Feature: A global arts education at your doorstep

Gerald Wong

BrightSparks Scholarship & Education 2019 Vol 1
by Careerbuilder Singapore
11 March 2019

A sound education in the arts should nurture your passion, push you beyond the boundaries of your creative excellence, and lay the groundwork for future career and personal development. At LASALLE College of the Arts, a cutting-edge contemporary arts and design education and international curriculum awaits students who seek both growth as an artist and leader, steeped in realworld working experience.

The arts, through the nurturing of high-level skills and critical reflection, has the ability to effect personal, social, and economic transformations. As Singapore’s only dedicated purveyor of contemporary arts, LASALLE is a hotbed of creativity and innovation – the perfect environment for aspiring cultural influencers and arts practitioners such as Gerald Wong, 25, and Michelle Ler, 22, who dare to follow their passions and chase their dreams. We speak to the two young talents about their respective courses and how LASALLE has prepared them to make a difference in the arts industry.

Something For Everyone

The multi-faceted nature of the arts industry calls for a comprehensive range of courses and programmes that cater to every niche and interest – something LASALLE takes pride in offering. And it is this ability to meet their needs and support every passion that started Gerald and Michelle on their journey with the institution. For BA(Hons) Arts Management student, Gerald, it was the desire for a more holistic education that led him to discover the Arts Management course he ultimately took the leap of faith and registered for.

“While I was blessed with a stable job, I had many worries about my future, especially since I only had an A-Level certificate. So I started looking around for institutions that offered degrees,” he explains. “When I searched LASALLE, I thought that it was mainly an institution for performing or visual artists and so I was very surprised to find that the school actually offered a course called ‘Arts Management’.”

Likewise for Michelle, who majored in Musical Theatre, LASALLE proved to be a perfect fit for her ambition to make musical theatre more accessible to the masses by providing her with the ideal course and platform to do so. “I decided to search for courses in Singapore that offer Musical Theatre as a major, and LASALLE was the only arts school here that offers Musical Theatre as a BA(Hons) course,” she recalls.

Michelle Ler
Michelle Ler, BA(Hons) Musical Theatre (Winner, McNally Award for Excellence in the Arts 2018)

Building Connections That Matter

One thing that sets LASALLE apart from other schools is the strong reputation of its international faculty with deep arts industry connections. The institution creates a global arts environment that allows students to keep in touch with the world through strategic partnerships with international institutions. It also gives students an opportunity to rub shoulders with international counterparts and academics based in Singapore and overseas.

“LASALLE has opened my eyes and helped me grow in many ways, and this is due to the way the lectures and assignments are run in the Arts Management course,” says Gerald. “Guest lectures by leading practitioners in the field serve as an inspiration to me and make me look forward to a career in the arts. These various aspects about my education in LASALLE has helped me to grow as a person and also deepened my knowledge about the arts and cultural scene in Singapore.”

The international perspective and opportunity to work with artists-in-residence has also proved useful to Michelle, who had a chance to shadow a music director for a musical production in Australia after working with him on a final year project in LASALLE. “Being in LASALLE has helped me so much with establishing connections in the arts industry even before I graduate and actually step out into the industry. Not only local connections, but international connections as well,” says Michelle.

She adds, “I think it helps a lot too that many of our lecturers and directors are professionals in the local industry itself, so we get to ask them for advice on how the industry is like or listen to them share their experiences with us in class. They give us feedback based on the actual industry standard and help to prepare us for auditions outside as they know what these auditions are like or what the theatre company is looking out for.”

Ready to Conquer the World

Ultimately, the programmes at LASALLE not only equip aspiring artists with the technical knowledge and competencies to excel in their respective fields, students are also imbued with the intangible but no less critical skills of creativity, professionalism, and a strong work ethic. “I think one of my greatest takeaways from the course is really about how I should work in a professional setting. Being taught how to be well prepared for auditions definitely helped me in securing jobs in the industry after I graduate, and even in my development as a performer,” shares Michelle.

Gerald concurs, as through his course at LASALLE, he is already witnessing his growth to be a more future-ready arts practitioner. “This course has allowed me to gain wider knowledge about the scene, which is important for a career in arts management. It has also trained me to think out of the box for solutions and to be confident when I speak and present myself to stakeholders in the arts and cultural scene.”

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Headline image: Gerald Wong, BA(Hons) Arts Management