The 1990s heralded a decade of enormous strides and changes at NAFA as it grew itself into a full-fledged arts institution offering new programmes in design and multimedia.
In 1990, the National Arts Council leased former Selegie School premises at 1A Short Street to NAFA as its third campus named as the Selegie Campus, in addition to its Nan Hwa and San San campuses. The Academy’s name in Chinese was changed from南洋美术专科学院 to 南洋艺术学院 to reflect its status beyond a fine art training institution but a comprehensive arts education institution.
In 1992, the logo was modified. NAFA Board Chairman Chng Heng Tiu was appointed as acting principal.
In 1994, Dr Soh Kay Cheng was appointed the fifth principal.
In 1997, Dr Ho Kah Leong, former Senior Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Environment) was appointed NAFA’s sixth principal. A multimedia department was set up in January. Various departments were re-organised into three main schools - School of Visual Arts, School of Performing Arts and International School of Fashion Studies. Visual Arts included Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Multimedia. The Drama (renamed Theatre in 1998) department was set up in August 1997. In 1996, the National Arts Council sponsored NAFA for the acquisition of the old premises of St. Anthony’s Convent on Middle Road to replace Nan Hwa and San San campuses, as well as space at 11 Upper Wilkie Road the year after.
In 1998, NAFA launched two degree programmes in collaboration with Australian universities as it expanded its offerings for further education.
Arts education gained public interest in 1997 and the government commissioned a study on the feasibility of upgrading the two extant arts institutions. The study reviewed their roles in arts education and examined an expanded situation that would provide well-trained graduates to meet the fast growth of the creative industries. That resulted in NAFA being recognised as a full tertiary institution and being awarded polytechnic-level funding for its Diploma courses by Singapore’s Ministry of Education in 1999.
In the same year, the School of Young Talents was set up to bring together Junior Art, Junior Music, Junior Dance and Junior Drama under one department, providing one-stop arts enrichment lessons to children. The International School of Fashion Studies was also renamed School of Fashion Studies.