Founded in 1949 by a small band of enthusiasts in the little village of Heggodu, Karnataka, Ninasam has, over these five decades, evolved into a many-winged cultural institution that has won wide recognition. It has been acclaimed as a unique experiment in fusing culture and activism, art practice and social commitment, individual creativity, and collective responsibility. Originally begun as an amateur theatre group it has branched off in several directions and now enfolds a variety of sub-institutions and projects which are engaged in multifaceted activities. Its exploration of a new synthesis of formal and non-formal modes of arts education has been seen as a refreshing attempt at revivifying the vital links between the arts and the community. This endeavor of Ninasam to be a bridge between the microcosm of rural Karnataka and the macrocosm of the world at large has brought it many honors, one of the highest of which has been the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Creative Arts, Communication, and Journalism, conferred on its co-founder and guiding spirit, Late. K.V. Subbanna, in 1991.