The regional art scene is set to become more vibrant with the major revamp of the Singapore Art Museum (SAM). SAM opened to much fanfare in 1996 in a converted museum space that once housed the former Saint Joseph’s Institution, and has not upgraded its premises since. The upcoming building works will address the growing needs of contemporary art in Singapore, and focus on improving the visitor experience at SAM.
The revamp is likely to cost around $90 million. The Singapore government is prepared to fund up to $80 million, with help from the Cultural Matching Fund. The remaining sum will be raised through sponsorship and donations.
Visitors can look forward to the creation of a fully contiguous museum, upgraded facilities and expanded museum-based learning spaces. The SAM revamp also aims to meet future curatorial needs of the museum. These would include creating double volume spaces for technologically demanding works or large-scale installations such as Suzann Victor’s Rainbow Circle, Cai Guo-Qiang’s Head On, and Jane Lee’s Raw Canvas.
The main building will be closed to the public from 1 April 2017 onwards to prepare the conservation building for its next phase of development. Starting with the closure of the main SAM building on Bras Basah Road, the $87.4 million retrofit project will target to be completed by 2021.
Meanwhile, SAM will continue actively programming at the SAM at 8Q space. 2017 museum programming includes the upcoming exhibition, Imaginarium: To the Ends of the Earth, which opens on 6 May at SAM at 8Q, as well as Singapore Night Festival activities, Think! Contemporary Programme, and Yellow Ribbon Community Art Exhibition.