Another new aspect of Gardens by the Bay for the public to enjoy is renowned American artist Dale Chihuly’s Ethereal White Persians sculpture, a donation by Tanoto Foundation to Cloud Forest
A Gardens by the Bay volunteer shows President Halimah Yacob and Minister for National Development Desmond Lee how to plant a mason jar herb garden at the launch of Gardens by the Bay’s new Active Garden
In its 10th anniversary year, Gardens by the Bay officially opened Active Garden, a new 10,000 sqm purpose-built green space for people across generations to connect with one another through physical, social and learning activities.
Active Garden is a barrier-free space with no admission charge. Its facilities include:
- Waterfront Plaza and classroom for talks, workshops and events for the community
- Moongate Lawn and Active Garden Lawn for recreation and activities
- Community garden
- Multi-generational fitness equipment and outdoor musical instruments
- Mylo’s, a pet-friendly cafe
Active Garden was launched by Guest of Honour President Halimah Yacob on 2 April, who planted a variegated guava tree (Psidium guajava ‘Variegata’) to commemorate the occasion. Minister for National Development Desmond Lee also gave a speech at the launch.
More programmes for greater community engagement
The development of Active Garden was supported by Tote Board, with the intention to create more opportunities for community engagement and provide more programmes for the public with greater breadth and depth.
For example, Gardens by the Bay can work with more community partners to curate programmes for the public. Prior to it’s opening, the Gardens has already been partnering the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to explore the potential of Active Garden. HPB’s free activities for the community, which have been ongoing since last year, include the Active Family Programme which promotes bonding between parent and child through communal physical activity, and Rolling Good Times, which aims to raise awareness on common fall situations and equip seniors with basic strategies to avoid and overcome these situations.
Active Garden is also a platform for educational outreach on horticulture. Since last year, Gardens by the Bay has been holding horticulture and botanical arts workshops for people who are interested to learn more about plants. With its own community garden that grows more than 50 types of vegetables, herbs and fruits, from starfruit and long beans to less common edibles like Noni and Bilimbi, the Gardens’ horticulturists and volunteers have a practical example to make use of to impart knowledge about edibles to the community, such as how to grow their own.
Upcoming, the public can look forward to more activities at Active Garden, such as more workshops themed around edibles and botanical crafts, as well as child-friendly activities just in time for the June school holidays. Visit here for details.
Increasing a sense of ownership in the Gardens
Active Garden is also a platform to increase a sense of ownership in Gardens by the Bay among the community. Not only is it an inclusive activity area that encourages inter-generational bonding between persons of all ages and abilities, it also supports active citizenry, with dedicated volunteers who are encouraged to develop new initiatives together with Gardens’ staff.
The community garden is maintained by 20 volunteers, who range in age from their thirties to their seventies, from working adults to retirees. These volunteers are involved in preparing the soil, propagating the plants, preparing seed trays and fertilisation, and nurturing the edibles in the community garden to grow and flourish. Beyond working together in the community garden, these volunteers from diverse age groups and backgrounds can also bond and socialise in the club room.
There are plans for more activities not only to engage volunteers but also to tap on their expertise in order to develop programmes for the community. For a start, volunteers have been in charge of coming up with the content of Our Tales on Edibles, an edibles-themed workshop for the public.
Felix Loh, Gardens by the Bay CEO, said, “As Gardens by the Bay grows beyond our 10th year, we are as committed to our original purpose of being a public green space for the community. Active Garden complements our current offerings, in that it was designed to encourage inter-generational bonding among Singaporeans. Even before its official opening on 2 April, we have been seeing many people drop by from the busy waterfront promenade to make use of the exercise equipment. Together with our volunteers and community partners, we hope the space will become an active hub for even more varied and exciting programmes that encourage social engagement.”
Donation of Chihuly’s Ethereal White Persians by Tanoto Foundation
Also unveiled on 2 April in Cloud Forest was Dale Chihuly’s Ethereal White Persians sculpture at the topmost level of the cooled conservatory. The installation of the sculpture by the renowned American glass sculptor was made possible through the donation of the Tanoto Foundation.
