Forget what they say about Singapore being expensive. From mouthwatering hawker food to lush hiking trails, there's much to keep you occupied without breaking the bank. If you're an art lover, the city is awash with the vibrant colours of public murals and sculptures – and not to mention, free entry into most public museums for residents. Here's the ultimate guide to where you can see free art in Singapore. Now go forth and get cultured without paying a dime.
The best free museums in Singapore
Singapore may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but good things need not necessarily have to come at a price. These free museums are the perfect day activity for tourists looking to find out more about our nation's history and culture and are also great for locals who want to rediscover what their homeland has to offer. The next time you have a free weekend, tick one (or two) museums off this list. Get cultured without having to spend a dime – because sometimes the best things in life really are free. RECOMMENDED The best museums in Singapore and the best urban art trails in Singapore
The best public art trails in Singapore
There’s a good reason why spending time in an art museum takes more than merely an hour. As art junkies, we need a fair amount of time to appreciate and soak up the views of one artwork before moving onto the next. But are art exhibitions and galleries ever enough? The answer is no. From one art type to another, we’ve rounded the best free-and-easy art trails to peep the city’s street art, ranging from 2D murals to 3D sculptures. RECOMMENDED: Must-see art exhibitions in Singapore and the best museums in Singapore
The best sculpture trails in Singapore
Whoever says Singapore is only filled with modern skyscrapers, HDB flats and traditional shophouses needs some serious schooling. Fact, the city is peppered with a plethora of public art that captures our imagination, from street art to sculptures. From a giant, floating baby in the gardens to a mythical lion-fish creature by the waterfront, this sculpture trail makes for an enlightening walk that combines art and nature together. The best bit? It’s art without charge. RECOMMENDED: The best public art trails in Singapore and the best street art in Singapore
Track down these beautiful art pieces in MRT stations around Singapore
You’ve probably walked by them numerous times during your daily commute. But the next time you breeze past these works of art, maybe slow down and take some time to appreciate their beauty. After all, these pieces of public art housed within Singapore's otherwise banal MRT stations capture our city's creativity, history and culture. As a part of the Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s Art in Transit programme, you can find murals, sculptures, mosaics and other mediums of art by some of Singapore’s top artists as well as emerging ones. Look up – these are some to pay attention to. RECOMMENDED: The best public art trails in Singapore and the best street art in Singapore
Haji Lane is home to Singapore's first outdoor gallery
Any itinerary or guide to Singapore will mention the Haji Lane district for its eclectic shops, vibrant bars, and unique wall murals. In fact, the eccentric murals have become one of its main attractions. Now, you can find Singapore's first outdoor gallery in the historical precinct. Called the Gelam Gallery, it debuts at the back alleys of Kampong Gelam – Glam – where two parallel walls of Muscat Street feature framed pieces alongside wall murals and splashes of graffiti. Spearheaded by Colorinc with support from the Singapore Tourism Board, the project has transformed the dingy back alleyways into an outdoor art gallery. The back lanes of Muscat Street have been converted from a dirty bin storage area to a colourful and vibrant outdoor gallery, that'll look good as your next Instagram backdrop. Mural by artists Nicia, Yullis and Novena. Gelam Gallery features an international eclectic mix of artists' art pieces from Singapore, Malaysia, China, Myanmar, France, and the UK. You will find over 30 artworks by local and international artists – ranging from professionals to graduates from Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, as well as self-taught artists from various professional backgrounds. Whether it's a pop culture-inspired wall by multi-disciplinary artist PrettyFreakyFantasy or a bold, terrestrial piece by graphic designer Liyana Farzana, the different murals fuse brilliantly to create the city's first outdoor gallery. If you've got no
The best street art in Singapore
There's more to this city than meets the eye. In between our shiny skyscrapers and towering metal cranes, there are plenty of Insta-worthy urban artworks that simply take our breath away. From the graffiti that’s hidden in plain sight to pieces that lurk away in the backstreets, there are still some things about our little city that might still surprise you. We pick ten of our favourite murals around town and let you know where to find them. Start snappin' those pics for the 'gram! RECOMMENDED: The best urban art trails in Singapore and the best contemporary art galleries in Singapore
6 graffiti artists in Singapore you should know
Born in ’70s New York, street art has since evolved from its humble origins. Gone are the days where it's seen as illegal vandalism. Instead, this worldwide movement is celebrated on social media. Locally, street art adds vibrancy to our neighbourhoods and events like the Aliwal Urban Art Festival and Culture Cartel commission exclusive murals by Singapore’s top artists. These are some that tag and spray bare white walls with colour, turning them (and our city) into works of art. RECOMMENDED: The best street art in Singapore and the best urban art trails in Singapore
The best secret museums in Singapore to explore
For those intrigued by the underdogs, there are many hidden museums dotted around Singapore. Need a crash course on the Japanese Occupation in Singapore? There's a building for that. Want to be in a turtle nirvana? It's in Yishun. Come on out and get your artsiest pants on, these are the best secret museums in the city.
