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[UPDATED] Enhanced National Support Measures during Phase 3 (Heightened Alert]
On 18 June 2021, MOH had announced an updated approach to gradual reopening to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from 21 June 2021. In view of the continued tightened safe management measures of various activities until mid-July 2021, the Government will extend the current enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme for the arts and culture sector, as shown in the table below:
JSS Support for P2HA
(16 May – 13 June)
JSS Support for P3HA
14 – 20 June
3 weeks from 21 June – 11 July
2 weeks from 12 – 25 July
Performing Arts & Arts Education
Museums, art galleries, historical sites
The Government will also extend the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) [CRG-T] until 31 July 2021. Existing CRG-T recipients who continue to require assistance can also apply for a second tranche of CRG-T support in July. The Ministry of Social and Family Development will release more details shortly.
Enhanced National Support Measures during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)
On 28 May 2021, as announced by the Ministry of Finance, the Jobs Support Scheme will be enhanced to support sectors that have been significantly affected by the tightened measures under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) [16 May to 13 June 2021]. Arts and culture organisations that have been impacted by this latest round of heightened measures will be eligible for the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) which will help them defray operating costs during this period. The Government will provide 50% JSS support for arts and culture organisations involved in the performing arts and arts education, and 30% JSS support for others, such as private museums and art galleries.
Eligible organisations will also benefit from rental relief. For Government-owned commercial properties, the Government will grant one month of rental relief for qualifying tenants. For privately-owned commercial properties, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will disburse a 0.5-month rental relief cash payout directly to qualifying tenants as part of a new Rental Support Scheme.
In addition, self-employed arts and culture practitioners who have experienced an income loss of at least 50% for at least one month, during the period between 16 May 2021 and 30 June 2021, may apply for COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary). Eligible individuals may receive a one-off payout of up to $500. This will run in parallel with the existing COVID-19 Recovery Grant scheme. More details can be found on the Ministry of Social and Family Development's website here.
These schemes are in addition to the ongoing support available for the arts and culture community. More details on these measures can be found at MOF’s website.
Sector-Specific Support Measures
Further to the announcement of the Enhanced Arts and Culture Resilience Package at Budget 2021, the following enhancements were announced on 28 May 2021:
- Venue-hire subsidy at 80% until end-September 2021, and further extensions will be reviewed based on prevailing public health situation
- Continual support through existing project grants
In view of the recent measures, there may be changes in projects that have been pre-approved for funding through NAC’s project grants such as the Presentation and Participation Grant, Capability Development Grant (CDG) and Market and Audience Development Grant. NAC will work with grantees to make provisions for adjustments that may now be needed, where possible. We encourage grantees to approach NAC for further discussions. NAC will also allow “off-cycle” applications for CDG to better support arts practitioners that might be considering training during this period. Interested applicants can visit NAC’s website for more details and apply directly through Our SG Grants Portal.
- Supporting Live Performances
In response to the recent measures effective through 13 June 2021, NAC is working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure that permitted indoor and outdoor live performances that have already been scheduled will still be able to take place safely. NAC will defray the cost of pre-event testing (PET) for live performances between 51 to 100 attendees. These performances need to have been publicised before 5 May and take place between 16 May and 13 June 2021. NAC remains committed to helping artists and arts groups in their endeavours to reach their audiences, so that the arts can continue in a safe manner. For applications to proceed with live events publicised before 5 May 2021, please visit here.
Enhanced Arts and Culture Resilience Package announced by Minister MCCY at Budget 2021
Updated as of 3 June 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.
The Arts Resource Hub (ARH) organised two engagement sessions for the Self-Employed Person Grant (SEPG) on 8 April and 1 June, to co-create and scope key parts of the grant, The sessions involved 50 participants including SEPs, SEP advocate groups, and representatives from arts organisations. Summary of the key topics can be found here. The SEP Grant is now open for applications, click here for more details.
[New] Organisation Transformation Fund (OTF)
The OTF 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: Organisation Transformation Grant
A new Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG) (formerly known as the 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 organisation transformation. The OTG also encourages arts and culture organisations to come together to address common pain points and/or co-create solutions. The OTG 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.
Update on Engagement Sessions for the NAC Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG)
Earlier in March 2021, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong announced a new Organisation Transformation Grant (previously named Business Transformation Grant) to support transformation efforts for the arts and culture sector. The OTG aims to support ground-up interest for organisation-specific efforts, as well as co-solutioned projects to address pain points by multiple arts groups.
NAC organised 6 engagement sessions on the OTG in May 2021 to discuss the topic of transformation, and to co-design parameters of the grant. The sessions involved more than 100 stakeholders in the arts sector, including arts companies and cultural institutions.
The discussions covered the following key areas:
Evolving COVID-19 Situation and Digitalisation – Challenges and Opportunities
Participants shared that there were both challenges and opportunities amidst the COVID-19 situation. Aside from the costs incurred to digitalise programmes and the need to adapt to evolving situations, arts organisations highlighted challenges such as competition with other online content, as well as the need for better protection of intellectual property rights and their digital works. On the other hand, participants also pointed out opportunities that arose from the pandemic – arts organisations were able to tap on the previous Digital Presentation Grant (DPG) to quickly digitalise, and others were able to extend collaborations and their programmes to a regional and international audience. Furthermore, participants reflected that the past year has highlighted the importance of re-thinking their modes of work, and some shared on how they have begun their own organisation’s transformation in different ways.
Participants’ Feedback on Grant Design
Given that the OTG is a time-limited scheme with projects ending in March 2022, participants highlighted the need for flexibility to determine outcomes at the end of the funding period. It was also suggested that projects supported by the OTG could be an opportunity for companies to experiment and pilot ideas to jumpstart transformation efforts. Participants also shared feedback that manpower needs should be supported under the OTG, particularly for manpower costs contributing to the transformation efforts undertaken as part of their OTG projects. Other areas of grant design, such as co-funding requirements and grant caps, were also discussed during the sessions.
Resources Required to Support Transformation
Arts organisations shared on the need for existing staff and arts workers across the industry to be upskilled in the different aspects of transformation, and appreciated having better support (e.g. through consultants/ technical experts/ partners) come in to work with the arts industry. In discussing the different types of transformation projects that were possible for OTG, participants shared a common desire to collaborate with partners from both within and beyond the arts sector. Participants also hoped for more opportunities to network with each other, and with companies from other sectors to leverage expertise and knowledge to take their own transformation efforts forward. There were several suggestions on how arts organisations could work together to develop solutions that would benefit the wider arts sector.
NAC is reviewing the participants’ feedback on the parameters of the OTG. As a start, the grant has been renamed to “Organisation Transformation Grant” to better reflect feedback from the sector that the word “Business” may be less applicable to the arts industry’s nature of work. An Ask NAC! session on the OTG will also be held to share more details on the finalised OTG parameters and its application process.
Look out for more details on the OTG, Ask NAC! session and Ideation Workshops in June 2021 on the NAC website.
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) have reached 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.
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 3 June 2021