Avant-Garde Backing For The Arts

June 20, 2008

I read with interest the cover story on LIFE (Thursday, June 19th) which featured how local arts groups have deviated away from the conventional sources for sponsorship and are increasingly looking into companies which on first glance, have nothing to do with the arts.

As an ardent supporter of the local arts scene, and having dealt rather heavily in drama-related activities during my schooling days (which included massive sourcing for sponsorships for our theatrical productions), I suppose I can somehow identify with the plights which the local arts groups are in when it comes to funding.

Which is why, it is a beckoning on the horizon to read the article, on how companies such as Simmons (which backed The Wild Rice’s production “Beauty World”) and Old Chang Kee (which supported Mandarin musical “If There’re Seasons”) are willing to support the local arts scene, considering how competition for funding from traditional sources such as the National Arts Council (NAC), and the Lee Foundation is becoming increasingly fierce.

Schools will have to contend with professional arts groups, and vice versa, for these sponsorships.

Of course, this is not a one-way street and the situation has to be win-win. After all, the reality that there is no free lunch in this world remains. That is why it remains a source of concern that “it is hard to target big sponsors when there are bigger arts fish vying for the same funds”, as Ms Melissa Lim of The Necessary Stage (TNS) aptly puts it.

Yet, it is still worth a shot, and I will urge schools and burgeoning arts groups to send out sponsorship requests – you will never know whether you’ll receive if you don’t ask. The key lies in the attempting to work out joint promotional activities such that both ends benefit from the publicity.

With a whole new category of resources to be tapped, Singaporeans can certainly look forward to a more massive variety of events in the long run, don’t you think?

PS: Readers who deal with the arts are encouraged to share their experiences in getting sponsorships by leaving a comment here!


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