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Culture and Economic Development


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This is a set of slides I used to initiate discussion in a high-level strategic planning committee on Singapore's livability and economic growth in 2010. All content was found online. Disclaimer: Questions and opinions represent my views and not the Singapore Government's.

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Culture and Economic Development

  1. 1. Culture and Economic DevelopmentSurvey of Asian Region and Questions for Discussion• Developing cities today understand the role that a vibrant arts scene can play in raising their global profiles.• In the Middle East, cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Damascus, Beirut and Doha are developing cultural precincts, art fairs, gallery districts and museums.• In the Asia-Pacific region, Seoul and Beijing are developing reputations as cutting-edge arts locales which look to both experimental and traditional forms of cultural expression. Hong Kong is fast developing as an Asian Hub for arts trade and auctions.
  2. 2. The Gulf States Museum of Islamic Art Saadiyat Island Cultural CentreGulf Art Network- Massive investment in creating iconic andauthentic content, events and institutions- Strong foundation in terms of wealth, heritage,audiences and talent- Sophisticated means of marketing, engagementand audience development
  3. 3. Beijing Models for Bras Basah Edgy, Eclectic, Contemporary Beijing - Asia’s centre for contemporary art 798 Special Art Zone - Originally a derelict government ammunitions plant, converted into studios and live-in lofts by artists in search of low-cost space. - Chinas premier contemporary art hub with 50 galleries, art centres, artists, bookshops, bars and restaurants. - Facing gentrification, like Soho/Chelsea in New York - Ever-increasing rents have priced out many artists and galleries, who have since moved further away to Songzhuang Artist Village and Cao Chang Di.
  4. 4. ModelsHong Kong for Bras Basah Edgy, Eclectic, Contemporary Thriving Fine Arts & Entertainment Industry -Vibrant commercial art scene and auctions calendar - facilitative tax policies, (eg no GST and low withholding tax). West Kowloon Cultural District - US$2 billion World class integrated arts and cultural district on a 40 ha prime waterfront site. - Contains 15 performance venues and a Museum Plus. - Phase 1 will be ready in 2014-2015 and Phase 2 by 2026.
  5. 5. Seoul Models for Bras Basah Edgy, Eclectic, Contemporary “Vision 2015, Cultural City Seoul” Masterplan - US$7.8B plan to increase Seoul’s competitiveness by re- inventing the city landscape and developing high quality culture. - Aims to increase the number of art galleries from 25 to 50, and museums from 67 to 150 by 2015. - Build public-run studios for affordable stage performances - S$2m to support amateur artists or young professionals Musical theatre industry - Growing at 30% per annum, with more than 50 production companies staging 150 musicals each year - Private property developers are integrating cultural facilities within commercial buildings
  6. 6. Where does Singapore stand? • Singapore has come far in terms of cultural infrastructure, vibrancy and audiences. • But we are still not noted internationally for our arts and culture scene. • Nor have we fully recognised the value of arts and culture like our neighbors. • How can we use arts and culture to enhance our image and rejuvenate our economy?
  7. 7. Distinctiveness• Which iconic cultural institutions and events can we develop and promote?• Which of our historical structures, precincts and monuments should we preserve and promote?• How do we develop distinctive content which references our geographical context and histories?
  8. 8. Development• What arts and cultural infrastructure is needed to grow and sustain a more vibrant and diverse local arts landscape?• How do we attract or develop the arts and cultural talent required to support this industry?• What can we do differently to create a vibrant and sustainable arts industry?  Business Models, eg. arts clusters, theatres in malls, arts centres managing residential/commercial properties  Flexible policies, eg. GST, land pricing and use.
  9. 9. Performing Arts – Still no Asian centre London New York City• London’s performing arts cluster (28 • Broadway contribution to New institutions and festivals) contributes York City’s economy: S$8 bil S$1 bil to London’s economy • 60% of this comes from tourism• More than 50% of the value-add comes from tourists Resilience to prevailing economic conditions Broadway theaters defied the recession to post record ticket sales of USD943.3M in the 2008/09 season in what has been attributed to “a need for escapism” (Reuters, 26 May 2009). West End Theatres have posted record sales of 480.6M pounds in 2008, as people show a “dogged determination to keep going out to have a good time” despite the recession (, 26 Jan 2009).
  10. 10. Visual Arts – Shift of focus to Asia Global Art Businesses & Personalities Establishing in Asia Asian art gaining Rising affluence in Asia generates international prominence new art collector marketChina overtook France as 3rd largest Indian contemporary art price index rose art auction market in 2007 by >3000% since 1998, Major New York galleries opening Indonesian contemporary art prices rose Asian outposts by up to 4000% since 2006 Left: “The World’s Greatest Art Businessman” Larry Gagosian set up branch gallery in Hong Kong in May 08 Right: Philantrophist Guy Ullens, Left: Anupam Poddar, owner of high- owner of Ullens Centre for end luxury Devi Garh hotel chain, and Contemporary Art (UCCA), a private his mother Lekha . Set up Devi Art museum in Beijing. UCCA conducts Foundation near Delhi in 2008 to regular seminars for public to learn showcase personal collection of 2,000 about contemporary Chinese art contemporary art works from India for public enjoyment
  11. 11. Demand• How can we grow regional and global demand (ie cultural tourism) to sustain the development of our arts scene?• What strategies can we adopt to encourage greater philanthropy Singapore New York London and patronage? Tourists per How do we engage potential regional year as % of 212% 99% 208% city popn and international patrons & (2006) collectors? Admissions to major 1.5M 12.5M 12.4M• How do we encourage theatres Singaporeans and residents to Visitorship participate more in arts and to top 5 2.6M 8.3M 20.4M museums culture activities?
  12. 12. Diversity • Singapore is already Asia’s most open and culturally diverse city, melding the best of the East and the West. • How can we better promote our historic and evolving cultural diversity as an attractive factor? • How can we reap new economic opportunities from catering to the specific needs of different peoples? Eg. Muslims/Middle Easterners, new Indian and Chinese residents, Southeast-Asians
  13. 13. A Leading Global City• Mercantile, trading nation• Fiercely independent, fiercely mercenary• Developed a strong sense of aesthetics• Expropriated the cultures & talents of the region as its own• Influenced regional and global economy and culture• Lasted for 1100 years…