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Over $45m donated to the arts in 2022, a significant rise from previous two years

SINGAPORE – More than $45 million was donated to the arts in 2022, a significant increase from $32.1 million in 2021 and $39.1 million in 2020.

The most generous donors were recognised at the Patron of the Arts Awards (POAA) at the Equarius Hotel ballroom on Sentosa on Tuesday night.

Organised by the National Arts Council, the awards were created in 1983 to recognise individuals and organisations that have contributed generously to the development of the arts, whether with cash or in-kind donations.

In-kind donations last year stood at $19.3 million, more than triple the $5.9 million in 2021. Cash donations amounted to over $25.47 million. A record $136.1 million was donated in 2015, after which amounts dipped.

Speaking at the event, guest of honour Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, said: “We are so proud that from just four awardees at the first POAA, this year we stand together with over 400 corporates and individuals who have contributed over $45 million to the arts in 2022.”

The 404 patrons are an all-time high for the awards, an increase of 25 per cent from 2021. Last year also saw a 45 per cent rise in first-time patrons from 2021.

Mr Chew Sutat, 51, a first-time recipient of the Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award, which is given to those who donate at least $100,000, said: “I think it’s important for a country to not just be about dollars and cents. There’s got to be a variety of things that make us human and have a soul. The arts represent that.”

The chairman and co-founder of consultancy Shan De Advisors added: “What my wife and I were really excited about was to see how you can bring the arts together with the community. The arts have the opportunity to build the soul in the nation.”

Individual patrons who donated more than $100,000 also increased from 26 in 2021 to 34 in 2022.

Mr Tong announced a new award category to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the awards. The Honorary Patron of the Arts recognises those who have consistently supported the arts and have been awarded the Distinguished Patron of the Arts Award more than 20 times.

SPH Media and UOB were the inaugural recipients of this award.

Noting the launch of Our SG Arts Plan (2023-2027) last week, which emphasises a more holistic approach to developing the arts scene, Mr Tong encouraged more philanthropy.

He said: Giving to the arts, especially towards arts education and small arts organisations, is essential for nurturing the next generation of artists and audiences.”

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