Strong Arts Companies – The Bedrock of a Vibrant Singapore Arts Scene


The 2014 Major and Seed Grants will go towards strengthening arts companies and advancing their specialised programmes and capabilities


Singapore, 31 March 2014 – 59 arts organisations will receive Organisation Development support from the National Arts Council’s (NAC) Major and Seed Grants for Financial Year (FY) 2014. They comprise 36 companies receiving the Major Grant and 23 promising new or emerging companies who are receiving the Seed Grant.


2          $12.7 million is committed by the Council for the Major and Seed Grants in FY14, a 25% jump from $10.2 million in FY13. The funding reflects NAC’s firm support to ground the overall development and capabilities of our established arts companies, at the same time, develop a diverse pool of artistic talents to build the next generation of art makers.  


3          This year, 17 Major Grant recipients join the 19 arts companies who were awarded in FY13. Of these, 3 are first-time recipients of the Major Grant: Indian dance company and previous Seed Grant recipient, Apsaras Arts; wind band, the Singapore Wind Symphony; and theatre company, Checkpoint Theatre. 8 arts companies also join the 15 recipients who were awarded the Seed Grant in FY12 and FY13. These new recipients reflect the dynamic evolution of Singapore’s arts landscape as it continues to mature and diversify.


Meaningful Support for New Peaks of Excellence


4          The Major Grant recipients are established arts companies which range across art forms, many of whom are hallmarks of artistic excellence and recognised for their canon of works and distinctive strengths. The Major Grant scheme aims to help recipients sustain their development, so that they can deepen their unique artistic strengths and programmes. This includes companies like The Theatre Practice, Cake Theatrical Productions, The Arts Fission Company, T’ang Quartet and T.H.E Dance Company. Many Major Grant recipients are champions for the development of their art form and talent, through training, development and advocacy. With the strong Major Grant support, NAC aims for established arts companies like The Necessary Stage and the Singapore Dance Theatre to build on their mentorships programmes, local arts residences, as well as outreach and audience development platforms.


Building Arts Enablers


5          Critical to the arts industry are intermediaries. As arts enablers, they are an essential go-between and voice for smaller players seeking greater support in areas such as resources, knowledge platforms and networking sessions. Intermediaries include FY13 Major Grant recipient, the National Book Development Council of Singapore, which connects and spotlights local writers and publishers in Singapore and overseas while focusing on the developmental needs of the literary arts industry. Others include new Seed Grant recipient Musicians’ Guild, which aims to help address issues of sustained career and professional development for musicians.


Deepening Our Artistic Traditions and Cultural Identity


6          The traditional arts provide a shared experience and sense of who we are as Singaporeans. NAC sees the continued development and strengthening of traditional arts companies as crucial to the preservation of our cultural identity, values and heritage for our future generation. Major Grant recipient, Apsaras Arts’ Indian classical dance and Seed Grant recipient, Nam Hwa Opera’s Teochew opera programmes are rich cultural resources that continue to inspire culturally distinctive Singapore content.


Commitment to Diversity


7          A number of new groups have emerged, offering fresh artistic perspectives and ideas. Among the eight new Seed Grant recipients are groups such as Pangdemonium, which is recognised for its high production standards and vision to support young practitioners; Chowk, which aspires to push the vocabulary of Indian classical dance by re-imagining the Odissi dance form; OH! Open House, which has amassed significant public interest for offering bespoke art experiences in local neighbourhoods; Asian Contemporary Ensemble, which re-examines the definition of contemporary classical music; and Avant Theatre & Language, which produces innovative Tamil language theatrical works.  


8          Says Ms Kathy Lai, Chief Executive Officer, NAC, “We want to work together with practitioners and industry players. We also hope to build strong and healthy arts companies who are able to achieve their vision within a sustainable art-making environment. I believe the Grants will provide holistic support and augment organisational functions, anchor unique programmes and bolster capabilities; all of which are fundamental to grow Singapore’s diverse arts scene.”


About the Major Grant


9          The Major Grant is a 3-year scheme. This Organisational Development scheme aims to develop a pool of viable, professional arts organisations that are hallmarks of artistic excellence, and embraced by Singaporeans for their role in expressing Singapore’s cultural identity, values, heritage and aspirations.


10        17 new recipients join the 19 recipients that were awarded in FY13. All 36 companies will receive a total of $10.4 million for FY14, a 20% increase from FY13’s $8.7 million.



11        Please refer to Annex A for FY14’s list of new Major Grant recipients, respective funding allocations and comments from Assessment Panels.


About the Seed Grant


12        The Seed Grant provides annual funding support, of up to 3 years, to new or emerging groups. The scheme supports promising new or emerging not-for-profit arts organisations that have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, the talent and drive to realise their vision, and the commitment to establish themselves as professional, not-for-profit arts organisations. For new groups, the aim of the Seed Grant is to help kick-start their programmes and projects, and to formalise their operations. For groups still in their initial years of formation, the Seed Grant aims to help them move towards a more stable development as a professional, not-for-profit arts organisation.


13        8 new recipients join the 15 recipients that were awarded in FY12 and FY13.  All 23 recipients will receive a total of $2.3 million, a 44% increase from the FY13’s $1.6 million.



14        Please refer to Annex B for FY14’s list of new Seed Grant recipients, respective funding allocations and comments from Assessment Panels.


About the Major and Seed Grant Assessment Panel

15        Applications for the Major and Seed Grants were assessed by panels comprising specialists in their respective fields, appointed by the Council. Please refer to Annex C Applicants also had the opportunity to pitch their proposals to the panels. The panels make their recommendations to NAC who then makes the final decision on the outcome of the application and grant allocation.


16        The Major and Seed Grants are but part of the total assistance and investment by NAC in the arts. Other funding schemes include Creation, Production, Presentation and Participation, Capability, Research, as well as Market and Audience Development grants. NAC also provides assistance through scholarships, trainings, festivals and competitions, arts spaces, publications and other platforms that support arts development. Please refer to Annex D which illustrates the allocation of the FY14 Major and Seed Grants across art forms. Please refer to Annex E for full list of Major and Seed Grants recipients.