Arts & Sports

Disruption to arts and sports businesses due to COVID-19. Support for the self-employed in these sectors. Find out what we the participants have to say about the arts and sports sector.

Sustaining arts and sports

We recognise that COVID-19 has pushed the arts and sports communities to build up digital capabilities so that content and programmes can be made available online. Digital and blended presentations now provide us with new ways of experiencing the arts and sports, even from home. It also offers an alternative for businesses to sustain operations especially during the Circuit Breaker period.

Nonetheless, those of us who run sports and arts SMEs are concerned about COVID-19’s impact on our businesses. We hope that more sustainable business models will emerge in the post-pandemic new normal, including better protection of IP rights and pricing of works in the digital space. Those of us in the arts sector are concerned about the increased demand for free online arts content, while those in the sports sector are worried about catering to customers who want to participate in-person as certain sports (e.g. rock-climbing and swimming) do not lend themselves well to virtual participation formats. Smaller arts and sports groups may need to explore more collaborations, including with technology partners, to improve audience engagement and consumption. As business owners, we hope that the government can raise awareness on the criteria for certain grants to help tide us through the current crisis.

Appreciation for the arts sector

Those of us in the arts sector, or with friends and family members in the arts sector, hope to see greater appreciation and recognition of artists. Many of us feel that the arts builds common ground and shapes national identity, but has been undervalued compared to sectors like science and technology. We hope that Singaporeans can develop greater interest and passion for the arts – whether as practitioners or supporters. We also hope that Singapore can retain and grow our local talent, and that they can have sustainable and meaningful careers.

Those of us who are self-employed in the arts and sports sectors also hope to have more safety nets in place to buffer against unexpected crises. We appreciate the support from government, such as the Arts & Culture Resilience Package (ACRP), but there are still many who have had to leave the industry altogether. We suggest better access to resources and information on upskilling, career transitions, and support schemes for those whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic.