Arts donors gave $32.1 million in 2021, dipping from 2020's $39.1m and 2015's record $136.1m

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong (right) with guests at the Patron of the Arts Awards ceremony on Aug 25. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Lawyer Christopher Chuah received a Distinguished Patron of the Arts award. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Arts donors gave a total of $32.1 million in 2021, a dip from $39.1 million in 2020. Donations have been dipping since the record high of $136.1 million in 2015.

Generous donors were recognised at the Patron Of The Arts Awards ceremony at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre yesterday (Aug 25). A spokesman for awards organiser National Arts Council (NAC) said: "In-kind donations were lower compared with 2020 when National Gallery Singapore received an important long-term loan of a significant artwork."

In-kind donations for 2021 amounted to $5.9 million compared with $16.9 million in 2020.

There was, however, an increase in the number of patrons - from 264 in 2020 to 323 in 2021. More than 30 per cent of this year's awardees were first-time patrons. Cash donations also increased by 18 per cent to $26.2 million. More individual patrons also donated over $100,000, 26 last year compared with 14 in 2020.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong, guest of honour at the ceremony, thanked new patrons such as Sun Venture, Mr Lim Lung Tieng, executive director and chairman of real estate management services group LHN Limited, and Mr Christopher Chuah, a lawyer.

Mr Lim, who received a Distinguished Patron of the Arts award, told The Straits Times: "It's essential to nurture imagination and art creation to fuel our faith in a better tomorrow."

Mr Tong noted that the Government's $150 million top-up to the Cultural Matching Fund will encourage more arts patronage: "We are very confident that this momentum can be sustained."

He added that the arts sector had "weathered the Covid-19 pandemic well; and events are resuming very quickly", citing the successful run of the Singapore International Festival of Arts (2022) and the upcoming Singapore Biennale 2022 in October.

With the arts scene on the mend, Mr Tong said the arts community should now look to building the future. NAC has been engaging with stakeholders for the upcoming Arts Plan 2.0. He encouraged the public and members of the arts community to get involved in the public feedback sessions for the plan to be held later this year.

He said engagement with the community is important and added: "That's why NAC has positioned the Arts Plan as 'Our' Arts Plan."

He added: "I would like to reiterate that the arts sector plays a really essential role in forging Singapore's future."

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