Learn, shop and chill out

Learn, shop and chill out

An art museum is not the only thing to be found at the revamped Fort Canning Arts Centre. PATRICIA LEE finds out what else you can do.

1 Wine and dine

You will find a mix of familiar favourites and new names among the four food and beverage outlets.

For those who believe art is best served with an aperitif or two, there is Fort by Maison Ikkoku. Its first venture outside the institution in Kandahar Street, this branch will serve those famed handcrafted cocktails both straight and infused into its dishes.

Owner and chef Ethan Leong says he applied the same technique of balancing flavours used to concoct cocktails to create the menu. Think Singapore Sling Carpaccio for an appetiser and calamansi sorbet with limoncello for dessert.

Families, meanwhile, can head to Myra's and Giovanni L Cafe Deluxe & Seattle Pike Chowder for comfort food.

A one-stop destination for Mexican, Indian and Italian fare, Myra's spread runs from nachos to juicy tandoori chicken and 10-inch New York-style pizzas.

Giovanni L Cafe Deluxe & Seattle Pike Chowder, on the other hand, zooms in on just two treats: chowder for those with a taste for the savoury and gelato for those who prefer the sweet.

Fittingly for a complex anchored by a French private museum, quintessential French bistro Brasserie Balzac completes the line-up. Formerly located at Rendezvous Gallery, it reopens here after a five-month hiatus.

Its owner Jean-Charles Dubois, who was former chef de cuisine at Raffles Grill, says: "I'll be keeping old favourites such as lobster bisque, wagyu beef cheek and Moelleux on the menu, but also adding new classics."

The 40-seat bistro will be more intimate and has outdoor seating, so guests can soak in the charming views of Fort Canning Hill.

2 Take a class

An extension of founder Marc Restellini's vision to make art accessible, Singapore Pinacotheque Art Academy is the museum's educational arm.

"We want this to be a living school," says Ms Suguna Madhavan, chief executive officer of Art Heritage Singapore. "It's not just about looking at things academically, but also interacting with the art. We even cater to kids under seven."

The classes range from practical studio sessions with paints and canvas to highly specialised lectures that delve into topics such as Art In The Age Of Faith and When Did Contemporary Art Replace Modernism?.

The starting point of these is the works in the permanent collections.

For example, students may be invited to discuss Primitivism after looking at a Picasso painting in the Collections Gallery or the Neolithic age on a walk through the Heritage Gallery.

Classes start from $48.

The Singapore Pinacotheque Art Academy has tapped its extensive network to assemble a team of experts. Teachers include practitioners such as Singaporean painter Cleo Thang, artist and former Buddhist monk Toby Ouvry, art historian Claire Kwiatkowski and Tony Godfrey, who was director of research at Sotheby's Institute of Art in Singapore for 21 years.

Companies or individuals who want a more customised experience can opt for bespoke classes. Restellini is available to coach these classes on themes such as building a first collection and investing in art.

3 Buy a gift

The museum's gift shop, La Boutique Pinacotheque, will bring out the art-oholic in everyone.

Those who want a simple memento of their visit will find a line of Pinacotheque de Paris products from totes to magnets, T-shirts and pencils. Prices are not available at press time.

Want a masterpiece to go? Then check out its range of postcards featuring key works in the galleries.

And for book lovers, it offers titles including Phaidon's coffee-table tome Art In Vienna 1898-1918 and best-selling illustrator Herve Tullet's Game Of Patterns for kids.

Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris will also house the latest Arch store.

A presence in landmarks such as Raffles Hotel, Gardens by the Bay and the Esplanade, it sells intricately handcrafted woodcuts and miniatures of the city's heritage buildings and landscapes.


Getting there

Where: Fort Canning Arts Centre, 5 Cox Terrace, between Hotel Fort Canning and Fort Canning Green

MRT: The closest stations are Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah.

Visitors can take the escalators built into the slope next to the National Museum of Singapore up to Fort Canning Hill; or enter Park Mall, take the lift to Level 4 and walk through the carpark to Fort Canning Hill.

The entrance to Cox Terrace, where the arts centre is located, is along Percival Road.

Car:Park at Fort Canning's Carpark B

Info: For more details, go to www.pinacotheque.com.sg

Opening hours

Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris museum:10am to 7.30pm (Sunday to Thursday); 10am to 8.30pm (Friday and Saturday)

Ticketing counter: 9.30am to 6.30pm (Sunday to Thursday); 9.30am to 7.30pm (Friday and Saturday)

Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris Art

Academy: 10am to 8.30pm daily

La Boutique Pinacotheque (museum shop):10am to 8pm (Sunday to Thursday); 10am to 9pm (Friday and Saturday)


The Collections Gallery: $11 to $14 for adults; $9 to $14 for senior citizens; $7.50 to $10 for students and national servicemen; $5.50 for children aged three to six who are not residents in Singapore; free for children aged three to six who are residents in Singapore. Family packages from $34 to $53 are available.

The Features Gallery: $18 to $22 for adults; $16 to $21 for senior citizens; $12 to $15 for students and national servicemen; $6.50 for children aged three to six who are not residents in Singapore; free for children aged three to six who are residents in Singapore. Family packages from $55 to $81 are available.

The Heritage Gallery: Free

This article was first published on May 28, 2015.
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