Sculpture Square exits Middle Road

Sculpture Square exits Middle Road
Sculpture Square near at the junction of Middle Road and Waterloo Street.

Once the only arts space dedicated to sculpture and three-dimensional arts in Singapore, the Sculpture Square will no longer have a permanent exhibition space by the end of the month.

The non-profit, independent arts group will vacate its home of 15 years in Middle Road following its final exhibition, Postcards From The Future, which ends on Friday.

This change comes as the arts group seeks to be more flexible in bringing artists and their works to audiences.

Sculpture Square's chairman Richard Helfer, 64, says: "Since Sculpture Square was founded in 1999, it has continued to evolve... and we now have a broader and more open view of 3D contemporary art forms than when we did in 1999.

"The results of this evolution and our rethinking of our intent and vision has made us realise that in the present landscape, the accomplishment of our vision and mission is best served by not being venue-specific.

Rather, we feel that the flexibility to work with different venues and organisations allows us to connect artists and their works better with a broader audience base."

An example of its partnership with various venues and organisations is the art consultancy projects it has undertaken with partners at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and the upcoming hotel and hospital complex, Connexion, in Farrer Park.

Dr Helfer adds that the group's focus will remain unchanged as it works to promote 3D contemporary art forms, support emerging artists here and in the region, and educate new audiences on the appreciation of such works.

The idea for Sculpture Square was first proposed by architect-sculptor Sun Yu-Li due to a lack of exhibition venues for sculpture in the civic district.

Since its founding in 1999, Sculpture Square has has been located at 155 Middle Road, at the junction of Waterloo Street, occupying the grounds of a former church and its iconic Gothic chapel, built in 1870.

In its time at Middle Road, Sculpture Square has offered sculptors, installation artists and curators opportunities to cut their teeth and show their works to a wider audience.

Artists such as Chng Seok Tin, Cheong Fah Chong and Teo Eng Seng are among those whose works have shown in galleries there.

The place has also held sculpture carnivals that introduced young children to sculpture and threedimensional forms of art.

Before Sculpture Square took over the premises, it was used as a car workshop and, earlier on, for a time during World War II, the chapel was converted into a Chinese restaurant.

The National Arts Council, which owns the building, will conduct an open call for one, or more, new tenants to take over the place.

Mr Paul Tan, 42, deputy chief executive of the council, says: "We envisage 155 Middle Road to be a vibrant visual arts space, with quality programming for the arts lover and it will certainly add to the diversity of arts offerings in the Bras-Basah-Bugis district."

Operations of the popular Middle Eastern restaurant Artichoke and bakery Overdoughs, which share the premises, are not affected.

This article was published on Aug 5 in The Straits Times.

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