In 2013, NAFA celebrated its 75th anniversary with an extravaganza of visual and performing arts events to showcase its talented students and faculties. The events culminated in a NAFA 75th Anniversary Fundraising Gala Dinner & Concert graced by President Tony Tan Keng Yam on 1 November which raised more than $1.2 million for its Development Fund.
After a decade of success, Choo Thiam Siew left NAFA as president in 2014. Former Ngee Ann Polytechnic principal Chia Mia Chiang took over the helm as NAFA president on 1 April.
In 2015, there was a thorough review of the academic structure to enhance NAFA's standing as a student-centric institution that is driven by academic and organisational excellence. The academic departments were re-organised into three academic schools to reap synergies in curriculum planning, teaching and learning, utilisation of facilities and resource planning. Following the review, 3D Design, Design & Media, Fine Art and Fashion Studies departments were merged into a new “School of Art & Design”; the Dance, Theatre and Arts Management & Education Departments were merged into “School of Arts Management, Dance and Theatre”, and the Music Department was re-designated as the “School of Music”.
In December of the same year, the Academy received its largest donation since its founding in 1938. The Ngee Ann Kongsi pledged a sum of $10 million to NAFA, of which $9.4 million went to support the cost of building a new facility above the Bencoolen MRT Station. The rest of the donation or $0.6m goes towards The Ngee Ann Kongsi Talent Scholarships, which is given out to deserving full-time diploma students.
The following year, NAFA also received a generous S$5 million donation from the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple. The bulk of it went towards the NAFA Development Fund, which supports infrastructure and capability development. The rest of the donation was used for acquisition of library resources as well as to set up the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Student Relief Fund and the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Fellowship.
The year 2017 was a highlight for NAFA. The academy was very honoured to welcome His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales on 1 November 2017. During the visit which took place at The Ngee Ann Kongsi Galleries, His Royal Highness viewed art exhibits from the NAFA Collection. Creators of some of the artworks, who are alumni artists of NAFA, were present to introduce their works and techniques used. Students from NAFA’s School of Music also had the honour to interact with and perform musical pieces for The Prince of Wales.
The new facility above Bencoolen Station, named NAFA Campus 1 Tower Block, was officially opened on 2 February 2018. The expansion of campus space is the first following the move to the school’s permanent home in Bencoolen in 2004. The additional space goes to state-of-the-art classrooms, studios and student interaction spaces to benefit NAFA’s students.
On the same day, NAFA launched its 80th anniversary celebrations. Both milestone events were officiated by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defense. The event also kickstarted a year-long festivities to celebrate its eminent history. Programmes include an eight-week long arts festival, opera production, commemorative book, homecoming events for our alumni, and a rich variety of performances.
As NAFA continues to grow, the school also continues to strengthen their curriculum to remain relevant in the creative industry. It revamped its courses to strengthen career development and life skills with elements of internship, industry projects and teaching practice. The holistic approach ensures that students are ready for the creative industries and can make a difference in their future roles.
NAFA strives to be a provider of quality arts education for all ages. As a school which started humbly in 1938 with 14 Fine Art students, NAFA has been at the forefront of arts education development in Singapore for 80 years and continues to chart new frontiers.