Cambodian Living Arts was started by Arn Chorn-Pond - a musician and a survivor from Cambodia's Khmer Rouge era. During the civil war he managed to escape to a refugee camp and eventually to the United States.
In the mid-1990’s, Arn returned to Cambodia on a mission to rebuild the legacy of his family’s involvement in Cambodian Opera and to find his music teacher from the time of the Khmer Rouge. On his trip, he “discovered” that other Master artists who had miraculously survived the war and the resulting genocide, were surviving in extremely difficult living conditions. The Cambodian Masters Performers Program was born.
Over the past 20 years, this program grew into Cambodian Living Arts, and has expanded and evolved, helping talented people to build and develop careers in the arts, through scholarships, fellowships, and support to troupes and individuals.
Now, building on this base, CLA's programs aim to give artists the resources and opportunities to start telling the stories of contemporary Cambodia—from stages, schools and community spaces, to international platforms reaching audiences across the world.