100 ways to enjoy art

100 ways to enjoy art
The Good Life Project, a local alternative soul and funk band.

Singapore Art Week, which returns for its third edition next week, is not just for art aficionados.

Pop-up record stores, breakdancing and skateboarding competitions, as well as after-dusk music performances by indie DJs and bands are just some of the activities that will give it broader appeal and an edge.

The annual arts fiesta, which kicks off on Jan 17, will feature about 100 events in all over nine days.

Led by the National Arts Council in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board and Singapore Economic Development Board, Art Week aims to reinforce Singapore as a leading arts destination.

Anchored by premier contemporary art fair Art Stage Singapore, the event gathers players in the arts sector to launch creative art and lifestyle concepts, as well as hold events that boost the visual arts industry. It also provides another platform for home-grown talent to showcase their work alongside renowned international names.

A new addition to the calendar this year is Super 0 Openair, a day-to-night event where partygoers can groove to the music of some of the world's best indie electronic beatmakers, such as Tokimonsta from Los Angeles and Swedish music producer The Field.

To be held at the former SIA Sports Club in Turnhouse Road on Jan 17, it will also host a pop-up vinyl store by Curated Records, interactive threatre showcases by home-grown theatre groups and a series of workshops and talks organised by Red Bull Music Academy.

Over at Aliwal Arts Centre in Aliwal Street in the Kampong Glam area, urban art and street culture take centrestage with graffiti art showcases, a space for a skateboarding competition and the Red Bull Cypher In The Park, the qualifying round to pick Singaporean representatives for Red Bull BC One, an international breakdancing competition.

Called the Aliwal Urban Art Festival, the free night festival, now in its second year, will be held on Jan 17. Last year, the event drew about 3,500 people. Organisers are expecting a turnout of 4,000 this year.

Another late-night event of the Art Week is Art After Dark, an open-house event in Gillman Barracks arts cluster. The open-house night event has been held since 2012, but was named Art After Dark last November.

To be held on Jan 23, the outdoor party features performance art and live music, as well as pop-up stores offering food and drinks.

Visitors can also explore the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore's studios for artists in residence, attend talks by artists or catch a late night indie movie screening at the former army barracks.

Mr Philip Francis, 42, deputy director of sector development at the National Arts Council, says events such as Super 0 Openair, Art After Dark and Aliwal Urban Art Festival show that "art can be appreciated by anyone and everyone and such nightlife experiences allow us to create new and novel ways for audiences to appreciate art".

They make art more accessible to a wider audience, "debunking misperceptions that art needs to be encountered in a museum or gallery setting", he adds.

French expatriate Olivier Soubiele, 34, is among art and music fans who are looking forward to the more "alternative" events during Art Week.

The designer for a telecommunications firm, who plans to check out the Aliwal Urban Art Festival, says: "I like the fact that someone is doing something different from what we always find in Singapore (in terms of art).

"In Paris in summer, for example, you can find DJs playing at the museums and you can grab a beer and lie down on the grass... there are always ways for people to discover art and meet artists. Similar things are happening in London too. I want to support these things."

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