We were founded in 1998 by genocide survivor and musician Arn CHORN-POND. For a decade, we focused on endangered performing art forms and rituals. As 90% of Cambodia’s artists did not survive the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia’s artistic heritage was in danger of being lost forever.
Over the last 20 years, both Cambodia and the arts scene have developed rapidly and we have evolved our work to match. We have focused on helping talented people to build and develop careers in the arts, through scholarships, fellowships, and support to troupes and individuals.
Looking forwards, we aim to promote creativity and innovation in the arts sector, and to build links with our neighbors in the Greater Mekong region and further afield in Asia. We are also working to get more arts and culture education into Cambodian public schools, and to increase performance opportunities for Cambodian artists.
Today, it operates a series of projects across the country. The Artist Development programme supports artists and arts communities to build sustainable futures in the sector, by directly supporting arts teaching, and by helping small artistic enterprises to establish themselves.
As well as supporting artists, CLA works to ensure there are jobs in arts and culture so the industry is viable. And this is the side of CLA most familiar to tourists, especially through its daily Traditional Dance Show at its charming outdoor theatre at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
The Living Arts Fellows programme – a year-long career development opportunity for leaders and innovators from the arts and culture sector – will continue.
The organisation will also work with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and UNESCO to better integrate culture and arts education into the education system. A pilot programme is gearing up to launch in Phnom Penh in early 2017.