Piloted by the National Arts Council in 2012, the Community Arts and Culture Nodes initiative aims to enrich communities through regular and accessible arts programmes across neighbourhood island-wide. NAC has partnered likeminded organisations such as the National Library Board, People’s Association and most recently, SAFRA, to co-develop quality arts programmes to engage the communities they serve.
Coming on board as the 15th Node this year is SAFRA’s newest clubhouse – SAFRA Punggol. It will form part of the Arts@SAFRA programmes held across the Jurong, Mount Faber and Toa Payoh SAFRA clubhouses, offering performances, workshops and interactive installations.
Ms Kris Ho, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Operations), SAFRA, commented: “We see the arts as a very dynamic avenue where we can encourage more interesting and meaningful interactions among the NSmen community and their families. Hence, we’ll have many more programmes at our clubs this year that promote active participation in various genres of art like interactive, performing, and visual arts. We are certainly looking at having more workshops conducted by well-known artists to engage and benefit SAFRA members and also ground-up initiatives where NSmen can showcase their creative talents, creating a vibrant arts scene within our clubs.”
Since the first three nodes were set up in Siglap South and Kallang Community Clubs and Woodlands Regional Library, approximately 1,000 arts programmes have taken place over the last five years, at the steadily increasing network of nodes.
To engage residents meaningfully, Node programmes are spread across art forms, offering platforms for both young and old to pursue their areas of interest. Said Woodlands resident William Tan, “These community arts programmes liven up the entire precinct – adults and kids alike enjoy it. My 10-year-old son loves the Art Fresco drama programme at the Woodlands Regional Library node. The programme instils a sense of confidence in our kids and teaches vital soft skills in bringing out the potential in our next generation.”
For the month of February, the public can look forward to a taster for some of the year- long arts programmes from now to 26 February, showcasing 25 exciting arts experiences ranging from music and dance performances, visual art installations to hands-on workshops at 15 different nodes island-wide.
Some of the key highlights include Shadow. Art. Play! by Isabelle Desjeux at SAFRA Toa Payoh (an interactive experiential installation exploring the work of shadowplay), Shakespeare & the Navarasas by Subin Subaiah, Gerald Chew and Krissy Jesudason at Siglap South CC (a journey through the nine basic human emotions through the words of Shakespeare himself), The Rainbow Toymaker by Cake Theatrical Productions at My Community @ Queenstown (a theatre performance featuring Singapore’s best-loved retro games such as Five Stones and Pick Up Sticks) and Drumming & Dancing in the City by NADI Singapura and The Royal Dance Off at Mapletree Business City.
One of the performances, The Rainbow Toymaker, is a dynamic interplay of music, costumes and larger-than-life props that will be presented by the community and outreach arm of home-grown theatre company Cake Theatrical Productions, Sweet Tooth. Said Artistic Director Natalie Hennedige, “We are happy to bring The Rainbow Toymaker into community spaces. Our aim is to reach out and offer performances to one and all, and bring the arts to the people. The Community Arts and Culture Nodes initiative gives us the opportunity to engage with the community.”
“We’re excited to showcase our island-wide nodes and the diversity of arts programmes they have in store for the year ahead,” said Ms Chua Ai Liang, Director of Arts & Communities, National Arts Council. “Whether you already enjoy the arts, or are new to it, the growing Node network makes it easier for anyone to enjoy and participate in quality arts experiences.”