Anderson Tanoto, Member of the Board of Trustees, Tanoto Foundation, said, “In celebration of Gardens by the Bay’s 10th anniversary as a People’s Garden, Tanoto Foundation is honoured to make the Ethereal White Persians a permanent feature at the Cloud Forest. The Foundation’s work has been driven by our mission to provide equal opportunities to the community mainly through education, medical research and youth leadership. Similarly, we believe access to internationally-renowned art should be for all in Singapore to enjoy. At nine feet tall and an assembly of 97 individual glass pieces, the Ethereal White Persians by Dale Chihuly is awe-inspiring. It signifies perseverance, the pursuit of excellence, and reflects the positive spirit of constantly pushing boundaries to open new horizons. We hope this art piece can inspire many Singaporeans.”
Leslie Chihuly, President & CEO, Chihuly Studio, said, “Last year, we had the incredible opportunity of mounting Dale’s first major garden exhibition in Asia, at Gardens by the Bay. We are honoured that this installation will remain in the Gardens for all to enjoy, and we are grateful to the Tanoto Foundation for making this possible.”
The donation is the latest addition to the collection of world-class art at Gardens by the Bay, which includes the works of an international array of artists such as acclaimed “princess of polka dots” Yayoi Kusama; Marc Quinn, recognised as one of the founders of the British contemporary art movement; contemporary Spanish painter and sculptor Manolo Valdés; the French sculptor Bruno Catalano, whose surrealist works explore the themes of travel; and locally, Cultural Medallion recipient Chong Fah Cheong, known for the iconic bronze sculpture First Generation, which depicts five young boys in the buff leaping into the Singapore River.
Public gardens have traditionally been great social levellers because of their accessibility, and Gardens by the Bay’s collection of art, made possible through the donation of sponsors and loans from art galleries, is for everyone in the community to enjoy.
Ten years of being a People’s Garden
Active Garden and Ethereal White Persians are the latest additions to Gardens by the Bay as it continues to grow in tandem with the evolving needs of the community and endeavours to create new meaning as to what a People’s Garden can be.
In the last 10 years, Gardens by the Bay has consciously put together programmes that bring people together, such as the Children’s Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Christmas Wonderland and most recently, River Hongbao. Last year, more than 2.7 million people participated in such events at the Gardens.
An effort has also been made to ensure that programmes and activities are accessible to all Singaporeans across different backgrounds, in particular those who have less. The Gardens’ Gift of Gardens community outreach programme, which allows the disadvantaged and disabled communities to enjoy attractions at the Gardens for free, has enabled more than 100,000 beneficiaries from over 200 charities to enjoy popular ticketed attractions such as Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and Floral Fantasy since it began in 2012. This is made possible through donations from individual donors and corporate sponsors.
The Gardens has also been the backdrop for Singaporeans celebrating their key moments of life, from graduation with classmates to inter-generational family outings, from baby showers to weddings.
Local visitorship to Gardens by the Bay last year was at its highest ever with 8.3 million visitors.
Gardens by the Bay’s new Active Garden is a 10,000 sqm purpose-built green space for people across generations to connect with one another through physical, social and learning activities.
Located along the waterfront promenade facing Marina Bay, Active Garden is a 10-minute stroll from Bayfront MRT station. There is also a shuttle service that connects Bayfront MRT, Active Garden and the cooled conservatories.
There is no admission charge for the public to enjoy its facilities, such as the multi-generational fitness equipment, outdoor musical instruments and two lawns. There will be talks, workshops and events held at Active Garden throughout the year to engage the community.
Active Garden is a barrier-free space and has been awarded the Green Mark Platinum Award.
Visit here for more information.
Map of Active Garden
Facilities at Active Garden
The Waterfront Plaza and classroom are where talks, workshops and events held in conjunction with community partners will take place. A regular series of such activities, both free and with a fee, are planned for Active Garden throughout the year.
There are two lawns for recreation and activities: Moongate lawn (top left) which is named after the Moongate sculpture by Cultural Medallion recipient Chong Fah Cheong that marks the spot of the SG50 time capsule, and Active Garden lawn.
The community garden grows more than 50 types of vegetables, herbs and fruits, from starfruit and long beans to less common edibles like Noni and Bilimbi, and is maintained by 20 Gardens by the Bay volunteers. Horticulturists and volunteers make use of the community garden as a practical example during edibles-themed workshops.
Multi-generational fitness equipment and outdoor musical instruments are suitable for visitors of all ages, whether for exercise or for general play.
Mylo’s is a pet-friendly cafe helmed by Chef Michael Wilson, that serves pastries, sandwiches and drinks, as well as over 20 seasonal gelatos made onsite.
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