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Transforming the Arts Sector


Lessons from the ground


“Transformation literally means going beyond your form”
-   Wayne Dyer, American author and motivational speaker

Since the onset of COVID-19, the $75M Arts and Culture Resilience Package announced in 2020 has helped to safeguard the livelihoods and key capabilities in the arts and culture ecosystem, and enhanced the sector’s capacity to digitalise to meet immediate survival needs. But beyond immediate needs, COVID-19 has also highlighted the importance for arts organisations to address long-term strategy, sustainability and growth.

NAC introduced the Organisation Transformation Grant (OTG) on 8 March 2021, to support arts organisations to transform, so that they remain resilient and nimble to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Over 90 projects were supported by the grant, and the combined experiences of the project teams represent rich learning on how arts organisations can transform.

Through selected case studies, we want to shed light on some important questions: What is transformation? Why transform? And how does an arts organisation transform?

Many arts organisations used the OTG exercise to reflect upon these questions:

  • What is their Unique Value Proposition as an arts organisation? What differentiates them from everybody else?
  • How do they see themselves growing in the next 5-10 years?
  • What is the right mix in their portfolio of products (including digital)? How do all their products/ services connect with one another?
  • What do their target markets want as a great user experience?


Ultimately, we learnt that transformation is holistic: it requires a system of different interventions, across Products (or experiences), Processes, Systems and People. A good transformation process requires the inter-locking system of interventions across these 4 areas.

We also saw that companies that focused on their Core Purpose had a greater motivation to transform in order to deliver that Purpose - whether through new products or revenue streams, improving efficiency or reaching more audiences. One company said: “[We were] reminded of our core values. We overlooked that we have lots of things to offer.”

The Everywhere Love_20 March
Want to Transform?
See how the Sector Transformation Fund can help you.

Why Transform?

Read about the challenges faced by arts organisations which spurred them to transform.  


Transformation Top Tips

If you are thinking of starting your own transformation journey, this ‘cheat sheet’ of best practices could help you gain a head start.


Get ideas from these selected OTG projects to kick start your own journey.

Doing More With Less

Creating shared resources for the arts sector is simply good common sense - it brings productivity gains to everyone, reduces duplication and is good for the environment. The act of sharing, above all, is an act of generosity that brings the arts community closer together.

Doing It Better

Typically strapped for manpower, time, budget and bandwidth, productivity is critical for many arts companies. Technological solutions are key to not only saving time but also for distilling precious information that empowers better decisions.

Art Galleries Association Singapore – Optimising the Website

Orchestra of the Music Makers - Bespoke Volunteer Management System

Singapore Book Council –Audience Database with Data Visualisation (coming soon)

The Theatre Practice – Technology for Digital Theatre (coming soon)

A Resource Guide - Back-end Systems Implemented in OTG (coming soon)

Collaborative Project – Fundraising and Donor Management (coming soon)

Reaching New Audiences

The way audiences search for, purchase and experience art is rapidly changing due to digital technology, and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Artists who have successfully integrated art forms with digital technology have grasped that the entire creative process requires modification, not just the final form. Those who do this well can open up whole new markets for their art.

Co:Creation Workshop – Digital Visual Arts Programmes

Maya Dance Theatre - Systemisation of Digital Marketing (coming soon)

Gajah Gallery  – Experimenting with NFTs (coming soon)

ARUDIO - E-learning for Ceramic Arts (coming soon)

Investing in People

Any transformation would not succeed without investing in people. Teams need to be trained to sustain an investment in technology; volunteers need to be developed with the right skills; stakeholders need to be engaged to support the journey of change; artists need to be provided with accessible tools to create and distribute their works. An organisation embarking on a transformation journey must first consider how to set its people up for success.

Bubbly Books  – Self-Publishing Channels for Authors and Artists (coming soon)

SRIWANA -  Developing Skills for Live, Digital and Hybrid Programmes (coming soon)

Centre 42 & Sing Lit Station – Documentation on Arts Management (coming soon)