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Enhanced Arts and Culture Resilience Package announced by Minister MCCY at Budget 2021
On 8 March 2021, Minister Edwin Tong announced a new $20M enhancement to the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) to enable continued support for arts groups and artists, as live performances and other cultural activities gradually resume, bringing the total Covid-19 support for arts and culture sector to $75M.
The enhancement will cover the following new grants and extensions to existing schemes:
- [New] Self-Employed Person (SEP) Grant for arts and culture freelancers to collaborate on projects
Arts and culture freelancers stand to benefit from a new SEP Grant (up to $50,000 per project). This project-based support will complement other broad-based support measures, such as the COVID-19 Recovery Grant.
[New] Business Transformation Fund (BTF)
The BTF aims to support the transformation of arts and culture organisations to be more efficient and sustainable. There are two tracks to this Fund:
Track 1: Business Transformation Grant
A new Business Transformation Grant (BTG) will be introduced to support grounds-up interests by arts organisations to support both the digital and non-digital aspects of business transformation. The BTG also encourages arts and culture organisations to come together to address common pain points and/or co-create solutions. The BTG will provide a grant quantum of up to $30,000 per project for company-specific business transformation efforts, and up to $200,000 per project for co-solutioning projects involving multiple arts organisations, or for projects with potential for wider industry spin-offs.
Track 2: Commissions and Partnerships
MCCY and NAC will also proactively commission or work with suitable partners to co-create business transformation solutions to be piloted for the arts and culture sector.
In the coming weeks, NAC will be engaging arts and culture stakeholders on their views to scope both the SEP Grant and the BTG, and ensure that the grants are able to meet the needs of the sector. NAC aims to launch both grants by June 2021. More details on the engagements and timeline will be shared on NAC’s website in due course.
Extension of the ACRP Operating Grant
To help key organisations in the arts and related sectors defray their operating costs, a second tranche of the ACRP Operating Grant will be introduced. As more economic activities have resumed, a second tranche of the ACRP Operating Grant of $35,000 per organisation will be provided, following the first tranche of $50,000 or $75,000.
The same eligibility criteria for the existing ACRP Operating Grant as the first tranche will apply. NAC and the co-administering agencies (the National Heritage Board and DesignSingapore Council) will reach out directly to eligible organisations to notify them about the second tranche of the Operating Grant in March 2021.
For more information, please click here.
Extension of the venue hire subsidy
MCCY will extend the 80% venue hire subsidy for another 3 months (i.e., April to June 2021). Any extension beyond June will be reviewed subsequently, taking into account the prevailing national situation.
In addition to venues that were announced previously, MCCY will expand the subsidy to more venues. Participating organisations will communicate details of how arts and culture stakeholders can benefit from the extended subsidy, after COS.
In addition to support under the enhanced ACRP, qualifying arts and culture organisations (qualified under Tier 2 support) will also benefit from the extension of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) at 10% for the months of April – June 2021. This represents a further extension from the 17-month support already given in the earlier budgets in 2020.
Since April 2020, through support of the ACRP, NAC has:
To-date, over 12,000 job and training opportunities have been committed for the ACRP. This includes the Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (CDSA), the Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts (DPG), and NAC-commissioned works and partnerships under the Digitalisation Fund.
NAC Emerging Stronger Conversations with the Arts Community
In June 2019, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat launched the Singapore Together movement, signaling a shift towards a Public Service that works together with citizens on goals and aspirations for Singapore. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the arts industry in Singapore greatly. With the Singapore Together movement, there is added impetus for the arts community to have conversations to learn from each other, and re-think how we can move forward. As Singapore and the arts sector slowly begin to re-open in a safe and calibrated manner, this crisis of our generation presents an opportunity for the sector to come together and reflect on what we have learnt, reimagine a future for the arts that we desire, and emerge stronger.
On 1 Dec 2020, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong hosted the Emerging Stronger Conversation with the arts community, including stakeholders such as arts companies, representatives from our cultural institutions and partners from the technology/digital sector. During the session, the arts community discussed how the future of arts would look like in the new normal, and how the sector and government can work together to progress effectively in the post-pandemic world for a “better” normal. The key points from the discussion were:
- Digitalisation needs to be an innovative and collaborative effort
With COVID-19, digital and blended presentations have become the way forward, providing new ways of experiencing the arts for audiences. The digital space has provided both opportunities and challenges for local arts groups. The online space has helped arts groups transcend physical boundaries to reach audiences, particularly during the Circuit Breaker period when many free programmes were offered to the public. However, there is a need to rethink arts business models for arts and culture offerings to be presented to audiences in a sustainable manner, such as monetising digital works and the protection of intellectual property in the digital space. Arts groups would also need to build their capabilities to increase the production quality of their digital works, and to be innovative in finding new modes where digital formats can complement and enrich physical arts offerings for audiences. Collaboration between the partners in arts industry and the digital and technology sector is therefore necessary in order to enable the arts sector to grow and thrive in this new normal.
