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New space for street artists along Rail Corridor

SINGAPORE — Street artists will have a new and, possibly, largest space yet to showcase their works: The walls underneath the Commonwealth Avenue viaduct, which is along the Rail Corridor.

SINGAPORE — Street artists will have a new and, possibly, largest space yet to showcase their works: The walls underneath the Commonwealth Avenue viaduct, which is along the Rail Corridor.

The two 40m by 5m walls beneath the viaduct, which street artists can use to hone their skills for one year — starting in January — are much larger than other existing spaces, such as the 30m by 2m space at the National Youth Council or the 9m by 2m panels at Somerset Skate Park.

Urban art collective RSCLS will be curating the space. Its founder Zul Othman, who goes by the moniker Zero, hailed it as a “great move ... especially for younger artists who are just starting out and are looking for space to practise their art”.

“They might not have contacts or even know the areas where they can do their graffiti, so providing this space will help them develop their skills,” the 34-year-old said.

The idea behind setting aside this space, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), is to “inject more vibrancy and community involvement into the Rail Corridor and provide a unique experience for users of this public space”.

Involving the community in enlivening public spaces through good design and programmes was one of the initiatives the URA launched in its Draft Master Plan 2013 released last month.

Said URA Senior Director for Physical Planning Tan See Nin: “The Rail Corridor is currently a recreational space with many people strolling, jogging and cycling along the trail and enjoying the green landscapes along the way. We would like the Rail Corridor to be a place for shared experiences and community bonding as well.”

Agreeing, Mr Zul said there will be more opportunities for street artists using the new space to interact with those who frequent the Rail Corridor. To raise awareness among the public about street art, RSCLS will also organise activities such as a street art jam.

National Arts Council Director of Arts and Youth Kenneth Kwok noted that street artists and their work “are an exciting part of Singapore’s diverse and vibrant arts scene”.

By providing street artists with such dedicated art spaces, it is hoped that they can express themselves and practise their craft, he added. “This is critical to the development of the Singapore street art scene, which the council will continue to support through grants, spaces and public engagement about the value of street art.”

The Rail Corridor has been the venue for several community events, such as mass runs and carnivals, so far. Last year, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was converted to host a fashion event by Female and Nuyou magazines. The second edition of the Green Corridor Run, scheduled to be held in May next year, will start at the railway station.

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