Four creative enterprises, including the only-female contemporary dance company in Cambodia and an NGO working with vulnerable youth, received their first grants awarded under the Cambodian Arts Training Awards. Each project supported with a small seed grant of up to USD5,000.
New Cambodian Artists – an all-female contemporary dance company, Battambang Theater Group – formed by the graduates of Phare Ponleu Silpak Association, Tiny Toones – an NGO working to provide a safe and positive environment for at-risk youth, and Cambodian Living Arts – which is launching its first ever Ethno Cambodia/Mekong cap, all got a reliable support from the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF).
“We are proud to witness and to be able to be involved in the regeneration of Cambodian arts and artists. It feels like there is an air of excitement and opportunity within the arts in Cambodia at the moment and we’re seeing a growing style that is distinctively Khmer,” said Nicky Ward, CCF’s Grants Manager.
Aiming to play a leading role in forging environments, encourage creativity, and ensure that Cambodia’s emerging arts communities are able to access resources and audiences, CCF explained that students’ participation in structured arts activities enhances the development of social skills that support learning, problem-solving and communication – skills much sought after by employees. “We see that the arts unify our students, families and communities,” said Mr Ward.
The creative economy in Cambodia, CCF’s education and youth leadership programmes are also strongly promoting the importance of self-expression and creativity, and the cultural and social impact that is likely to grow from it. CCF said it is proud to be able to work with emerging artists and creative groups in the development of their professional practice.
Khon Sreyneang, company director of New Cambodian Artists, said he was overwhelmed by the award. “We are really happy for this award given to us. The CCF’s art grant will make it possible for us to develop more as a dance company and continue doing our passion. Finally, we are getting the support we need.”
Chhit Chanphireak of the Battambang Theater Group, which is currently on a series of performances that highligh issues such as alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence, also expressed their gratitude to CCF for its support on their advocacy. Mr Chanphireak said, “We want to continue to perform this play in more provinces so that we can see other people enjoy the play and also understand the key educational message that we are trying to convey.”