritage Board (NHB) have now jointly released a Renaissance City Plan III Public Report (RCP III), which incoporates the RCP III Arts Development Plan and the RCP III Heritage Development Plan, to provide further details to stakeholders and the public, of the Government's plans for Singapore's arts and cultural development.
2. RCP III is a total arts and cultural master plan, and it envisions Singapore in 2015 as the 'Best Home for Singaporeans' and an 'International Magnet for Talent', where arts and culture play a critical role in strengthening Singapore's liveability and distinctiveness as a nation, as well as endearing Singapore to Singaporeans, residents and visitors.Beyond new initiatives by MICA, NAC and NHB, RCP III also calls for a whole-of-government approach in business development, talent development and creating distinctive districts in the implementation of its three focus areas.
3. Content is at the core of arts and culture. As Singapore endeavours to become a global city, it will need to generate content that reflects its unique identity and context in Southeast Asia and the region. To achieve this objective, RCP III will introduce new Content Creation Funds to encourage greater Asian content creation in Singapore or by Singapore. In November this year, NAC launched a $3.5 million "Arts Creation Fund" to support the creation and incubation of new works over the next five years. In early 2009, NAC will be launching its "Artist Residency Scheme" to support foreign artists' residencies in Singapore as well as Singaporean artists' residencies abroad. The Scheme aims to position Singapore as a cultural centre and gateway for Asian arts, bringing arts professionals from Singapore, Asia and beyond together to exchange ideas and create collaborative works.
4. Distinctive Content also means developing strong cultural institutions that are centres of creation, research and exchange in Asian arts and heritage. MICA is developing the National Art Gallery at the former Supreme Court and City Hall buildings as a world-class museum with a focus on Southeast Asian art. The Gallery is expected to be ready in 2013. Besides the National Art Gallery, MICA also plans to refurbish Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall as part of a broader plan to better synergise and promote cultural institutions in the Empress Place Historic Cluster. The Theatre and Concert Hall will see the upgrading of facilities and equipment, as well as the enhancement of existing space to accommodate rehearsal needs and more commercial activities.
5. Beyond strong institutions, Distinctive Content further means developing unique cultural destinations that appeal to Singaporeans as well as visitors to our shore. MICA, NAC and NHB is exploring a partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to develop and promote the culturally rich and historically significant Singapore Civic District as a major cultural and entertainment destination. Preliminary ideas include programming more street-level activities as well as improving the "walkability" of the district, in order to enhance the overall buzz, activity and visitor experience.
6. To extract maximum value from content, there is a need to develop a total ecosystem of businesses, talent and specialised supporting services. RCP III will introduce industry seed funding schemes to support the development of local arts businesses. NHB's "Heritage Industry Incentive Programme" (HI2P), launched in September this year, will invest $8 million over the next five years to develop the emerging heritage sector. The programme will provide seed funding support for businesses, private museums and other private players in the heritage industry.
7. Beyond seed funding initiatives, MICA, NAC and NHB will also partner the Economic Development Board (EDB) to grow the base of auction houses, galleries and specialised arts services such as storage, logistics, and professional conservation services in Singapore. The objective is to serve growing regional demand, reap economic returns, as well as create new jobs in highly specialised arts services.
8. Space continues to be a primary need of the arts and cultural sector. NAC is currently reviewing its "Arts Housing Scheme" to explore the introduction of new elements, such as studios and rehearsal spaces, that support the incubation of new works and nurturing of emerging talent. NAC also plans to extend Arts Housing to other players in the arts ecosystem such as private arts businesses and specialised arts services, in order to create clusters of arts organisations, talent, businesses and supporting services across the entire value chain. Currently, the total Gross Floor Area of Arts Housing properties stands at 33,000 square metres, or approximately five soccer fields. Come 2010, when the School of the Arts, Singapore vacates its current interim campus at Goodman Road, the premises will be turned into an additional 15,000 square metres of arts housing space, equivalent to about two soccer fields in space.
9. An ecosystem is incomplete without a strong audience base - a community actively participating and engaging in arts and culture, which is deeply rooted in their heritage.NAC launched its "Arts for All" Community Engagement Plan in October, investing $5 million over the next five years to broaden and deepen arts engagement. A highlight of the plan is anew Community Participation Grant, which encourages the community to partner professional artists in developing community arts projects and events.
10. Engagement also means a willingness to give to arts and culture.In 2008, significant contributions were provided to arts and culture.These include a $12 million donation by Ngee Ann Kongsi to the School of the Arts, Singapore, as well as the donation of $66 million worth of art by renowned artist Wu Guanzhong to the Singapore Art Museum.Beyond such significant donations, MICA aims to encourage greater giving in all forms and sizes - whether in terms of funds, in-kind support, or time - to the arts and culture sector, especially in light of the current economic climate, and more importantly, to cultivate a spirit of giving amongst Singaporeans.
11. Finally, to be engaged is to be informed.Together with the RCP III Public Report, MICA, NAC, NHB and the National Library Board (NLB) are releasing an inaugural annual Singapore Cultural Statistics Report that provides a detailed statistical analysis of the growth of the cultural sector in the last five years.The arts and cultural sector's growth has been healthy, and the private sector and the community are crucial partners as Singapore continues this healthy growth towards achieving the vision of Singapore in 2015.
Jointly Issued by:
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS,
THE NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL AND
THE NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD
29 DECEMBER 2008
 Comprises institutions and attractions centred around the Padang i.e. Esplanade, Empress Place (Victoria Theatre & Concert hall, Old Parliament House, the Asian Civilisations Museum), future National Art Gallery (working title), flanked by National Museum, Singapore Art Museum and arts colleges at Fort Canning and Bras Basah. Also consists of the historically significant Singapore River (Boat Quay and Clarke Quay) district.