Arts Opportunity Fund Gives Underprivileged Children and Youth Exposure to the Arts
Singapore, 3 October 2012 – Seven projects by local Voluntary Welfare Organisations and charity homes have been selected as inaugural recipients of the Arts Opportunity Fund (AOF) following an open call for applications in April 2012. Established to help fund arts-related projects for underprivileged children and youths, the AOF aims to enable projects involving artists as well as arts facilitators and trainers that help affect positive change in the children and youths’ personal development.
Approximately $33,000 was raised through public donations and awarded under the inaugural AOF to seven projects, with each project receiving support ranging from $3,600 to $5,000. The projects range from theatre immersion to pottery, dance and speech and drama programmes. They aim to offer opportunities for underprivileged children and youths to experience the arts and gain greater interest and appreciation, and through these experiences, also develop greater confidence, self-esteem, and avenues for expression.
The beneficiaries of the AOF include AG Home (Presbyterian Community Services), Beyond Social Services, Chaoyang School, Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home, Child at Street 11, Pertapis Children's Home and Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA). Please refer to Annex A for more information on the respective projects by the seven fund recipients.
Philip Tan, composer, educator and recipient of the Young Artist Award shared about his involvement in AG Home’s “Tour around the World” music programme, saying that “the programme will help the children express themselves. I believe it will provide a positive outlet for their emotions, and build self-confidence. At the same time, the performing arts experiences will plant the seed of a stronger appreciation for, and interest in the arts”.
Lye Ping, representative of Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home also testify to the transformative potential of the arts for children and youth: “We are grateful for the funding support from AOF for our programme “Stand & Speak! Creating a Play”, where the arts is more about supporting the developmental process for our youth-at-risk. The programme also encourages their improvisation skills to create personal narratives and boost their confidence for public speaking. The arts provide an intervention, to help the youth in their personal discovery, and nurture their interest in the wonderful world of theatre. We hope this initiative will inspire their love for the arts.”
Echoing her view, Madam Haloyah Atan, administrator of Pertapis Children’s Home, which is working with the Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts to develop a dance programme, said: “This programme will allow the children to express themselves through the medium of dance in a safe and conducive environment. Besides allowing them to channel their energy in a positive manner, we hope the dance sessions will go a long way in building up their self-esteem and demonstrating the importance of teamwork as well as physical and emotional well-being.”
An Independent Advisory Committee (IAC), comprising three individuals from the private sector and an NAC representative, oversees the disbursement of AOF. The IAC selected these seven projects from a total of 20 proposals received when applications closed in May 2012. Please see Annex B for a list of the IAC members.
According to Ms Koh Ching Ching, Chairman of the IAC and Head of Group Corporate Communications of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), “Arts should be enjoyed by all, regardless of age and background. Through participating in the arts, children and youths can also learn important life skills like self awareness, creative thinking and communication. We have found these seven projects to have the requisites of a successful platform that not only engages but also teaches.”
The public can support such projects involving professional artists, arts facilitators and educators under the AOF by making a donation to the Arts and Culture Development Fund (ACDF) via the online portal give2arts.sg. Corporations are encouraged to donate as well, as Keppel Corporation recently did with a $15,000 donation that will benefit future applicants to the fund.
Give2arts.sg is an online portal that serves to facilitate donations from the public to about 100 arts and cultural charity groups listed in the portal. The public can also make donations to a general arts and cultural fund called the Arts and Culture Development Fund (ACDF). The ACDF is an Institution of Public Character (IPC) set up by MICA and administered by the National Arts Council, with the aim to support arts and cultural projects that raise the professionalism of the arts and cultural sector, and strengthen public engagement in the arts and culture.
Public donations to the ACDF were used to fund the seven beneficiaries in the Arts Opportunity Fund (AOF). For more information on the portal, please visit give2arts.sg