S$740 million to restore and revive heritage-rich Civic District

A total of S$740 million will be spent to spruce up the Republic’s cultural institutions and landmarks in the Civic District, said Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong on Thursday (Mar 12).

These “significant investments” include works done on the National Gallery Singapore, dubbed the “new jewel of the Civic District” and the largest visual arts centre in the region, Mr Wong said during the Committee of Supply debate in Parliament.

For instance, a new Art Connector link the Gallery with City Hall MRT station is in the works. The connector will also include a community mural of self-potraits by Singaporeans.

The Gallery buildings themselves are “national icons” and its team has carefully restored the buildings and items found in them. One of the restoration works include that of a table specially designed in the 1920s for the former Supreme Court building, which has been used by seven Chief Justices in Singapore’s history, the minister said.

“The Gallery’s artworks are not yet ready, but we will have special sneak previews in April and May. This will allow Singaporeans to appreciate the Gallery’s architectural and historical significance,” Mr Wong said. “And when the Gallery opens in November, we will all get a chance to see some of the best visual art from Singaporean and South-east Asian masters.”

Other transformation works in the area include:

  • The Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) is completing its works this year, which include new Museum galleries and a new entrance opening onto the Singapore River.
  • A lawn will be created in the portion of Empress Place between ACM and Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, after the space has been paved. The lawn can be used for concerts and events.
  • The whole Civic District will be made more pedestrian friendly, with buildings connecting more smoothly to the waterfront and public artworks sprucing up the landscape.
  • The Esplanade is upgrading its Forecourt, which will be reopened in August. Once done, it will be a garden landscape with shaded areas and seating for people to gather and to view performances. Beyond 2015, the possibility of developing mid-sized theatres at the Esplanade is being explored.

  • Plans to enhance the Singapore Art Museum so that it is being properly conserved are being explored.
  • First major revamp of the National Museum of Singapore since it re-opened in 2006 will be completed this September. The Museum will be transformed by multimedia experiences, public art and interactive spaces. The displays will be refreshed to include artefacts spanning 700-odd years of history, and especially from our post-1965 years.
  • The new 8km commemorative trail, Jubilee Walk, will be launched this November, with clear markers to mark out the historic points along the trail.

“All of these are significant investments. It’s an important investment in our heritage, to remind us of the common history that unites us as a nation,” Mr Wong said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 Mar 2015

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