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New Visual and Applied Arts Building, Stronger Start For Students

When Phare Ponleu Selpak Association (PPSA) was founded 20 years ago the school looked completely different than its current form. Just one little wooden building was used for visual arts, normal lessons and circus skills when they started… children would even eat lunch at one of the founder’s houses!

Over the years the school has expanded because of support from the community and abroad. There’s now a public school with multiple classrooms, kindergarten, library, circus training building, performing arts building, big top, music room, offices, gallery and now a brand new building for the Visual and Applied Arts School (VAAS).


The visual arts building was the original wooden ‘house’ – but the new VAAS building provides an even better learning environment better space and resources along with a revamped programme to train students better for entering the work force.

Srey Bandaul, co-founder of Phare Ponleu Selpak and a Director of VAAS.

Now we have space to work and everyone is happier. It will develop the capacity of students and teachers. We (the teachers) have our own office and students have time and space to research for themselves.”

The curriculum has undergone a shift in focus to compliment the new building, and the higher standards of education and job opportunities following graduation.

Before we worked really closely with the social support program, we accepted everyone and anyone. Now we focus on the education program, now we jump to the step in professional training. We’re not forgetting our original mission though and so we are still keeping the social program aspects.”

Before we really wanted students to work after they graduated, but most of them did not make it because they studied for fun and didn’t take it seriously, only one or two per year took it seriously and pursued a professional artist career. Now we hope that everyone when they graduate school can have a job.”

As production of the arts returns and thrives in Cambodia so does the demand for staff like the graduates from Phare. There are more and more companies looking for creative minds to expand their businesses.

In Cambodia there are very few people who work in graphic design and animation, it’s very new in Cambodia, people are starting to think about this kind of work, it’s a new career in Cambodia, you can find more and more.”