Ultimately, digitalisation complements rather than replaces physical events and performances. While the pandemic has pushed the arts community in growing its digital capabilities, human connection and physical participation remains an important part of the arts sector.
- Strengthening outreach to our audiences and partners
While the online space has enabled arts groups to expand their audience outreach, there is competition from burgeoning international arts content and other forms of digital media. It is necessary to consider new ways to retain and grow these audiences, both online and in physical spaces. This can be achieved by innovating new forms of audience experiences. Hybrid solutions, such as a blended experience of live and digital presentations, may also strengthen the community’s outreach to audiences, as audiences still value real life interactions and look for new forms of arts experiences.
Additionally, participants discussed the importance of joint solutioning within and outside the arts sector, and building public-private partnerships for the sector. These partnerships can strengthen the industry’s existing capabilities to adapt quickly and find new ways to reach audiences.
- Strengthening knowledge and resource sharing, within and beyond the arts sector
The arts community also highlighted the importance of sharing resources in order to safeguard the livelihoods and capabilities of the sector. Smaller arts groups and artists especially require support from arts sector and technological partners in order to build the infrastructure and capabilities to pivot to digitalisation. There is a need to find new ways to collaborate and share knowledge between the arts community and the private sector partners on various issues, from safe management measures, to resources and venues or spaces, to creative and technological capabilities. Finally, clustered and shared solutioning is necessary to address the specific and shared concerns of the arts community, whether within their disciplines or across the sector. Deeper conversations involving different types of stakeholders would be necessary to promote knowledge and resource sharing, so that the arts community can survive and thrive in the new normal.
NAC Emerging Stronger Conversations with the Arts Community: Arts & Creative Self Employed Persons
On 11 Dec 2020, the Chairman of the National Arts Council Ms Goh Swee Chen hosted the Emerging Stronger Conversation with arts & creative self-employed persons (SEPs), including stakeholders such as key advocates for freelancers and leaders of ground-up initiatives. During the session, participants discussed how the future of arts & creative SEPs would look like in the new normal, and how arts & creative SEPs can thrive in the post-pandemic world. The key points from the discussion were:
- Digitalisation has provided both opportunities and obstacles during COVID-19
As arts and creative SEPs started moving their work online, they found both new opportunities and challenges in the digital sphere. The online space has helped SEPs connect with audiences during the pandemic, and expanded possibilities for international collaborations. However, participants noted that going digital also resulted in an increased workload due to the new skills required to independently present digital works, and at times without additional remuneration. It is important that arts and creative SEPs are supported with the capabilities to work online to generate revenue, while concurrently relooking at how audiences appreciate and value the arts in this new format of delivery.
- Support systems need to be in place to protect arts and creative SEPs
Participants were appreciative of the current grant schemes, such as the Digital Presentation Grant (DPG), which enabled arts workers to pivot to the production of new, digital content during the pandemic. However, enhancing the capability of freelancers, including legal knowledge, IP rights, etc were identified as important areas to ensure the sustainability of arts and creative SEPs during the pandemic and beyond. Participants also suggested to have more opportunities for independent artists to present their works beyond major festival and platforms, to support the creation of works and sharing of resources among SEPs, which will help to develop capabilities and establish collaborations within the ecosystem.
- Building local and international eco-systems for SEPs to flourish
Besides government schemes - community support, self-help and connections among SEPs allowed them to respond swiftly to changes during COVID-19. SEPs were also energised by cross-sector collaborations for art-making, and hoped for more of such opportunities to be available. COVID-19 had also brought on unexpected collaborations with international artists, allowing for mutual learning beyond geographical borders. arts practitioners who gained skills and experience internationally could more actively share their learnings with others, to build capabilities for the local arts eco-system. Such mutual learning and collaboration need to be in place for SEPs to develop holistically in their careers.
Updated as of 8 March 2021