SINGAPORE: More than 300 key arts and culture organisations, as well as those in closely related sectors such as media and design, will get a one-off operating grant of S$50,000 or S$75,000 based on their size.
The grant will help organisations defray operating costs and safeguard key capabilities as well as livelihoods, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said in a factsheet on Thursday (Oct 15).
“We hope the grant will enable the recipient organisations to continue generating work opportunities for the freelancers they typically engage,” it said.
The grant is part of the additional relief measures for the arts, culture and sports sectors announced by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong in Parliament on Thursday.
Eligible organisations include those with key capabilities like audience development, community arts or technical theatre. These organisations will be identified and contacted directly to ensure help goes to those who need it the most.
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This new grant is part of the S$55 million Arts and Culture Resilience Package announced in June to support upskilling and safeguard livelihoods in the arts and culture sector amid COVID-19.
With the grant, Mr Tong said MCCY expects to fully utilise the S$55 million by the end of Financial Year 2020. More information on the grant will be available on the National Arts Council (NAC) website by end-October.
But while Mr Tong said the the financial schemes will help, he acknowledged that the most sustainable way to help the arts and culture sector is to resume activities at scale and safely.
Since Sep 11, MCCY and NAC had been piloting small-scale live performances at selected arts venues as a first step towards their gradual resumption in a safe and sustainable way.
“We are reviewing how we can fully resume and scale up live performances for the sector, with the appropriate measures to always prioritise the safety of our audiences, performers and crew,” Mr Tong said.
"In the coming days, we hope also to progressively reintroduce programs at museums in a safe manner as more social activities resume."
FREELANCERS TO GET MORE HELP
The NAC’s Arts Resource Hub (ARH), which has close to 5,000 subscribers, will also ramp up efforts to support freelancers, including identifying job or upskilling opportunities for freelancers.
“MCCY and NAC, through the ARH, will work with them to step up on efforts to help them tap on available resources to support them, identify and facilitate also work opportunities, skills upgrading and also help them leverage digital technology,” Mr Tong said.
“It might not always be as easy for freelancers to be doing this on their own, and we recognise that. We have a team set up to look at their needs and to see how best to organise the efforts to pair them up with available programs.”
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The ARH has been organising regular talks on relevant subjects and aggregating job opportunities on its job portal. It also re-opened two co-working spaces for freelancers to network and collaborate earlier this month.
MCCY said the ARH will provide holistic support for freelancers across the areas of job facilitation, capability development, legal and financial knowledge, and digitalisation.
For example, MCCY said it is reaching out to other agencies including Workforce Singapore and SkillsFuture Singapore to expand support for arts freelancers in areas like contractual agreements and job opportunities in adjacent sectors.
“Arts and culture freelancers are an important part of the ecosystem,” MCCY said, adding that they can continue to tap on NAC’s general grants, like the Market and Audience Development Grant that now has been expanded to include digital works and presentations.