Life Art Society raises over $100,000 for Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund

(From left) The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund general manager Tan Bee Heong, Life Art Society founder and president Tan Khim Ser, Mrs Tan (Mr Tan's wife), Life Art Society treasurer Gladys Shan and ST reader Yang Shwn Fen at the cheque prese
(From left) The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund general manager Tan Bee Heong, Life Art Society founder and president Tan Khim Ser, Mrs Tan (Mr Tan's wife), Life Art Society treasurer Gladys Shan and ST reader Yang Shwn Fen at the cheque presentation in SPH News Centre on Dec 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - The Life Art Society donated more than $100,000 to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) on Wednesday (Dec 26) after raising the money by selling original paintings by artists and novice painters.

About 100 went on sale at a charity exhibition at Wisma Atria in October, contributed by 36 artists and 18 novice painters who were selected from an ST Readers Rewards two-day Chinese brush painting workshop that was held in June.

Artist Tan Khim Ser, 75, conducted the workshop, which was part of the ST+ news with benefits programme for ST subscribers. The two-day course was worth $400, but participants paid only $50 for their painting kit from the Life Art Society, a non-profit organisation that aims to create greater awareness in local art and developing art talent.

Mr Tan started the Life Art Society 46 years ago and has taught thousands of amateur and aspiring artists, including former National Arts Council chief executive Lee Suan Hiang and former senior minister S. Jayakumar.

Mr Tan said in Mandarin: "We wanted to do something good for the country and society, and give back to needy families; but we also wanted to promote the art scene in Singapore. I think the ST workshop was a good start.

"The arts are very valuable - it is a form of emotional release when you are stressed, and it can even prevent dementia. Artists also laugh a lot."

The paintings were priced from $500 to $60,000, though only 43 paintings were sold. One of Mr Tan's paintings was sold for $30,000.

Business control manager Yang Shwn Fen, 48, a novice painter who attended the workshop and was selected to have her painting put up for sale, said: "I've been interested in painting since young but I didn't have a chance to learn, so I'm very grateful to ST for organising the workshop.

"My painting didn't get sold during the exhibition, but I really like painting. I'm now an official (paying) student of Mr Tan's."

Ms Tan Bee Heong, general manager of STSPMF said: "This is the first time a Chinese art society and ST readers came together to raise funds for our students from low-income families."

She received the cheque on the fund's behalf.

The STSPMF currently supports about 10,000 students from low-income families. The fund gives pocket money to students whose families earn less than $625 in per capita gross monthly household income.

"We are grateful for the efforts and the donations - especially during this festive season of giving," Ms Tan added.