Partnerships between people and private sectors help our arts scene thrive
Speech by Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, at the Launch of Kris Foundation Viola Masterclass Fund
13 October 2020
Ms Kris Tan, Founder, Kris Foundation,
Prof Bernard Lanskey, Dean, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music,
Ms Catherine Loh, CEO, Community Foundation of Singapore,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- Good afternoon! I am delighted to be here to witness the launch of the Kris Foundation Viola Masterclass Fund.
- I would first like to start by, on behalf of MCCY and NAC, to extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation towards Ms Kris Tan, Kris Foundation and the Community Foundation of Singapore for their dedication to growing our arts sector. Ms Kris Tan has been doing so for a long time, as listed in the programme each and everyone of us have now. Over the years, Kris Foundation has actively supported various music programmes that have nurtured both budding and established artists. These include providing scholarships to music students at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), and sponsoring the annual NAFA-Kris Foundation Fund Concerto Competition.
Role of YST in the development of the sector
- Allow me to say a words about the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YST), which is a very important asset in Singapore. As Singapore’s only music conservatory, YST plays a critical role in developing music professionals, as was mentioned earlier in the speeches, and also enhancing the vibrancy of arts in Singapore. Over the course for the past 17 years and many more decades, YST has steadily built up its educational offerings over the years and developed an international reputation.
- The viola masterclasses supported by the Kris Foundation will enable YST to further support the development of excellent musical practice in Singapore. The masterclasses are a wonderful platform for our students to gain valuable performance opportunities, fresh perspectives on musical interpretation, and also an opportunity to learn from world-class violists. Now I know that Ms Kris Tan also plays the viola. They also involve seasoned violists who share their teachings and music-making processes with the campus-wide community and public. This is very laudable. In this way, the masterclasses support the students’ holistic development, while bringing the arts to wider audiences.
Importance of patronage in the arts in building a sustainable and vibrant arts scene
- Why was I chatting with Professor Lanskey about 10 minutes at the lobby? Because we were talking about how, even as we face this adversity brought about by COVID-19, the arts sector is really innovative. For example, when we leverage on digital, whether to do a speech from another location, another country, or to bring a performance to our audience via a digital medium.
- Of course, we understand the importance of live performances. Live performances add a buzz to the community and society. There is a reason why we want to be part of the live performance. As participants, there is quite a bit of interaction as part of the performance. The artists thrive on that type of energy and interaction with the audience. Live performances are important.
- Having said that, for the last few months, due to the challenges arising from COVID-19, many of our arts practitioners and freelancers are having to innovate and deliver programmes via digital platforms. This means that other than performing on that day, that performance can travel. It can travel to new audiences at the comfort and convenience of their home, and at their fingertips using a mobile device. Not only can they watch it on that day, they can watch it again and again. This means a blended performance has the opportunity to bring our programmes to newer audience.
- Talking about COVID-19, we know in these difficult times, it has been challenging but it has also been inspiring to see how our art practitioners have shown their resilience. Over the past eight months, if anything, I think it has shown that many of us have turned to the arts as a source of comfort, hope and inspiration. I want to assure you that at MCCY and the National Arts Council (NAC), we are committed to supporting the arts and the arts community, as we firmly believe that the arts can connect us as a society. The arts can also enhance our well-being using this pandemic as an example. It can also strengthen our resilience.
- We also believe that developing and sustaining a vibrant arts scene is a continual partnership between Government and the private and people sectors. This is why NAC had launched an online fundraising campaign in April 2020 entitled A Covid-19 Rally for Singapore’s Arts, and continues to work closely with our artists and arts groups to raise funds during these challenging times. I want to use this platform to share with you that thanks to the generosity of Singaporeans, more than $240,000 has been raised for over 35 arts organisations thus far.
- The new Viola Masterclass Fund by Kris Foundation is another example of how the support and philanthropy of the people and private sectors help our arts scene thrive, and continue to touch lives. Amid COVID-19, our arts practitioners are meeting the challenges of innovating fresh ways to bring their works to new and existing audiences. We welcome, especially in such times, the continued support and encouragement of the arts in every form.
- In conclusion, I want to thank everyone for joining us today to celebrate this significant occasion. I look forward to the Kris Foundation Viola Masterclass Fund nurturing a new generation of musicians that Singapore can be proud of. I want to say to Ms Kris Tan and Kris Foundation, “thank you”.