Reaching out to talented children from different backgrounds

In order to make the arts more accessible to young people in Singapore, the School of the Arts (SOTA) launched the Arts Development Award (ADA) on 30 July 2018. The Award is made possible by the David Marshall Endowment managed by Temasek Foundation, and is offered to Primary 4 to 6 students from low-income families who show artistic potential in performing or visual arts. Covering course fees, materials, costumes and transport costs, the award allows these children to be exposed to, and enriched by an early arts education.

For Dwi Tiara Haqiem Mohd Fazel, the Award has provided her with the opportunity to attend weekly art lessons for a year – an experience her family could not have afforded. After losing her father to cancer, her mother became the sole breadwinner, working part-time to support the family. Tiara is grateful for her teacher at Park View Primary School for recognizing her potential and nominating her for the Award.

Another recipient, Loveval Choo from Ahmad Ibrahim Primary School, was able to resume her weekly ballet classes at The School of Dance because of the Award. Earlier, Loveval’s mother had to stop her ballet classes because she could not afford the fees. Loveval was very happy that she could not only continue honing her dance skills, but pursue what she enjoys most.

Loveval shared, “Taking up ballet classes at The School of Dance has given me the opportunity to learn and grow. Since I had a background in Chinese dance, I thought ballet should be easy for me. Once I figured out how much effort and practise I have to put in during my ballet classes, I learnt that dance is more complex than what I believe it to be.”

The Award provides not just financial support, but also gives recipients an opportunity to be paired up with buddies from SOTA. These buddies mentor and support the Award recipients in their academic, artistic, and personal growth. This is a win-win arrangement, since SOTA students will also get to learn from their charges’ experiences.

“I’m inspired by my buddy as she has taught me painting techniques such as stippling and how to paint with textures,” said Tiara of visual arts student Aum Sebin. Over the year, Aum has guided Tiara through the process of preparing a portfolio. Tiara hopes to create online tutorials on painting and drawing one day.



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