Singapore, 7 April 2020 – As part of the Resilience Budget announced by DPM on 26 March 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will invest $55 million through an Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP). This seeks to protect the ecosystem, provide support and opportunities for arts and culture organisations and professionals, as well as develop longer-term capabilities for the post-COVID-19 recovery. It will promote the preparation of our arts and culture sector to seize the opportunities that will be available when the current situation improves. The ACRP is in addition to the $1.6 million announced at MCCY’s Committee of Supply debate on 6 March 2020.
2 Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said, “Since the onset of COVID-19, we have heard many calls for help from the arts and culture sector. They are worried about their livelihoods and careers, as all events and activities have been cancelled or postponed. That is why the Government came up with the Resilience Budget, to support workers, stabilise businesses, and build economic and social resilience in these unprecedented challenging times.”
3 “As part of this budget, we have set aside $55 million for the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP). This will protect livelihoods, defray costs, enhance capabilities, and encourage innovative digital presentations of artworks. It will also help our arts and culture practitioners continue to inspire and uplift us during this time, and prepare themselves well for the recovery. These ACRP measures will provide some immediate relief for our arts and culture practitioners, and allow them to use this period – when they are working from home – to plan for the future with greater assurance and certainty”, Minister Fu added.
The Arts and Culture Resilience Package
4 The ACRP comprises four components:
- [Enhanced] Jobs Support Scheme for major companies and leading arts groups;
- [Enhanced] Rental waivers for tenants on MCCY-owned properties.
- [Enhanced] Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (CDSA); and
- [New] Digitalisation Fund (DF).
[Enhanced] Jobs support
5 The measures to support businesses announced by DPM will apply to arts and culture companies. The government will co-fund 25% on the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages of each local employee on their Central Provident Fund (CPF) payroll for nine months. This level of support will be increased to 75% for the month of April, in view of the heightened measures. All arts and culture organisations which are employers and who pay CPF contributions, will be eligible under this broad-based Job Support Scheme administered by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
6 MCCY will announce additional jobs support for major companies, as well as other leading arts groups, at a later date.
[Enhanced] Rental waivers for tenants on MCCY-owned properties
7 Eligible tenants, including commercial retail, F&B tenants, Volunteer Welfare Organisations, Social Service Agencies, and Registered Charities on MCCY-owned properties, will receive two months of rental waivers under ACRP. In addition, all non-residential tenants on government-owned properties who do not qualify for the two months of waiver will receive 1 month of rental waiver. This will benefit over 300 tenants, who will be informed directly by their respective landlords of their eligibility.
[Enhanced] Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (CDSA)
8 At COS 2020, MCCY announced that NAC will provide a one-time CDSA grant for eligible arts organisations and individuals to encourage upskilling and grow organisational capabilities. Under the ACRP, the CDSA will be enhanced to raise the maximum funding quantum for organisations and SEPs, and cover a wider group of Self-Employed Persons. This will cover course fees as well as absentee payroll or training allowance of $10 per hour (up from $7.50 per hour). For the period from now until 4 May 2020 (inclusive), applicants should only attend online courses. Up to 200 companies and 6,000 practitioners will benefit from this scheme for their training:
- NAC’s Major Companies and Seed Grant Companies (MCSG) can apply for up to $20,000 (up from $10,000);
- Other arts and culture organisations and companies can apply for up to $6,000 (up from $3,000); and
- Individuals can also apply for up to $1,000 (up from $600).
9 CDSA can support a wide range of courses, including those available online, in areas such as digital technology, entrepreneurship, audience engagement and art-form training. NAC will continue to provide suggestions to arts professionals on training programmes, and point them to how they can tap on CDSA to attend courses in areas relevant to their work. Such courses can include those by our major arts companies and established professionals who are willing to share their skills and expertise with their community.
10 The CDSA will complement broad-based schemes like the Enhanced Absentee Payroll and Course Fee Support for the Arts and Culture Sector, and the Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) Training Support Scheme. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), together with NAC, will curate a list of sector-specific training courses in collaboration with training providers to roll out courses for employees in the larger Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector. While some of the courses will not be available online, arts and culture organisations and companies, their employees, as well as individual practitioners, can use this time to plan their future training, and apply for the CDSA.
[New] Digitalisation Fund (DF)
11 MCCY and its agencies will support arts and culture organisations and practitioners’ efforts to enhance the digitalisation of their work, and create new experiences for Singaporeans. The new DF will comprise:
- Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts (DPG), administered by NAC, to support the presentation of new or existing work from May 2020 onwards by arts groups and practitioners, including SEPs, in digital form or via digital medium. Successful applicants can receive up to $20,000 per project. NAC welcomes proposals which include creative means to develop digital projects while fully working from home. Arts and culture organisations and practitioners can also submit proposals now, for future projects;
- Commissioned Work and Partnerships, to support large-scale projects such as the digital presentation of key festivals and events like the Singapore Heritage Festival, Arts in Your Neighbourhood, Singapore Writers Festival, and Singapore Art Week; and
- Museums digitalisation, to make exhibitions and collections accessible through virtual platforms.
12 The new digital projects will lead to the creation of more opportunities in and beyond the arts and culture sector, while also enabling art groups and practitioners, including museums, to reach out to new audiences. Over time, it will increase the digital engagement capabilities of the sector and improve the audience experience. The Digitalisation Fund will support over 200 new digital projects, and create more than 1,000 opportunities for practitioners.
13 Digital arts and culture offerings to engage Singaporeans and provide enjoyment for the entire family are already available at NAC’s A-List website, a one-stop portal for cultural events. This will be regularly updated to include new content being made available online. Interested audiences can visit a-list.sg.
14 Further details of the above measures will be communicated by NAC and NHB.