Art For All Ages

Published on 28 June 2018

How young families can get closer to the arts at the PAssionArts Festival 2018

Mention the word “art” and the first thing that may come to mind are the masterpieces that we enjoy from afar in the museums, concerts, or performances by professionals. Often, we don’t think of art as something that we can do, but as something that we can admire.

However, at the 7th edition of this year’s PAssionArts Festival, you can do both! From the 30th of June to the 25th of August, families can take part in over 500 art activities and programmes across 52 different festival villages islandwide.

Organisers Betty Sim and Fiona Koh speaking at the Animal Plank Art media preview


One such example of this is the Animal Plank Art exhibition, which is a National-Level Arts Initiative that involved over 15,000 residents. From the 30th of June to September, Singapore will be home to 1,000 new lions, giraffes and otters that represent the spirit of the festival. With the lion as our national symbol, this iconic animal stands for the love and pride of Singapore. The giraffe with its long neck represents “Art Volunteerism” and the Otter family signifies family doing arts together.


Each of these plank “animals” were designed by homegrown artists in collaboration with young families and residents. Betty Sim, secretary of Nanyang Community Arts and Culture Club and one of the organisers spearheading the Animal Plank Art initiative hopes to see more families coming together as a result of this programme. “Nowadays, the kids and even the parents are always playing on different screens. Even if they’re in the same room, they aren’t interacting as much. What I hope to do is bring back a sense of togetherness with this activity.” Over 15,000 residents and young families took part in the initiative this year, and Mrs Sim hopes that number continues to grow. “It’s encouraging to see so many people take part. There was even an entire family of 6, from the grandparents to the grandchildren, who all took part to make one plank together. As a grandmother myself, this warms my heart.”


From a volunteer’s perspective, teacher and volunteer, Jurah, says that it was an enriching and exciting teaching point for her and her kindergarten children. “Along with arts skills, the children are also learning about culture as well.”

The entire project took over 3 months to prepare, and will be on display around the estates and at prominent locations within the constituencies islandwide. The animals will be located at places within the estates like Punggol Park Connector and Chua Chu Kang Park. By celebrating the artworks in public spaces across the nation instead of a more formal exhibition setting, Betty hopes to be able to remind people that art is all around us.

The exhibition is already ongoing, but if you would still like a chance to make animal plank art for yourself, head down to the Bukit Timah PAssionArts Village on the 21st of July, from 5:30 pm onwards, for a final workshop! If animal plank art doesn’t suit your fancy, other eco-arts workshops will also be available, such as, screen-printing on organic cotton, string art with upcycled materials, and doodling.

Besides animal plank art, the PAssionArts Festival has many other hands-on activities for parents, kids and the youth to get involved in the arts.


The Pasir Ris Beach Arts Festival will be transforming the shore into a Neverland of imagination! With colourful tee-pee huts and art inspired by Peter Pan’s paradise, visitors will be invited to ignite their sense of wonder and imagination. Play beach volleyball amongst a mega installation and be inspired by the unique characters co-created with 30 families.

Or, get hands-on with art at 4 different engagement activities with local artists! Parent-and-child music and dance workshops will also be available so that families can get active with their children. For the more independent, there is even an activity where guests can self-direct their own art installations.


For those yearning for a more nostalgic feel, Aljunied GRC has organised a contemporary co-creation project called Coming Home: The Playfully Five. Based on the different perspectives of home, Aljunied residents have come together to discuss the different memories of the Singapore story. To commemorate our bygone days, the festival village will become a giant crocodile farm playground. From the 1970s until the 2000s, Upper Serangoon Road used to be home to a crocodile farm that residents miss and fondly remember. Now, visitors will get a chance to see these exotic animals “live” through the playful 3D sculptures that artists and the Aljunied residents have made.

For the culturally conscious, admire a batik umbrella canopy art installation where over 1,000 batik umbrellas made by the Tampines residents will be on display at Our Tampines Hub. Visitors will also get a chance to make their own batik umbrellas. Each umbrella made can also be exchanged for a bag of rice that will be donated to underprivileged families and homes in Tampines.

The PAssionArts Festival 2018 will be held from the 30th of June – the 25th of August at various venues all over Singapore. As one of Singapore’s largest community arts events, the festival offers over 500 art programmes across 52 different festival villages. Join the PAssionArts online community at


Download the Festival Guidebook here.

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