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CHECK OUT THE 'HOOD: Arts Imprints Around My Neighbourhood, a music and storytelling trail led by Young Artist Award recipient Quek Ling Kiong.

CHECK OUT THE 'HOOD: 3D Tic-Tac-Toe by Angela Chong, a light installation which will be showcased in Woodlands.

CHECK OUT THE 'HOOD: The Real Estates - Toa Payoh Edition by Jean Loo, a series of photographs contributed by over 40 photography enthusiasts.

Let the arts come to you

Arts in Your Neighbourhood returns, with a focus on Toa Payoh this time.
Mar 25, 2016 5:50 AM

HAVE you ever wondered what your neighbourhood looks like from someone else's eyes? If the sights, smells and sounds you hear are all there is, or if there's more yet to discover? The newest season of Arts in Your Neighbourhood returns with a new neighbourhood-based focus - and this time, it's Toa Payoh.

Chua Ai Liang, director of the arts & communities at the National Arts Council (NAC), says: "In the past, it was very much about the range of different arts experiences, but this season, and moving forward, we want to focus on individual locales. Toa Payoh was a good choice to start with because it's one of our oldest satellite towns. This gives the artists a lot of rich history to work with."

Started in 2014, Arts in Your Neighbourhood is a bi-annual programme that aims to bring the arts nearer to the people. Ms Chua, who has been with NAC since its inception, explains: "While accessibility isn't an issue in the local arts community, we wanted to broaden the reach and give more people the opportunity to interact with the arts. That way, it becomes a known entity to them instead of something unfamiliar."

Of the 27 activities taking place over the three-week programme, six will be in Toa Payoh, two of which are new commissions drawing inspiration from the neighbourhood. The others will be spread over 14 other neighbourhoods including Ang Mo Kio, Jurong, Yew Tee, and Tanglin Halt. Ms Chua says: "We try to make sure the programme is spread geographically so it broadly covers the whole island, instead of just being concentrated in the city centre."

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The first of these is The Real Estates - Toa Payoh Edition, a tapestry of photographs contributed by more than 40 photography enthusiasts. Members of the public are encouraged to add their thoughts and memories of the place as well.

Ms Chua, 59, says: "I think people nowadays have more affinity for artworks that involve engagement as opposed to static pieces."

The other commissioned piece is Arts Imprints Around My Neighbourhood by Young Artist Award recipient Quek Link Kiong, who, along with other musicians, leads a musical storytelling trail through the area's landmarks.

It's not just new art that's being showcased, however. The installation 3D Tic-Tac-Toe by Angela Chong has been featured at iLight Marina Bay 2014 as well as the ArtScience Museum, but will now make an appearance in Woodlands.

Ms Chua says: "It's a light installation which allows you to play the nostalgia game, and we thought this would be a fun way to engage families, who are our main target demographic."

Aside from reaching new audiences, Arts in Your Neighbourhood also helps artists broaden their experiences. Ms Chua notes: "It's a fantastic platform for them to share their creative expression in a community setting and in non-traditional spaces."

She adds that the programme has grown a lot from when it first started, as audiences weren't as quick to applaud or respond to interactive pieces. But since last year, she notes: "The passivity that was displayed before has been replaced with enthusiasm, and we have people asking us when the next season is before the current one has even finished!"

[Amendment Note]: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Ms Chua's name as Chua Ai Ling instead of Chua Ai Liang. The article above has been revised to reflect this.


  • Arts in Your Neighbourhood will be held until March 27 at various locations island-wide. For more information, please visit