The National Gallery of Singapore and Singapore Art Museum are definitely listed as Singapore’s must-sees for the first-time visitor.
For the artsy traveller, who’s already been there and done that, why not venture further to unusual art destinations in Singapore? Check out these off-the-beaten-track venues for an inspiring array of venues for film, photography, design, and of course, modern and contemporary art.
Surrounded by lush greenery, this arts enclave is home to nearly a dozen contemporary art galleries. Formerly the site of a former military camp, it has a history that dates back to the 1930s. There’s a special section, Playeum, for the children; its artist-led workshops and provided craft tools makes art extra fun for the little ones.
Film buffs should head to The Projector, an independent cinema that screens an eclectic mix of arthouse, horror, cult classics, and indie films. It boasts a range of films and documentaries from the documentary Brave Miss World to Oscar-winning films such as Spotlight and Amy.
This cinema took over the halls of the Golden Theatre, formerly the biggest cinema in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1970s. Most of the original fittings and decor have been kept or restored; its beautiful spiral staircase remains a popular spot for Instagram moments.
Screenings change regularly; so check its website for details.
The Screening Room
Enjoy a leisurely evening at this venue: catch a film, dine on Mediterranean and Western fare, and then sip on chic cocktails, all in one location. This one-stop after hours destination does movie screenings daily from Mondays to Saturdays, based on monthly themes that vary from food (The Hundred-foot Journey), love (Notting Hill) and Spanish films (Pan’s Labyrinth).
Red Dot Design Museum
Obsessed with all things design-related? This museum is a must-visit as it showcases over 1,000 exhibits, including winning designs from the annual International Red Dot Design Award. You can even purchase some of these award-winning designs from the museum shop — just the right souvenirs to take home with you.
The museum also runs MAAD (Market of Artists And Designers), held on the last Friday of each month. At this artsy night market, you’ll find the creative wares of artists and crafts makers, accompanied by live music performed by local indie artists.
National Design Centre
Examine 50 years of Singapore design and discover the many creative innovations created through the years after Singapore’s independence. This permanent exhibition at the design centre covers everything from environmental design and visual communications to fashion and accessories.
There’s a chic museum shop within the design centre, too; it’s operated by Hong Kong multi-label boutique Kapok — retailing both Singapore and international fashion and lifestyle brands not available elsewhere in the city.
The Museum of Art & Design (MAD)
Join fellow enthusiasts and be "MAD" about art and design. This private art museum showcases works by famous art masters and up-and-coming artists and designers side by side, creating a truly eclectic collection for culture vultures and curious onlookers to admire.
Satisfy your appetite at its unique adjoining Japanese-meets-Western bistro, before, or after, the art-viewing.
Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI)
Learn more about print and paper making at this art workshop facility, which is one of the largest in Asia. This print institute also holds seasonal exhibitions for its artists in residence such as Singapore artist Jane Lee and Indonesian artist Christine Ay Tjoe. Do sign up for the guided tour for an in-depth explanation of the works on display.
Keen to attempt papermaking with your hands? Check out the workshop listings on the STPI website for more details — classes are conducted once a month.
This unusual art gallery is housed in former cargo containers, creatively assembled to form a multi-storey art space. Past and present events include Club Berlin: Electronic Music and Photography, a music and photography exhibition on the the club scene in Berlin. The venue also holds artist talks and book launches.
While you’re there, do check out its cosy photography library, which is open to visitors on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Try your hand at creating your very own exclusive piece of painting at this boutique art tea house. As part of its ‘art jamming’ three-hour package, you’ll get all the painting tools you need at your disposal (eg. canvas), as well as a beverage of your choice. You can also find this similar activity at cafes and studios such as Cups N Canvas, Museo and Arthaus.
Inspired to start on an artsy excursion soon? Read this list for more art venues to explore in Singapore.