Singapore provides a different kind of arts space

20 February 2002, Singapore

The National Arts Council (NAC) of Singapore has taken over ten shopfronts along a major road, in its latest move to provide space to arts groups at subsidised rental. Acquired in December 2001 under the Arts Housing Scheme, the units will form the 'Little India Arts Belt' – the newest addition to existing 'belts' in Chinatown and Waterloo Street. According to a NAC news release, eight of the ten units have so far been allocated, particularly to Malay and Indian ethnic arts groups. Arts Housing tenants are selected on the basis of good track record, managerial strength, artistic standard, level of activity and growth potential, as well as their need for housing, merit of planned activities and commitment to organisational and artistic development. 'It... [will] be exciting to see how these diverse arts groups interact with each other within the surroundings of Little India, and the way in which the community of Little India in turn, influences their artistic creation,' commented Quek Yeng Yeng, Deputy Director of the NAC's Facilities Development. Implemented in 1985 with the purpose of fostering the work of artists as a vital part of a culturally vibrant society, the Arts Housing Scheme takes advantage of aged or disused buildings, and thereby also assists in the revitalisation of 'forgotten' city areas. Tenants pay 10% of the rental charged by Land Office, as well as utilities and maintenance costs, while NAC subsidises the remaining rent. Further information regarding NAC programs and policies is available online at: