Over the past few weeks, my colleagues and I have been pretty busy with the National Art Gallery Open House. An open invitation to all Singaporeans and visitors to explore our future home – the regal and sprawling City Hall and Former Supreme Court buildings – the event drew tens of thousands of visitors over two days. I was heartened to note the warm and enthusiastic public responses, especially in exploring the two buildings (which is why we’re opening a second weekend for guided and self-guided tours on 16 and 17 October).
As is usual for large-scale events of this nature, temperatures did run high for some of us (both literally and metaphorically) but we’re happy to be able to resolve most of the teething issues over time. There were tonnes of people who swarmed the buildings, and its heartening to see such a wide spectrum of Singaporeans and visitors – grandpas and grandmas, families of all ages, kids, teens, young adults and tourists. It was also great to see how art and heritage could be celebrated in so many different forms.
Key highlights for me included the following:
– The drawing of public portraits by talented artists from the Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC)
– Hosting our friends from Barcamp Singapore for Barcamp 6, and participating in the talks
– Listening to the positive feedback of members of the public who went on the guided tours of both buildings
– Sampling delicious local fare from the Snack Fair like Kachang Puteh, Teh Tarik, Nasi Lemak and Charsiew Rice, and having my family join me for lunch
– Having a cup (or two) of Milo from the iconic Milo van
– Seeing a packed City Hall Chamber giving film maker Dr Ivan Polunin a standing ovation at the screening of “Lost Images”
– Being swept by sweet nostalgia when browsing through tin toys from yore being sold at the Flea Market, and feeling especially elated by the resurrection of the “Kalkitos” brand of children scratch-and-create art oriented magazine (and sharing that joy with my son)
– The warm pangs of pride after viewing the many happy, creative and positive wishes made by Singaporeans on the wishing board at the Visitors Corner
– Most especially experiencing the esprit de corps and camaraderie amongst members of the TNAGS family, working together to overcome last minute issues and challenges
It has been hard work and many sleepless nights for us, but we’re certainly happy to be doing this for all of you out there. The lessons learnt and heartfelt interactions which I have encountered certainly resonated deep within me.
Here are some photos from last Sunday for your viewing pleasure.
LAST CHANCE TO TOUR BOTH ORIGINAL BUILDINGS!
If you haven’t already done so, do consider visiting selected spaces at both buildings next weekend (16 and 17 Oct) through a self-guided tour (sorry, the guided tours are all fully booked and we’re really maxed out on manpower and volunteers).
Just download the brochure here, pick up your cameras and tripods, and go! Other than exploring spaces at both the former Supreme Court and City Hall Buildings, you can also view future perspectives of the National Art Gallery at the Special Exhibition Gallery on Level 1 of City Hall.
To find out more about the National Art Gallery, Singapore, do also check out and “Like” our Facebook fan page and to follow us on Twitter.