The Substation Gallery
45 Armenian Street Singapore, 179936
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm daily, dependent on exhibition
Directions: By public transportation – take MRT to Dhoby Ghaut or City Hall station; By car – exit CTE at Clemenceau Avenue or ECP at Rochor Road.
The Substation was the brainchild of the late theatre doyen Kuo Pao Kun, who in 1986 sent a proposal to the Government for the conversion of the former power substation into an arts centre.
The original building, which was built in 1926, was renovated and opened to the public as Singapore’s first arts centre of this kind on 16 Sep 1990.
This visionary move predated even the formation of the National Arts Council, and was the first such building to be listed in the Council’s Arts Housing Scheme when it was started.
As Singapore’s pioneer arts centre and under the artistic direction of Kuo Pao Kun, the Substation was key to the development of arts in Singapore, from the sprouting of many theatre companies around this period, to the new generation of visual artists who were inspired by new practices and ideas.
It was this humble former power station that sparked ideas and innovation in the arts, allowing artists to experiment, be it if they succeeded or not.
Its onsite gallery is part of The Substation’s programming which it curates, and it is also available to artists who serve up a diverse and challenging contemporary visual and performance art aesthetic.
Even today, the gallery serves to nurture and challenge artists and their thinking, honing the artistic process, encouraging and engaging new and emerging artists.
In fact, the gallery has hosted many early exhibitions of now acclaimed Singapore artists when they were just starting out. Some of the artists whose works have graced the gallery included Zai Kuning and Ho Tzu Nyen.