Flashback Friday: The Substation gets $1.1m corporate gift on June 13, 1991

The Substation, a 21-year-old arts centre, in Armenian Street. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Substation, a 21-year-old arts centre, in Armenian Street. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Nine months after it was founded, Singapore's first independent contemporary arts centre got a much needed $1.1 million shot in the arm.

Billed as the country's first "Home for the Arts", the under-staffed and under-funded Substation received the corporate sponsorship from GAPL Pte Ltd, which is a joint venture between Asia Pacific Breweries and Guinness Overseas.

GAPL has set an important precedent for other local companies to give to the arts sector, said Professor Tommy Koh, then Singapore's Ambassador-at-large and a patron of The Substation. He was speaking at the sponsorship agreement signing ceremony.

In the past, foreign companies in Singapore had been more supportive for the local arts scene, said Prof Koh. He appealed for more local companies to do the same.

Part of the 10-year sponsorship will help pay off its $100,000 debt and go into the development of an endowment fund for The Substation.

It hopes to eventually build up $2 million while the rest will be channelled into staff expansion and training programmes.

The Substation artistic director Kuo Pao Kun also said the centre would now be able to pay for publicity materials such as banners and leaflets, as well as reserve space in their art gallery for upcoming artists to hold exhibitions.

To commemorate the occasion, The Substation changed the name of the theatre, the Open Space, to the Guinness Theatre.


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