DBS gives $25m to National Gallery
IN THE largest single cash donation by a corporate body to an arts institution, DBS Bank has donated $25 million to the National Gallery Singapore.
This donation to the museum of Singapore and South-east Asian art will be matched dollar for dollar by the Government under its Cultural Donation Matching Fund.
These were among several announcements made at the gallery's brand launch event held yesterday at the Singapore Cricket Club and graced by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.
Slated to open in November next year, the gallery yesterday also announced its name change. It was previously known as The National Art Gallery of Singapore.
The refurbishing and conversion of the City Hall and former Supreme Court into an art museum is being undertaken on a budget of $530 million.
In return for the bank's donation, the museum will name one of its key gallery spaces - on the second level of the City Hall wing - the DBS Singapore Gallery.
The gallery's chief executive, Ms Chong Siak Ching, 54, called the donation "extremely generous" and said it was "absolutely delighted and very privileged" to have received it.
She said it was "not just a gift to the arts but a gift to the nation", adding: "With more individuals and corporates coming forth to support the arts, it shows art matters."
In his speech, Mr Wong said both the DBS donation and an earlier donation to the gallery by Keppel Group would be matched dollar-for-dollar under the $200 million fund that is aimed at encouraging cultural philanthropy.
He called the gallery "a wonderful new addition to our cultural landscape", and told reporters later that the additional funds "can be used to enhance the visitor experience as well as for acquisitions" of art works.
Last August, Keppel donated $12 million to the gallery, for which a Keppel Centre for Art Education will be set up, housing Singapore's first dedicated Children's Museum.
This is not the first time DBS has donated to the gallery. Last year, it donated 26 art works by leading local artists, such as Cheong Soo Pieng, Anthony Poon and Ong Kim Seng, from the bank's corporate collection.
Some of these works will be on display at the DBS Singapore Gallery.
Mr Sim S. Lim, managing director and Singapore country head of DBS Bank, said it has been a strong supporter of local artists since its inception in 1968.
On the name change, National Gallery director Eugene Tan said: "We want to be known simply as the National Gallery. Gallery itself implies the word art."