The livelihoods across many industries have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic both in Singapore and worldwide, but this is particularly the case for professionals in the performing arts sector in the country.
The country’s creative art scene has taken a big financial toll since February 2020 due to the pandemic. As precautions against the spread, entertainment venues have been shut down while productions and events have been cancelled. Local freelancers, creative, and independent artists have been unavoidably impacted hard by this.
Around 47 per cent of Singapore’s arts workers are freelancers, according to the National Arts Council. This figure is more than the national proportion of the country’s resident labour force at 14 per cent.
Financial pressure is squeezing members of the performing arts community – self-employed and freelance performers, directors, stage crew, musicians, designers, choreographers, and playwrights – in the midst of future work remaining uncertain and projects stuck at a standstill.
Hence, a campaign to raise S$100,000 for an emergency relief has been started by Pasar Glamour, named the ‘Pasar Glamour Art Aid’.
Singapore and PR freelancers working in the live performing arts scene in the country will receive immediate and urgent financial aid (one-off S$500 grants).
Funding matched dollar-for-dollar
With an anonymous donor as the benefactor, any donation to this fund will be matched by this non-profit enterprise up to a maximum amount of S$50,000.
The funds were obtained from a generous gift by the anonymous donor as well as the monies raised at the Pasar Glamour’s pre-loved charity sale last year.
The current funding is said to be enough to support 100 individuals.
“By matching dollar for dollar, we hope to raise $100,000 and support more freelancers in need…We would like to help at least 200 freelancers with heavy financial burdens cope temporarily, while our performing venues remain closed,” noted Janice Koh, the co-founder of Pasar Glamour.
Aside from Ms Koh, other co-founders include actresses Petrina Kow and Pam Oei. The charity drive helps to raise funds by partnering with many volunteers, celebrity donors, and homegrown designers. These funds benefit not only the arts, but also charities assisting disadvantaged children and women in the country.
The reason for the fund
Performing art freelancers who have lost income overnight and now struggling to earn a living in this difficult time will be the recipient of emergency fund.
Speaking to Channels News Asia (CNA), Ms Koh remarked that the trio were glad that measures have been bolstered by the government to support freelance and self-employed workers.
“However, there will be many performing arts freelancers who may fall through the cracks because they are not eligible for government support…Pasar Glamour Art Aid is set up to specifically help those who have lost contracted jobs due to the sudden cancellation or postponement of shows, as well as the closure of entertainment venues,” Ms Koh explained.
Ray of Hope
Pasar Glamour particularly chose to partner with Ray of Hope, who is a member of the National Council of Social Service, “because of their experience and expertise in verifying the needs of the beneficiaries, especially those from vulnerable backgrounds,” the organisers said.
They added that donors can be at ease that donations will be properly handled because Ray of Hope is a registered charity with yearly audited accounts.
“They are a crowdfunding platform where 100 per cent of all donations go to the beneficiaries,” stated Ms Oei stated. “It is important that our fundraising and disbursement process is transparent to our donors.”
The smallest donation counts
Any amount of donation is welcomed and much appreciated, and Ms Koh would like the public to know that.
“This is an opportunity for arts audiences in Singapore to give back in some small way. And we hope the public will step up to donate. If you are in a position to give, we will match your donation so that your contribution will go a longer way in helping the Singapore performing arts scene,” she said.
“Our performing arts practitioners have played a vital role in Singapore’s cultural life and creativity. And if our freelancers, which make up almost 50 per cent of the arts scene, can’t weather the storm, it will be extremely challenging for the state of the arts in Singapore,” Ms Koh concluded.
Further information regarding the event can be found here.