Singapore's arts and heritage festivals, as well as participation in international festivals are efforts to make Singapore both an economic centre and a cultural capital - a city with character and life. These are just some highlights in the Singapore's increasingly vibrant arts calendar. Immerse yourself in these festivals today, and let the A List be your guide to Singapore's arts and culture.
Arts in Your Neighbourhood (AYN)
The AYN programme, an initiative by the National Arts Council, brings enriching arts experiences right to your doorstep! Enjoy interactive arts programmes by established artists and arts groups held at various spaces across the island. Past locations have included Woodlands, Jurong, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, and Bedok. Find out more.
Got To Move (GTM)
An initiative by the National Arts Council, GTM is the nationwide dance movement that celebrates the diversity of dance in Singapore. With two pop-up events throughout the year in addition to an anchor festival held annually in October, GTM aims to ignite Singaporeans’ interest in dance and to deepen their appreciation of the art form. It is a national platform to bring together Singapore’s dance professionals and enthusiasts and to showcase their talents and works to a diverse audience. Find out more.
In 2012, the People’s Association launched the PAssionArts Movement with the goal of bringing arts and culture to the community. By harnessing the passion and knowledge of grassroots leaders and more than 3,000 volunteers, the movement has successfully reached out to 222,000 participants through a range of arts and culture initiatives. Some initiatives include PAssionArts Hotspots for residents to enjoy arts and cultural performances, Community Art Galleries allowing visual artists to showcase their work, and the PAssionArts Inspiration Series to promote mutual understanding of culture through festive celebrations. The PAssionArts Movement will continue to enrich the lives of residents and redefine the Singapore cultural landscape. Find out more.
Silver Arts advocates the meaningful possibilities seniors have in the arts. Organised by the National Arts Council since 2012, Silver Arts is an annual festival dedicated to celebrating seniors and creative ageing. The festival presents collaborations between artists, arts organisations and community partners to foster the arts into the lifestyles of seniors. From performances to workshops, seniors can showcase their creative talents through co-created content or learn a new skill, enhancing their overall well-being. The festival offers opportunities for seniors to share their stories that shape our collective memories, and forge stronger inter-generational understanding. Find out more.
Singapore Art Week (SAW)
SAW is an annual celebration of visual arts which takes place in the month of January to kick start the new year. Jointly organised by the National Arts Council, Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Economic Development Board, SAW reinforces Singapore’s position as Asia’s leading arts destination. The nine-day celebration of the visual arts will take place in venues across Singapore, from galleries and museums to art precincts and independent art spaces. Find out more.
Singapore Biennale (SB)
The SB was established in 2006 as the leading platform for international discourse in contemporary art. It places Singapore's artists within a global context, supporting productive collaborations with the international arts community. The Biennale provides new opportunities for local visual artists, arts organisations and businesses to cultivate deeper public engagement through the arts. It complements achievements in other areas of arts and culture, collectively enhancing Singapore's international profile as a vibrant city in which to live, work and play. Find out more.
Singapore Heritage Festival (SHF)
Since 2004, the SHFl - a yearly event by the National Heritage Board - has become a platform for Singaporeans to come together and celebrate our diverse culture outside of the usual heritage sites. Festival Hubs are set up in shopping malls and tourist destinations across the nation to house different activities and cultural performances throughout the day to promote Singapore’s heritage. Find out more.
Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA)
As Singapore’s annual pinnacle performing arts festival, SIFA presents captivating and diverse works across theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts. First launched as the Singapore Festival of Arts in 1977, the festival has gone through several evolutions and inspired generations of arts lovers and practitioners. Today, the highly-anticipated festival is a high-point on Singapore’s arts and cultural calendar. Find out more.
Singapore Night Festival (SNF)
Organised annually since 2008, the Singapore Night Festival has become an iconic and much anticipated festival of the Bras Basah/Bugis district, Singapore’s arts and heritage belt. This nocturnal extravaganza of art, culture, music and dance features exciting programmes by the museums and partners in the precinct. The festival also provides a platform for local artists and performers to showcase their talents and offerings. Find out more.
Singapore Writers Festival (SWF)
SWF, one of Asia’s premier literary events, started in 1986 as a biennial festival. Now held yearly, the festival is a much anticipated event on the cultural calendar, presenting the world’s major literary talents to Singaporeans while shining a spotlight on home grown creative talents. SWF has delighted book lovers by featuring Singapore writers Meira Chand, Alvin Pang, Suchen Christine Lim and You Jin, as well as international luminaries such as Steven Levitt, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Bi Feiyu, Andrew Motion and Gao Xingjian. The Singapore Writers Festival is one of the few multi-lingual literary festivals in the world, celebrating the written and spoken word in Singapore’s official languages - English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Find out more.
First held in 1895, the Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most prestigious non-commercial platforms to showcase contemporary art - a contemporary art exhibition that happens once every two years. Singapore took a hiatus from the 55th edition in 2013 after 6 consecutive rounds of participation since 2001, which showed the works of 14 local artists and 7 curators. Singapore returned to the Venice Biennale in 2015. Find out more.
You may also enjoy other festivals and events such as Baybeats, da:ns festival, Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts, Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts, Light to Night, Octoburst!, Pesta Raya - Malay Festival of Arts, and President's Young Talent organised by the various arts institutions.