Welcome boost for the arts
'The Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) received $1 million from real estate company OUE's executive chairman Stephen Riady, which along with dollar-for-dollar matching from the Government's Cultural Matching Fund, means the performing arts school will have $2 million to fund its training programmes. Such donations are an encouraging sign of the broadening nature of arts appreciation in Singapore. Traditionally, the arts have been a poorer cousin in the donation stakes as patrons prefer more practical causes such as education, healthcare and the elderly.
That donors are starting to give more generously to build software for the arts industry is a welcome development, especially as the resources are evidently much needed. Lasalle's McNally campus, for example, was meant for 1,850 students, but the school population currently numbers about 2,700. The ITI, a much more specialised institution, has trained 64 graduates from 17 countries since 2000, including Golden Horse-nominated actress Yeo Yann Yann.
The growth of Lasalle's school population, and the demand for ITI's rigorous three-year course, is a reflection
of the growing sophistication and dynamism of Singapore's arts scene. The healthy enrolment is a sign that
home-grown students are more confident about pursuing a life in the arts. Students from the region, too, are
attracted by the arts education and training opportunities here. Hopefully, the virtuous circle will continue to
feed the scene. This is where the Ngee Ann Kongsi and Dr Riady have shown the way, as donors too are a
crucial part of the arts ecosystem.'
- The Straits Times