Get more of us excited about art

Get more of us excited about art

It is heartening to see the strides Singapore's art and cultural scene has taken over the years, and the growing support provided by the authorities is timely.

The Singapore Art Museum becoming an independent company is a move in the right direction, though it must be welcomed with caution ("Autonomy for Art Museum to chart its path"; last Saturday).

First, what constitutes good art will always be a matter of debate.

Allowing the art museum to leave the fold of the National Heritage Board suggests it will be more independent politically. But will such political independence be replaced by commercial dependence?

In the name of private-public partnerships, corporations and business people are contributing to the non-profit sector through donations and offering expertise in running organisations in an economically sustainable manner. This is laudable but there are consequences.

In the context of the arts, experience has shown that businesses and wealthy individuals have come to define what is quality art, albeit with the assistance of art consultants.

Their generous donations and sponsorships have increasingly come to shape art museums and influence the status of artists today.

Do we want wealthy collectors and corporations to define good art for our society?

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