Young patrons on why they give to the arts

Arts patron Alvin Lin believes in nurturing young artists

Mr Alvin Lin, co-owner of tailoring firm The Prestigious, donates to the Intercultural Theatre Institute.
Mr Alvin Lin, co-owner of tailoring firm The Prestigious, donates to the Intercultural Theatre Institute.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

At 34, Mr Alvin Lin is the youngest patron of the Intercultural Theatre Institute. The independent theatre school, which is a registered charity, prides itself on its training, which is rooted in traditional Asian art and cultural forms.

Mr Lin saw parallels between the school and his one-year-old bespoke tailoring company, The Prestigious, which he co-owns.

Most of its tailors are 20somethings fresh out of school who are trained by the company's 71-year- old master tailor Thomas Wong.

Mr Lin says: "I know what it's like to spill blood, sweat and tears into nurturing someone. The school also invests in traditional techniques, just as we do."

He found out about the school in 2009, after doing an arts entrepreneurship course there during the school's earlier years. It was first set up in 2000 as the Theatre Training & Research Programme by theatre pioneer Kuo Pao Kun and the school's current director T. Sasitharan. After a brief hiatus, it was launched in 2011 as the Intercultural Theatre Institute.

As one of the school's "Angels", Mr Lin has committed at least $10,000 to the organisation as well as contributed in other ways.


For example, for the institute's Angels annual dinner last year, The Prestigious created handcrafted envelopes made of suiting fabrics for the invites. Each Angel could also make a custom-tailored shirt with the tailoring company.

Mr Lin has become Facebook friends with some of the school's students.

He believes in investing in future generations of art practitioners, who may create work that will impact more people in the future.

He says: "The impact goes beyond one person. I'm giving to a pool of talent and that may lead to positive change to society down the road. That's what's important."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2017, with the headline 'Tailored to nurture the young'. Print Edition | Subscribe