Those interested in the future of the arts in Singapore would welcome Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong’s reassurance that investments in arts education will continue, in order to meet the growing needs of creative professionals and to provide diverse pathways for people to excel based on their aspirations and abilities. In a speech to mark the 85th anniversary of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) last week, Mr Wong noted that the Government had been investing more in the arts over the years. A recent example of that is the University of the Arts Singapore, a government-supported private university formed by an alliance between Lasalle College of the Arts and Nafa, which will open its doors in August 2024.
Mr Wong’s comments serve to dispel the fallacy that nurturing artists somehow burdens the economy with unproductive dreamers, when the reality, apparent for decades now, is that creative people provide a cutting edge to the economy by attuning it to the unfolding imagination and aspirations of citizens who are also consumers. In return, a creative economy provides financial space for finessing the qualities of mind possessed by sensitive individuals, who are the most likely to become artists. What arts education does is to provide structured pathways for individuals to transform their creative impulses into functioning parts of society at large.
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