Donations to arts, culture down by half last year

Patron of the Arts Chan Kok Hua (left) with Mr Terence Ho Wee San, executive director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, which Mr Chan supports.
Patron of the Arts Chan Kok Hua (left) with Mr Terence Ho Wee San, executive director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, which Mr Chan supports. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

But individual contributions doubled; big gap due to exceptional collection for SG50 in 2015

Singapore's arts scene received $64.7 million in donations of cash and kind last year, about half the $136.1 million received in 2015.

While corporates gave almost two-thirds less, individual contributions - which totalled $19.4 million - were double that of 2015.

In-kind contributions, which included artwork loans and donations for the first time last year, also peaked in 2016 at $20.6 million.

A total of 302 individuals and corporates were honoured at the 34th Patron of the Arts Awards last night, organised by the National Arts Council (NAC).

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

The award ceremony, held at the Conrad Centennial, was officiated by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.

Ms Fu acknowledged the various forms of support given by patrons, such as the United Overseas Bank helping to fund visual arts programmes run by non-profit organisation The Red Pencil, which specialises in art therapy. "To nurture the next generation of artistic talent and arts supporters, your contributions towards arts education are invaluable," she said.

 

She also announced that the NAC will be refreshing its mission and vision to show its "renewed commitment to grow the arts and cultural sector".

  • 302 

  • Number of individuals and corporates honoured at the 34th Patron of the Arts Awards last night, organised by the National Arts Council.

And to encourage culture philanthropy, she reiterated the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's commitment to inject $150 million into the Cultural Matching Fund.

The fund, set up by MCCY, provides a matching grant for private cash donations to arts and heritage groups. "Perhaps, it is precisely in these difficult times, that we need the arts to uplift our spirits and enrich our lives," she said.

The NAC said in a media statement that contributions to the arts last year were expected to be lower due to the "exceptional record of contributions" in 2015.

This, it said, was due to Singapore's Jubilee Year celebrations and increased awareness of the Cultural Matching Fund in 2015.

The Patron of the Arts Awards was introduced in 1983 to recognise corporates and individuals who give significantly to the arts in Singapore.

There are three tiers of awards - Friend of the Arts, Patron of the Arts and Distinguished Patron of the Arts.

The Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award is given to corporates that give $1.5 million and above, and individuals who give at least $100,000. There were 26 Distinguished Patrons in 2016, including the Singapore Press Holdings.

Art collector Chan Kok Hua, 61, received a Patron of the Arts award for his contributions to the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) and Nam Hwa Opera.

The award is given out to individuals who give between $50,000 and under $100,000.

"When we talk about giving to charity, it's not just about giving money to hospitals and seniors' homes. It can also be to orchestras and other arts groups, because art is a very important part of society," Mr Chan said.

Mr Terence Ho, 47, the executive director of the SCO, acknowledged Ms Fu's comments about the need for the arts in an "economically challenging climate".

He said: "During a difficult time, the arts become more important to boost the morale of the people. We don't cut concerts, we want to perform more. With the support of our partners and donors, we can do more."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'Donations to arts, culture down by half last year'. Print Edition | Subscribe