BLDEA’s S. S. Arts Institute has the objective of giving a fillip to the promotion and sustenance of various art forms of the region as well as various parts of the country.
The institute (called as Sri Siddeshwara Kalamandira in Kannada language) was established by BLDEA in 1979-80 with the objective of providing education as well as train teachers in fine arts. Sri C. B. Kachapura was the first principal of the institute. P. S. Kademani, the current head of the institute, was then serving as a time faculty. The institute, within a very short span of time, earned both name and fame and the number of students rose. BLDEA provided the necessary support and told the management of the institute to recruit full time faculty members. Spacious place too was provided to the institute.
From 1979-80 to 1981-82, the school offered a one year DTC course. A new syllabus was introduced in 1982-83 and the DTC course was replaced by a two year course called Drawing Master Course (DMC). ‘Third Year Drawing Class’ was added in 1988-89. This was followed with the addition of a ‘4th Year Painting Class’ in 1989-90 and a ‘5th Year Master Diploma Course (AM)’ in 1990-91. By starting specialized courses in Drawing and Painting, BLDEA provided the aspiring students of fine arts an opportunity to do higher studies in Drawing and Painting.
Sri M. S. Jatti, who was transferred to the institute as a lecturer in 1988 was promoted to the post of Principal in the same year. He served for a long time as a full time Principal of the arts institute till 2011.
The arts institute ran its classes in a small building in the beginning. BLDEA made a request to the Zilla Panchayat and the Department of Kannada and Culture for financial aid. To draw the attention of the department, events such as state and national level painting competitions, workshops, seminars, exhibitions, debates, etc. were conducted one after another. These activities succeeded in drawing the attention of BLDEA as well as the Department of Kannada and Culture. A grant of Rs. 36 lakh was sanctioned and this amount was used to build four art galleries, a Japanese auditorium and a graphic workshop.
Today, S. S. Arts Institute has grown into major force in the field of fine arts education in northern Karnataka. Several dignitaries have visited the institute and praised its activities. Noted artists from state and outside are invited to the institute regularly for guest lectures, seminars and workshops.
The institute is spread over an area of 5 acres and is housed in a spacious building, very close to the BLDE Medical College.