Playing With & For The Community
The aim of these case studies is to gain a better understanding of foremost, what does centre in ‘arts centre’ mean? And following that, how an art space meets its creative, social and financial bottomline and how these objectives interact and affect decisions within the centre.
1. How does your organization see its role / contribution in the field of the arts?
Singapore Contemporary Young Artists (SCYA) was founded on the basis of documenting and collecting data on Contemporary Art by Young Artists in Singapore to serve as a research base for the arts to chart its growth and development as a global arts industry player.
Now SCYA in the past 2 years has growth and extending its focus to reach out to the public by generating educational programmes to educate on Contemporary Art, organizing Exhibitions, involving in Community Art Projects and raising the profile of Artists through Commission Projects.
SCYA continues to increase public awareness and contribute to the arts in Singapore by linking with international organisations that have an interest in South East Asian Art practices.
2. Artists aside, do you think your organization has also served as an incubator or training ground for art intermediaries such as curators, art managers?
We are still very young to comment too much on this although SCYA does open its doors to training young artists, writers, curators and art managers, we do have some young people who are active in our Society and have thus joined as members.
3. How often does your organization collaborate with other similar organizations? For example through the Singapore Arts Festival and the Teck Ghee Community Centre under the Arts in Community Project.
As the focus is outreach to public awareness, engaging in Community Art Projects are crucial to the development of SCYA. We engage in Community Art Projects once or twice a year. We have one worked on 2 Community Art Projects in 2010 & 2011.
4. Does your organization see the community as a priority? How do they define ‘the community’? What problems have that presented in balancing that and artistic integrity and/or direction?
The Community is the Public at large which also includes the Arts Community. There is no problem in balancing Artistic Integrity. The direction is to work with the right Artists who deal or have interest in Community Art Projects.
5. How exactly have you seen these ‘community benefits’ unfolding? What are these ‘benefits’?
In 2010, we participated with a VWO to facilitate a Children’s Art Competition and the benefits unfolded itself through the happiness and smiles of these Children who interacted with Art. Later in 2010, we organised a charity art auction to raise funds for children who are blind through the support from Standard Chartered and the VWO ‘Seeing is Believing’. In 2011, we opened an exhibition on recycling art with the contribution of materials and waste by residents nearby Goodman Art Centre where we are now situated.
6. How do you gauge or measure how the public has receive these programmes and know the programme has achieved some level of community benefit?
We do not have a statistical approach to our findings but through comments, word-of-mouth and notes of thanks, kindness and support to SCYA, do we know that the public has benefited from our programmes.
a. Do you charge a fee for the services you may provide artists?
No to Artists. Yes for Audiences or Clients.
b. How prepared are artists/audiences in paying for these services?
Not Applicable for Artists. Audiences and Clients are prepared to pay.
c. What are audience numbers like on average and what type of audience?
Audience such as students, teachers, home-makers, artists, arts community members range from 20 – 100 visiting or attending our events, programmes.
d. Is the audience growing? Is there room to grow further?
2011 number of audience is the same as 2010 but in 2012, we should see an increase of audience numbers due to our varied projects.
8. How do you think donors/volunteers relate to your organization? As a symbol of what it stands for? For the work it presents? Anyone sees it as an investment in a group that shares a vision?
SCYA is a Society that has members contribute an annual payment to help SCYA on its ground. This is one way of commitment from the members.
There are donors who contribute to supporting SCYA by purchasing artworks or sponsoring us for items in our events. Volunteers do come to SCYA as they would like to learn and contribute something to the Arts, eventually they do become members.
9. Do you see your organization as an alternative space? What do you think that entails?
SCYA does not need to be yet another alternative space though I can imagine SCYA to be a space for young people to come together and make ideas happen. This year since the initiation of our new space, we have already seen some of our members taking the step to curate shows under SCYA. I can also imagine SCYA to be a place where learning Art takes place on the ground level and where more local and international partnerships can take place.
Is the space surrounding your space as important? i.e. being at Goodman Art Centre among other art groups?
Goodman Art Centre is a great place for the arts, though relatively new, it still has its challenges in bringing people to the space. I think this can be done very easily by having Festival Programmes that can utilitiese the facilities within Goodman Art Centre. Branding does take time.
Being in GAC, SCYA is easily able to make connections and contacts with other Artists and Arts Group from varied disciplines and this can also boost collaborations and engagement in matters relating to the Arts.
End of interview.