TheSmartLocal – Singapore’s Leading Travel and Lifestyle Portal

Skip to content

10 Exciting Hands-on Activities You Can Do At The Arts Open House

What To Expect At The Arts Open House


You might not pen poems in the moonlight, or know how to appreciate the artworks of Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh; but none of that matters at the upcoming ‘The Arts Open House’.

This month, The Arts House is flinging open its doors to everyone and anyone. Leave your traditional perceptions of literary art at the door, and prepare to discover a whole new world!

This March, participate in a slew of unexpected programmes which are based on or inspired by literature. There are both exciting literary art and visual art activities – from storytelling and batik painting for kids, to making your own mini book necklace and attending art journaling workshop – there’s something for every budding artist or even the casual art appreciator.

Here are 10 exciting hands-on activities that keep your hands full at the Arts Open House.


1. Make a fashion statement with your handmade book necklace


This has to be the ultimate fashion piece for all the bookworms out there. Show off both your reading and creative prowess with your very own mini case bound book necklace!

This mini book necklace is so much more than just a fashion accessory. From jotting down your random thoughts, to keeping your favourite quotes and phrases close to your heart; we just know that this ingenious creation is bound to come in handy one day.

Time: 11am – 1pm
Location: Living Room
Fee: $50
Register here.


2. Enjoy a cuppa and a haiku cupcake



Eating a cupcake has never been so intellectual. These are no ordinary vanilla-frosted cupcakes – they’re special creations from The Ugly Cake Shop, and feature specially commissioned haikus from Dr Gwee Li Sui!

For just $3.80 to $4.50, score yourself a delicious cupcake in the flavours of Big Daddy Jr (Super Chocolatey with Nutella & Valrhona), Juliana (Salted Caramel with Sea Salt Flakes), Trisha (Vanilla with a Kiss of Lemon), and Zesty Zee (Lemon Heaven). Plus, a haiku for you to ponder over on your journey home.

Look out for the special bundle prices available on the day itself! Pair it with a cup of freshly brewed cup of coffee from Kaki Kopi Geng, and you’ll get a perfect afternoon filled with good food and poetry.

Time: 11am – 6pm
Location: Gallery 1
Fee: $3.80 to $4.50 (Special bundle prices are available on event day as well)


3. Listen to exciting batik tales


In today’s digital age, many of us are simply too lazy to read. If you’re guilty as charged, your other options are not limited to just audiobooks. Why not opt for something even better – complete with a visual treat?

No, I’m not talking about TV dramas or movies. Come listen to folktales about Sang Kancil, the clever mouse deer, as told by master storyteller, Kamini Ramachandran. In a unique collaboration, batik artist, Sadali Musbah does an incredible job bringing the characters to life on batik as the story is being told. Be a part of reviving the oral narrative tradition!

Time: 11am
Location: Blue Room
Fee: Free
Note: Babies and toddlers will not be permitted into the session. Suitable for families with children aged 5 and above. Children must be accompanied by an adult throughout the session.


4. Fill your literary stomach at Lit(e) Snack BAR



Fried carrot cake, mee sua, chicken rice – food is such an integral part of the lives of Singaporeans,that it’s high time we dedicate some literary works to our beloved bundles of carbohydrates and proteins. Forget about writing lovelorn poems addressed to your lost love – your favourite local dish is a much more worthy recipient.

Try your hand at penning down drool-inducing poems about your favourite dish at Lit(e) Snack Bar. Even if writing is not for you, no one’s stopping you from drawing your beloved chili crab or bak kut teh!

Whether you choose to draw visual or literary piece of art, your masterpiece will be displayed at The Arts House throughout the duration of the event. And if you intend to share your handiwork on social media, don’t forget to use the hashtag #litesnackBAR, and stand a chance to win book vouchers!

Time: 12pm – 6pm
Location: Porch
Fee: Free


5. Art Journaling Workshop


A few of Donna’s past works.

Art journaling is rapidly gaining popularity on Instagram. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you would’ve seen pictures of journals filled with exquisite calligraphy, magazine cutouts and fancy stickers – all arranged in very aesthetically pleasing ways. If a scrapbook and a diary had a baby, which then went on steroids – the end result would be an art journal.

Perhaps you’re one of those who gasped in awe and wondered what was this awesome sorcery that allowed for what was initially an empty blank page to become something so breathtakingly beautiful?

You’ll be happy to know that you too can do it – for the price of $38. In these 2 hours, you’ll be taught the basic techniques of art journaling and be guided along the process of creating your very own art journal by combining pictures, words and everyday ephemera.

