Arts education has received generous financial boosts recently. The Ngee Ann Kongsi pledged $50 million to help Lasalle College of the Arts build a new 12-storey block at its McNally Street campus. News of the donation came on the heels of another financial gift last month. 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.
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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.