91 individuals and 253 organisations from a variety of backgrounds and business sectors were honoured for their efforts in promoting and developing Singapore’s arts landscape at the annual 2014 Patron of the Arts Awards on 17 July 2014. The Awards were presented by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Communications and Information.
Private contributions towards the arts sector in 2013 amounted to a total of $32.2 million. Of these, $25 million were cash contributions and $7.2 million were inkind sponsorship. Donors came from a wide variety of industries, spanning automotive, creative, construction, financial, retail and technology sectors. Beyond monetary contributions, donors were also recognised for their support in providing spaces and professional services.
Ms Kathy Lai, Chief Executive Officer, NAC says, “The arts in Singapore brings many values and benefits to different groups in society. I am heartened that the arts philanthropy ecosystem has grown to include like-minded individuals as well as public and private sector organisations which appreciate the value of the arts. It is wonderful to see the collaborative energy across such diverse groups in cultivating a culture of giving. With arts philanthropic initiatives that include the Cultural Matching Fund, a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for donations towards arts and heritage organisations, we hope to build and strengthen a sense of shared ownership of our vibrant cultural scene.”
One-third of this year’s awardees contributed to the arts for the first time. Of this, close to 70 awardees were corporations. One of them is construction and engineering company, Gennal Industries, who received the Patron of the Arts Award for its maiden contribution made to Singapore Dance Theatre’s new premises. Mr Ang Kim Tia, Director, Gennal Industries says, “We are proud to support the flourishing arts industry in Singapore. By contributing towards building Singapore Dance Theatre’s new home at Bugis+, we are happy to provide a nurturing environment for their dancers to hone their skills and bring dance closer to the community.”
Contributors from other industries included Chinese language school, Berries World of Learning School, which received an Associate of the Arts Award for its contributions towards the Chinese Theatre Festival, organised by The Theatre Practice in 2013. Patron of the Arts recipient, Milk Photographie, a local photography studio supported the productions of five arts groups, including Pangdemonium! and Sing’theatre.
On individual giving to the arts, there is a consistent increase in such donors over the past five years, from 39 individuals in 2010 to 91 this year. One such individual is Ms Kris Tan, a Friend of the Arts Award recipient. She says, “For the past four years, Kris Foundation has been organising more than 10 concerts featuring both emerging and established homegrown classical musicians, such as pianist Abigail Sin. With the Singapore classical music rapidly expanding, more Singaporeans are getting top quality music education in renowned music colleges and universities around the world. Kris Foundation is glad to have a hand in grooming these musicians and providing a platform to showcase their talents through fund-raising concerts.”
In its 31st year, the Patron of the Arts Awards has also seen a number of longterm donors expanding their support over the years. Automobile company, BMW Asia has steadily progressed from an Arts Supporter in 2001 to becoming a Distinguished Patron of the Arts recipient this year. Mr Sergio Solero, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia, says, “The BMW Group celebrates more than 40 years of international cultural commitment, and has initiated and engaged in more than 100 cultural co-operations worldwide. We encourage absolute creative freedom in all the cultural activities we are involved in, and hope that our support in the arts will enable the creation of more ground-breaking artistic work in the days to come.”