National Arts Council Establishes New Company to Lead the Singapore Arts Festival


The National Arts Council (NAC) announced the formation of Arts Festival Limited, a new arts company set up to organise and manage the Singapore Arts Festival. The company will be led by Ms Lee Chor Lin as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). At the same time, Mr Ong Keng Sen will be appointed its first Festival Director (FD).


2               This decision follows from the recommendations made by the Singapore Arts Festival Review Committee earlier in January 2013. NAC recognises and supports the Committee’s proposal for the industry to take the lead in organising the festival. The Council is forming the company to enable the Festival to develop an identity of its own. This also creates greater clarity of the Festival’s direction and accountability for its outcomes. The Council is currently in the process of setting up the company as a Company Limited by Guarantee governed by an independent Board.


3          Says Mr Benson Puah, CEO, NAC, “Establishing a new company will provide the independence the Festival seeks, as well as deepen the artistic and management capabilities already present within Singapore’s maturing arts scene. I wish this new company every success and am looking forward to a re-energised Festival.”


4               On the appointments, he adds, “Chor Lin has led the National Museum of Singapore admirably over the past 10 years. Under her guidance, the museum constantly sought cutting edge ways of presenting history and culture, redefining the museum experience in Singapore. Her strong leadership acumen and networks across people, public and private sectors are qualities that will serve her well as she helms the Festival company. We are extremely pleased to have Keng Sen, a Cultural Medallion awardee, as the first Festival Director. He is very well connected with artists both locally and internationally, has a deep understanding of Singapore’s arts and cultural scene, and vast experience as an Artistic Director in developing work and curating a diverse range of festivals. Together as a team, I believe the company is well-positioned to take the Singapore Arts Festival to the next level.”


5               As CEO, Ms Lee will lead this new company in its mission to organise and develop the annual Singapore Arts Festival as the pinnacle platform to inspire diverse audiences with great artistic experiences. She will start on 1 July 2013. Mr Ong, who will join the company on 16 June 2013, will be responsible for the artistic vision and direction of the Festival. Due to the time constraints leading up to the Festival in 2014, Mr Ong will be appointed for four editions of the Festival to enable his full artistic intent and vision to be realised starting 2015. Subsequent appointments for the role will be for three editions.


6               Please refer to the Appendix for the bios of Ms Lee and Mr Ong.