And even if you don’t have a single artsy bone in your body, this art journaling workshop conducted by Curious College will have you inspired and blooming with ideas by the end of it.

Each participant will receive a starter kit consisting of a special notebook and various craft materials. That’s not all – on top of that, facilitator, Donna Tang, has oodles of art materials you are free to utilise! Waterbrushes, stamps, markers, watercolours, pretty scraps of paper – her art supplies blanketed the entire table.

Time: 2pm – 4pm
Location: Living Room
Fee: $38 (U.P. $90)
Register here.


6. Witness the Word Olympics


Joshua Ip

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the quadrennial Summer or Winter Olympics – but Word Olympics is a whole new ball game.

Witness four young literary collectives – Burn After Reading, Ministry of Noise, the Image-Symbol Department, and Insert Cool Name Here – engage in an exhilarating battle of words and wit. The icing on top of the cake comes in the form of award-winning poet, Joshua Ip, who will host what promises to be an unforgettable tournament – let the games begin!

Time: 7.30pm – 9pm
Location: Living Room
Fee: Free


7. Batik Painting with Sadali



After listening to tales of the Sang Kancil and watching the Batik demonstration put up by Sadali, you may very well be enchanted by the wonderful art that is batik, and grow eager to dabble in some batik painting yourself.

Look no further, for you simply have to purchase a demo kit and you’ll be able to join batik artist Sadali for some hand-painting fun. Put brush to fabric and watch the characters featured in Sang Kancil come to life! With the skillful Sadali as your mentor, you won’t have to worry about making a mess of your batik.

Note: Adult supervision is required for children aged 12 and below.

Time: 11.30am – 6pm
Location: Porch
Fee: $5 for demo kit


8. Find out your fate with Poetry Palmistry



Tarot card reading is so passe. Want to know what’s in store for you? Let poets read your palms with poetry, and predict your future.

Love life, work prospects and health? They’ve got it all covered. Feel free to pepper them with questions about that job promotion you’ve been eyeing for months, or whether your long-standing one-sided crush will finally reciprocate feelings.

Time: 1pm – 10pm
Location: Gallery I
Fee: Free


9. Explore and challenge all your 5 senses



Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch – Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously is an experiential performance broken into five parts; one for each of our senses. Coined by Noam Chomsky, this grammatically correct but semantically nonsensical sentence has caused plenty to pause and contemplate its meaning.

Similarly, many a poem has achieved the same result. In an attempt to understand the world as seen through the eyes (ears, nose, skin, and tongue) of the poet, you may step into this experiential exploration of the classical senses, and its isolations, deprivations and stimulations. Through Colourless, one can discover how poetry is not merely conceptual but also fully material.

Pop by anytime within these 3 hours, and learn how poetry is not merely conceptual but also fully material. In your poetic exploration of the senses, grasp the techniques of penning your very own poem, and emerge from the performance with one you can call your own.

Time: 4pm – 7pm
Location: Blue Room
Fee: Free


10. Murder Most Foul


Have you ever watched CSI and thought, “I can do so much better. If I were the crime investigator, this murder case would’ve been solved in 24 hours!” Well, now’s the time to put your crazy investigative skills to the test.

A terrible murder has taken place in the Chamber today. Who could have pulled off this dastardly deed?

Meet the five poet-suspects, figure out the meaning behind their rhymes, and decide for yourself who really has blood on their hands, and who is innocent.

Their fate is yours to decide.

Time: 3pm – 4pm and 9.30pm – 10.30pm
Location: Chamber
Fee: Free
Register here


BONUS: Appreciate 200 years of history



This one is for the history buffs. If literary arts doesn’t shine as bright for you, The Arts House is worth visiting purely for its rich history alone.

Its walls go back nearly 200 years – from functioning as the former Parliamentary Chamber, to serving as a secret meeting place where then Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, discussed strategies to take on the Barisan Socialis with his Old Guard ministers. It has seen Singapore through many milestones, truly befitting of as the gallery and home of the arts.


The Arts Open House Schedule




Spend A Day Of Literary Fun At The Arts Open House


Common folk like us normally don’t think of literary art as something exciting – but your preconceptions are set to change with all the activities The Arts Open House has to offer! Who knows? You might just find yourself enjoying the arts a whole lot more than you expected.

So whether or not you’re a connoisseur of the arts, or just ordinary folk like me, mark your social calendars for a fun-filled day of arts, crafts and appreciation – all happening on the 19th of March.

When: 19 March, 11am – 11pm
Admission: Free; certain programmes require prior registration and/or material fee
Address: 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429

This post was brought to you by The Arts House.