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NAC offers S$1.5m fund to boost arts among VWOs

New WeCare Arts Fund will benefit voluntary welfare organisations that may have limited access to the arts.

SINGAPORE: Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) in Singapore will be able to tap into a new fund by the National Arts Council (NAC) to develop arts activities for their beneficiaries over the next three years.

Launched today (May 20), the S$1.5 million WeCare Arts Fund aims to increase arts participation in the social service sector.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said the fund will bring the arts to VWOs so the people they serve can enjoy art, "pick up new skills and find fulfilment in their lives".

"The beneficiaries of VWOs today may have limited access to the arts due to their social environment," said NAC Director of Arts and Communities Chua Ai Liang, adding that these clients will stand to benefit from the programmes.

An example of the type of programme the new fund will support is an art workshop for elderly residents by freelance artists at the Thye Hua Kwan seniors activity centre in Boon Lay. During this workshop, art will be made out of throw-away items like plastic bags and old clothing, a craft which has been coined as "trash art". 

Said freelance artist Catherine Chong, "Older people generally do not like to throw things. I think this is a good activity for them to work on their motor skills, and it also serves as a bonding session."

The aim is to introduce workshops like this at the hundreds of voluntary welfare organisations dotted across Singapore.

VWOs can apply for a grant of up to S$5,000 for each artist-led programme. Applications start today. 

NAC estimates the fund will create about 300 arts programmes and reaching out to at least 2,500 beneficiaries in the social services sector.

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