The most iconic public sculptures in Singapore
Besides high-rise buildings, ATM machines and 7-11 stores, another common sight in Singapore's CBD is public sculptures. You've probably seen bronze works by local sculptor Chong Fah Cheong along the Singapore River, or the iconic chubby bird outside the UOB Plaza. But did you also know that we have a few of Salvador Dali's masterpieces around? The next time you're wandering around the city, pay attention to these public sculptures and the story behind each piece. You'll probably learn a new thing or two about art. #cultured. RECOMMENDED: Best urban art trails in Singapore and upcoming theatre and dance performances in Singapore.
The ultimate guide to Gillman Barracks in Singapore
When it comes to catching some art, the big guns like National Gallery Singapore and ArtScience Museum are first to spring to mind. But there's way more art to see in the city than at the major institutions – we're talking art that lines the streets, art that takes shapes in various forms and also contemporary art that calls Gillman Barracks home. Originally built in 1936 as a military encampment for the British Army, this art enclave now houses over ten galleries located in five buildings. It's easy to get lost in the massive compound, so we've mapped out the galleries to see, the restaurants to catch a break and the play space for families. RECOMMENDED: The best museums in Singapore and the best contemporary art galleries in Singapore
The best free exhibitions
tropics, a many (con)sequence
Singapore-based artist, filmmaker, and curator Kent Chan's works explore the tropical imagination and the relationship between moving images and the modern city. The works and practices of others often form the locus of his works that have taken the form of film, text, conversations, and exhibitions. tropics, a many (con)sequence locates Kent Chan’s film Seni as the exhibition’s locus, inquiring on the tropical imaginary that continues to frame aesthetics and artistic identities.
From Brush to Lens: Early Chinese Photography Studios in Singapore
A picture is worth a thousand words, even tales from the yesteryears. Let Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall transport you back in time in its latest exhibition featuring photographs taken by early Chinese photography studios. Uncover the stories of Chinese portrait painters who learned photography and later immigrated to Singapore to set up photography studios after the First Opium War. The early Chinese Photography studio contributed to documenting Singapore's colonial history from the 1890s.
Wartime Artists of Vietnam: Drawings and Posters from the Ambassador Dato’ N. Parameswaran Collection
Don't miss this remarkable collection of 1,208 wartime artworks – one of the largest known private collection of its kind outside of Vietnam – consisting of 858 drawings in various media, 143 hand-painted posters, 74 printed posters, 74 woodcuts, 46 photographs, and 13 paintings. The pieces were loaned by Ambassador Dato' N. Parameswaran, and formed his collection during his tenure as Malaysia's Ambassador to Vietnam from 1990 to 1993. The focus is placed on the works of eight key artists who were assigned to the front as war artists by the government in Hanoi, and includes supporting texts and excerpts of poems and memoirs.
Seekor Singa, Seorang Putera, dan Sebingkai Cermin: Reflecting and Refracting Singapura
The Malay Heritage Centre is housing a very special exhibition that invites all to explore Singapore's significance in the maritime world. Go back in time and watch it all unveiled through the lens of various Malay world perspectives and indigenous material culture, juxtaposed against European colonial sources. Through resurfacing these earlier histories, narratives and representations, the exhibition showcases multiple contexts to reveal how the Malay community is formed in nineteenth-century Singapore, and aims to expand historiographies of Singapore and its connections to the region.