Singapore Art Museum embarks on a new direction to bring art closer to its audiences and into everyday spaces

Singapore Art Museum embarks on a new direction to bring art closer to its audiences and into everyday spaces

Singapore Art Museum

Artist’s rendering of the Singapore Art Museum entrance at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, the museum’s new contemporary art space opening in early 2022. Courtesy Singapore Art Museum.

August 18, 2021
Singapore Art Museum embarks on a new direction to bring art closer to its audiences and into everyday spaces
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Singapore Art Museum (SAM) announced its new strategic direction, aligned with its refreshed vision and mission to inspire humane and sustainable futures through transformative and meaningful encounters with art of our times. Challenging the notion of a museum as a single physical space that houses artworks for visitors, SAM will infuse art into the everyday by presenting in unexpected spaces around Singapore and actively collaborate with partners and communities to drive positive change.

To mark the announcement of its new direction, SAM has rolled out the SAM Museum In Action (M.I.A.) campaign, which will invite audiences to be a part of its quest to bring art into the everyday and co-create at SAM’s spaces. The name of the campaign is a deliberate play on the acronym of “M.I.A.,” more commonly understood as “missing in action.” The campaign will also feature selected works from SAM’s National Collection and special artist commissions, limited-edition collectible sticker packs that are reminiscent of SAM’s visitor stickers and an emblem of the museum will be made available for redemption.

“With SAM’s heritage buildings closed for redevelopment, it presented us with an opportunity to assess what it means for us to be a museum today and examine our relationship to our community and to the greater society. Going beyond our four walls will enable SAM to evolve as an outward-looking art space that is open for new ideas, healthy debates and collaborative exchanges across communities. We want to make it possible for everyone to experience and be inspired by art, and to better understand the world through the art we present. Our ambition is to diffuse art across multiple spaces, and we hope to connect and resonate emotionally with more people through art and bring communities together to collectively imagine a better future,” says Dr Eugene Tan, Director of SAM.

Transforming spaces for art experiences and programmes 
With a plan to roll out art experiences and presentations to audiences in different physical and virtual spaces over the next few years, SAM will begin with the opening of a new space in early 2022. Taking over an industrial, expansive warehouse space at Tanjong Pagar Distripark spanning two floors and over 3,000 square metres, SAM will offer innovative and experimental art experiences, as well as new spaces for community interactions. Apart from presenting bold and new exhibitions which are interdisciplinary and technologically-driven in nature, the versatile space will also be able to present large-scale contemporary art installations and host groups of visitors comfortably in two climate-controlled gallery spaces. It will also house the SAM Residencies studios and open spaces for social interaction and engagement.

Conserving SAM’s heritage buildings for the future
As SAM takes art programming into everyday spaces and closer to audiences, the museum’s heritage buildings at Bras Basah Road and Queen Street will continue to be key venues where the public can encounter and engage with art in meaningful ways. Currently closed for redevelopment and slated for completion in 2026, the project will now focus on critical works to conserve both the National Monument building of the old St. Joseph’s Institution and the old Catholic High School building. The extended closure of the buildings will present SAM an opportunity to reimagine the notion of a museum as a single physical space.

Deepening roots and connections with different constituents through art 
SAM seeks to rethink the museum’s relationships with the art community, partners, and audiences by engaging them in active collaboration and co-creation, as well as enabling connections between the different constituents. The introduction of new initiatives will allow the museum to work more closely and collaboratively with the art community, and also provide opportunities for artists to co-create and interact with the wider public. SAM will deepen its engagement with different communities through a range of upcoming programmes, including Art in the Commons, SAM Residencies at Tanjong Pagar Distripark and the new SAM Fellowship programme.

For more information, please visit our website for the latest updates.

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August 18, 2021

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