National Arts Council (Singapore)

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National Arts Council
Agency overview
Formed October 15, 1991 (1991-10-15)
Preceding agencies Singapore Cultural Foundation
Cultural Division of Ministry of Community Development
Festival of Arts Secretariat
National Theatre Trust
Jurisdiction Government of Singapore
Headquarters 90 Goodman Road, Goodman Arts Centre, Blk A #01-01, Singapore 439053
Agency executives Professor Chan Heng Chee, Chairman
Kathy Lai, Chief Executive Officer
Parent agency Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
Entrance of Goodman Arts Centre, where the National Arts Council is housed.

The National Arts Council of Singapore (Abbreviation: NAC; Chinese: 国家艺术理事会; Malay: Majlis Kebudayaan Kebangsaan Singapura) was established in September 1991 "to nurture the arts and make it an integral part of life in Singapore.


The National Arts Council (NAC) was formed from the amalgamation of the Singapore Cultural Foundation, Cultural Division of Ministry of Community Development, Festival of Arts Secretariat and the National Theatre Trust in 1991.

Organisation Structure[edit]

The NAC is made up of the following sectors and departments: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Arts & Community, Arts & Youth, Arts Education, Capability Development, Strategic Planning and Precinct Development. They are supported by the Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services and the Finance department to implement strategies and programmes to better the art scene in Singapore.

Arts Cluster Development[edit]

The NAC adopted an arts cluster development approach starting from 15 April 2004. This project was led by a dedicated team of officers championing the performing, visual and literary art forms. This new approach enabled the Council to develop all its various art forms in a holistic manner by working through the entire value chain, nurturing and developing artists, arts groups and arts businesses, to providing international stages for Singaporean artists to showcase their talents. This new plan also helps enhance the relationship within the arts community, where artists and arts groups become partners, implementing the cluster development plan.

Community Engagement[edit]

In line with the NAC’s goal of developing lifelong arts participation, the Council works closely with other agencies to bring arts to the wider public using community platforms, such as the community centres, public libraries and communal spaces found in the heartlands. One of the key initiatives was the development of the District Arts Festivals across all five Community Development Councils (CDCs) to showcase community talents and to raise the level of arts engagement amongst the general public.

Assistance Schemes[edit]

In order to help develop Singapore's young art talents and organisations, the NAC has set up schemes to provide them with financial and non-financial assistance at all levels of participation. These schemes include 2-year and as well as annual grant to provide funding to major arts companies as well as various project grants, which also assist in the production and presentation of artistic work and activities. In order for the council to promote Singapore arts overseas, International Development Grants' are available to artists and arts companies for touring, collaboration and marketing.


In order to create more demand for the arts in Singapore, the NAC has supported a range of programmes that cut across various art forms, as well as reaching out to the community. Some of these programmes are:

  • Arts For All - a Community Engagement Plan initiated in 2008 to broaden and deepen arts experience and appreciation in the community as well as to enliven community spaces through sustained access to quality arts.
  • National Arts Council - Arts Education Programme (NAC-AEP) - an initiative that advocates the value and importance of arts education and appreciation among the young in schools. It connects the arts community with the education sector and supports the professional development of artists.

To further develop and identify potential artistic talents, the NAC also organises competitions to enable artists in Singapore to enhance their performing, literary and musical skills. Some of these competitions include:


The NAC also organises several flagship art events in Singapore. They are:

  • Singapore Arts Festival - an annual signature event that sees a broad and inclusive programme ranging from premier classics to contemporary creations. It is also a national platform for Singaporeans to engage in the arts. In June 2012, the Arts Festival was put under review. In May 2013, after recommendations made by the Singapore Arts Festival Review Committee, the National Arts Council announced the formation of Arts Festival Limited, a new arts company set up to organise and manage the Singapore Arts Festival. The Council is currently in the process of setting up the company as a Company Limited by Guarantee governed by an independent Board.
  • Singapore Writers Festival - one of Asia’s premier literary events. The annual festival aims to showcase some of the world’s major literary talents to Singapore, as well as promoting new and emerging Singaporean and Asian writing to an international audience. To date, it remains one of the few literary festivals that is multi-lingual, focusing on the official languages of Singapore – English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.
  • Noise Singapore - this initiative is dedicated to making “noise” about the creative talent of young people aged 35 and below. Through numerous platforms to express, develop and showcase their creativity, Noise Singapore hopes to encourage young people in Singapore to actively participate and nurture their relationship with the arts, as well as get them spotted for their budding abilities. The programme will wrap up with a Festival Showcase, where the creative works of these young artists will be featured through a series of events and exhibitions.

External links[edit]