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Bringing arts and sports to the community

Arts and sports for the people -- that is the direction that the government is taking and Singaporeans can expect to take part in activities that are different and more appealing in the coming years.

SINGAPORE: Arts and sports for the people -- that is the direction that the government is taking and Singaporeans can expect to take part in activities that are different and more appealing in the coming years.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong shared these thoughts on Saturday on the sidelines of the launch of the community arts and culture nodes in Jurong Regional Library.

Another community node is to be launched in Tampines Regional Library on May 10.

The National Arts Council (NAC) and the National Library Board (NLB) have joined hands to string together year-round programmes at the various community nodes that are located in several libraries and community clubs.

Mr Wong said: "We have set aside S$5 million to set up these nodes. The plan is to get to 25 community arts nodes. So this year, with the setting up of (the node at) Jurong... we are gradually and progressively increasing to 25 nodes, which is our target. The setting up of the community nodes is really part of our plan to bring arts closer to the community."

The NAC plans to have more than 10 nodes launched by the end of 2014. Altogether, it hopes to open 25 community nodes islandwide by 2025.

The community node at Jurong is youth-centric and offers creative arts workshops such as writing, doodling and photography.

Over the next three years, over 2,300 activities will be offered in the different community nodes for Singaporeans to participate in. The aim is to offer greater access to the arts through such programmes in the neighbourhoods.

Each node costs the government S$60,000 to S$80,000 per year.

Moving forward, Mr Wong said he is investing more to support not just elite artistes but also top-notch athletes to reach out to people who do not participate in such activities.

He said: "An important aspect of what we want to do that's different is to see how we can reach out to new audiences. For arts, people who may not have even stepped foot in the museum, who may not have gone to a concert, how do we get them to say 'well, actually it's not so intimidating to go a museum, it's very accessible.'

"And also more importantly, (to ensure that) the exhibitions are appealing and interesting to them."

By getting more Singaporeans involved in arts and sports, Mr Wong hopes that they can create more shared memories and develop a stronger sense of shared culture.

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