Nurturing a vibrant and resilient arts scene in Singapore through robust collaboration with corporates
Performers putting on a number titled Nebula, choreographed by Hafeez Hassan, at the Patron of the Arts Awards 2022 on 25 Aug. The award is one of the ways the National Arts Council engages the private sector and encourages giving back to the arts community.

Nurturing a vibrant and resilient arts scene in Singapore through robust collaboration with corporates

When it comes to corporate contributions, the future looks promising for Singapore’s arts and culture scene. More than half of current corporate donors have plans to increase their contributions to the arts in the next three years. Even among those who do not currently give, a third intend to do so soon.

These are some findings from the latest Arts Philanthropy Study, commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC). The second edition of the study, which follows the first report in 2016, focuses on corporate-giving trends and aims to identify possible shifts in giving behaviours. The study is part of NAC’s efforts to engage and partner the private sector to develop the arts and culture scene in Singapore. The in-depth study provides insights into corporate donors’ giving trends, offers a deep dive into the motivations and challenges, and ways of giving for this sector to identify new growth areas.

For instance, the study found that among in-kind giving types, employee-based volunteering and technology donations are likely to grow in the coming years. It has also identified industries that are most likely to start giving to the arts: the accommodation and food services, the information and communications industry, and the real estate sector.

The NAC Arts Philanthropy Corporate Giving Study 2022 report identified some of the giving trends among corporates, including that capability-building and technology giving are growing in popularity in the private sector.
The NAC Arts Philanthropy Corporate Giving Study 2022 report identified some of the giving trends among corporates, including that capability-building and technology giving are growing in popularity in the private sector.

The extensive report would support arts practitioners to actively and effectively engage the corporate sector, cultivating a shared ownership for our local arts and culture scene.

Another way that NAC engages both corporate and individual donors is through the annual Patron of the Arts Awards (POAA). The 39th edition of the awards ceremony, held on 25 Aug at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), paid tribute to 244 individuals and 79 organisations who donated over $32 million to the arts in 2021.

Since 1983, the POAA has and continues to celebrate organisations and individuals who have made contributions to the development of the arts through cash and in-kind sponsorships.

Orion, made up of Govin Tan, Gildon Choo, Niranjan Pandian, Noraini Abas, and Rachma Lim, performing Milky Way and Constellations at the POAA 2022.
Orion, made up of Govin Tan, Gildon Choo, Niranjan Pandian, Noraini Abas, and Rachma Lim, performing Milky Way and Constellations at the POAA 2022.

Some of this year’s POAA award recipients include the Ngee Ann Kongsi, UOB, UOL Group Limited, and Sun Venture.

It also marked a shift in arts philanthropy in Singapore: over 30% of givers in 2021 were first-time patrons. It is a trend that resonates with findings from the NAC Arts Philanthropy Corporate Giving Study 2022, which indicated optimism among current and future corporate givers.

NAC has two funds that maximise the impact of corporate giving:

1. Cultural Matching Fund

The Cultural Matching Fund provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants for private cash donations to registered charities in the arts and heritage sector.

2. Sustain the Arts Fund

This fund is an initiative by NAC, supported by the private sector to nurture a culture of giving and develop robust organisational capabilities of small arts organisations.

With Our SG Arts Plan (2023-2027) soon to be underway, efforts such as these go a long way in reinforcing the collaboration between the private sector and the arts community.

“The sector’s achievements over the last two years were strongly supported by the growing number of patrons who attest to the positive impact and value of the arts in Singapore. NAC is committed to exploring deeper partnerships with the public, people and private sectors to collectively build a connected society, distinctive city, and a creative economy through Our SG Arts Plan,” says Mrs Rosa Daniel, NAC’s chief executive.

(Photos: National Arts Council)

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