Singapore’s National Arts Council (NAC) just revealed the results of their 2019 Population Survey on the Arts, showing that 80% of Singaporeans find a great source of pride in the arts and find it to improve their quality of life, however, 19% forecast a possible decline of arts engagement due to the ongoing pandemic.
NAC is a Singaporean public agency that oversees the development of arts in the country. Every two years, the agency conducts a Population Survey on the Arts that looks into the public perception of the arts industry and its growth.
NAC released this year’s survey results, which were collated from interviews with a representative sample of the general population between February to March 2020. Respondents included 1,176 Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
Compared to the survey conducted in 2017, there has been an upward trend in the appreciation, perceived importance and consumption of the arts.
Singapore Writers Festival 2019. Photo provided by NAC.
In 2019, 69% of Singaporeans physically attended activities in 2019, a 15% increase from 2017. While 33% participated in the arts, showcasing an 11% increase from previous years, with students, professionals, managers, executives, businessmen being the most active demographic.
There has also been a steady increase in the digital consumption of the arts. 3 in 4 Singaporeans are reported to have enjoyed art programmes and activities via digital and online platforms. Music has also continued to be one of the most consumed art forms online, seeing a notable increase of 52%.
This proves that, in the absence of live performances, online livestreams and digital concerts can be a sustainable option for local artists and musicians who have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. According to a recent survey conducted by Bandwagon, 48% of Singapore musicians have participated in online shows since the start of the country's Circuit Breaker period.
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“With more consuming the arts on digital platforms, artists should tap on the digital medium to showcase our works. I have been actively exploring the online space, especially during this time where ‘live’ performances cannot take place. With live streaming performances, I am able to stay connected with my audience and I can continue to uplift the spirits of many through my music during this challenging time,” said Jeremy Monteiro, renowned jazz musician and music director of Jazz Association (Singapore), in a statement.
Overall, there has also been a notable increase in the public perception of the arts, with 80% of Singaporeans seeing the creative industry as a source of pride. Moreover, 82% felt a great sense of belonging and identity through the arts, while 78% that the arts improved their quality of life.
Young children interacting with Five Stones, a commissioned work by NAC’s Public Art Trust, in commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial and part of Arts in Your Neighbourhood. Photo provided by NAC.
However, despite this, 19% foresee a decreased engagement in art events in the coming year. There was also a decreased current interest in the arts, dropping to 29%, 8 percentage points lower than in 2017. NAC believes that this may be the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the expected economic recession.
Nevertheless, these results showcase the growing importance and recognition of the arts industry. “The 2019 survey results strongly affirm the value of the arts and culture in Singapore. Prior to the COVID situation, all key indicators on appreciation and consumption of the arts have shown strong positive trends. Our artists and arts groups have contributed to a vibrant arts scene, which enhances the lives of Singaporeans and the liveability of Singapore,” said Rosa Daniels, Chief Executive Officer of NAC, in a statement.
To continue supporting the local arts industry, members of the public can tune into their online livestreams, and continue to share their work via social platforms. Creatives can also refer to Bandwagon's list of resources for COVID-19 relief.