The National Arts Council released key findings from its tenth edition of the National Population Survey on the Arts today. Attendance and participation in the arts continued on an upward trend, with 54% of Singaporeans attending arts events and 22% participating in arts activities. Both indicators are the highest on record since 2005, not including the peak in 2015, when there was a surge in arts events to celebrate Singapore’s Jubilee year (SG50). This shows that the arts are increasingly becoming a more integral part of our lives.
When asked what they thought about the arts and culture in Singapore, 89% of those surveyed concurred that the arts and culture give them a better understanding of people of different backgrounds and cultures, and 79% agreed that the arts strengthen inter-generational dialogue and understanding. This demonstrates the role of the arts in connecting diverse communities through shared experiences, and contributing to a more cohesive and caring society.
37% of survey respondents expressed their interest in the arts, the highest in the last decade (with the exception of 2015, which marked the SG50 celebrations). However, despite Singaporeans’ improved perceptions and increasing interest in the arts, a gap remains between sustained interest in the arts and attendance of arts events (17 percentage point difference). This is a widening gap from 2011 and 2013, where both years maintained a 12 percentage point difference between interest and attendance. This highlights the need to heighten and deepen Singaporeans’ interest in the arts and encourage more works which are relevant and accessible to our audiences.
Singaporeans who did not attend arts events made up 46% of respondents in the 2017 survey. They continued to cite the lack of time as a key barrier to attending arts and cultural events. Among these respondents, 28% of them indicated that having arts and cultural events close to where they live and/or work would increase their likelihood of attendance.
Mrs Rosa Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of NAC, said,
“It is encouraging to note that the majority of Singaporeans continues to appreciate the value of the arts, especially in terms of enhancing their understanding of the richness and diversity of our society. However, more still needs to be done to grow Singaporeans’ interest in the arts and culture, and to sustain arts attendance and participation. We hope the findings in the survey will provide insights for our artists and arts groups to create and present more works which are accessible and relatable for Singaporeans. NAC will also continue to focus our efforts in audience development and engagement so that more Singaporeans can come together to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the arts.”
The 2017 Population Survey on the Arts interviewed a total of 2,023 Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) between January 2018 and March 2018, and is representative of the population in terms of demographics. This survey commissioned by NAC provides a comprehensive snapshot of the current level of interest, attitudes and perceptions towards arts and culture activities, as well as audience consumption habits and their influencing factors. It also serves to provide arts practitioners, partners and industry stakeholders with useful insights to help plan and implement their programmes and activities.