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Established in 1938, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is Singapore’s pioneer arts institution. The academy is known for its rigorous and high-quality curriculum, innovative and practitioners-led teaching approach, diverse artistic creations and community outreach. NAFA is part of the new University of the Arts Singapore (UAS). Supported by the government, UAS will open its doors for its first degree intake in 2024.

NAFA has nurtured 13 recipients of the Cultural Medallion—Singapore’s highest accolade bestowed on art practitioners who have significantly impacted arts and culture. Another 15 alumni have been presented the Young Artist Award. NAFA graduates are creative changemakers, highly skilled, and well-rounded in inter-disciplinary approaches. Many of the academy’s alumni have gone on to make their mark in the professional arts scene in Singapore and abroad.

The academy offers full-time diploma and degree programmes across three faculties: Faculty of Art & Design comprising the School of Fine Art, School of 3D Design, School of Design & Media, as well as the School of Fashion Studies; Faculty of Performing Arts comprising School of Dance, School of Music, and School of Theatre; Faculty of Interdisciplinary Practices comprising School of Arts Management and School of Interdisciplinary Arts. Diploma programmes are aligned with the degree programmes offered in partnership with top universities in the world, namely University of the Arts London (ranked 2nd globally for Art and Design since 2019),  Royal College of Music, London (ranked first globally for Performing Arts in 2022) and the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

NAFA’s programmes are designed and delivered by experienced art educators and leading industry practitioners. The academic schools regularly review and refine their curriculum to reflect the changing needs of the industry.

Since 1999, NAFA has received polytechnic-level funding from Singapore’s Ministry of Education. In 2011, NAFA became the first comprehensive arts education institution in Singapore to be awarded the four-year EduTrust certificate from the Council for Private Education (now known as Committee for Private Education). It received its third four-year certification in 2019.

As an advocate of lifelong learning, NAFA dedicates its effort to developing a greater appreciation of the arts for all ages. The NAFA Arts Preschool (formerly NAFA Arts Kindergarten), is the first arts-themed preschool in Singapore. The School of Young Talents offers weekend courses in art, dance, drama and music to 4- to 18-year-olds. For adults, the Centre for Lifelong Education offers enrichment courses and part-time certificate courses.

With a rich heritage, established track record and an unwavering dedication to the highest standards of arts education, NAFA strives to live up to its mission of “inspiring learning and growth through the arts”.


NAFA celebrated its 85th Anniversary last year with much vigour and splendour.  We are now a proud founding member of University of the Arts Singapore (UAS), and stand strong on a global stage in partnership with eminent institutions including Royal College of Music, London, University of the Arts London, and Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing). As NAFA marches on to its centenary milestone, we look back with great pride on our achievements and look ahead with great energy and confidence.

Indeed, since its founding in 1938, NAFA has transformed more than 16,000 full-time students, and over 140,000 students from our part-time and junior courses.  Most notably, NAFA is proud of its illustrious alumni which include 13 Cultural Medallion recipients such as Han Sai Por and Wee Beng Chong, and 15 Young Artist Award recipients such as Dr Goh Toh Chai and Yeo Chee Kiong, who continue to nurture young changemakers at NAFA.  We are also privileged to have a distinguished faculty which includes eminent figures such as the late pioneer artists Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi, Cheong Soo Pieng, Georgette Chen, along with music maestro Lim Yau who continues to teach at NAFA.  They exemplify NAFA’s rich heritage, vibrant community, and the strong traditions rooted in its Southeast Asian identity.

With NAFA’s unique identity and strength in Southeast Asian arts, its Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA), established in 2010 has been championing and leading Southeast Asian arts practice and research locally and internationally. The Southeast Asian Arts Forum is now an annual feature that brings together regional experts from a gamut of creative and academic disciplines, forging and nurturing connections through the facilitation of critical discourse on practice, politics, and education of creative arts. Through its Art Galleries, ISEAA features exhibitions on Southeast Asian artists including Yong Mun Sen in Nanyang and Art School SG: Tang Da Wu, as well as seminal figures such as Tay Bak Koi, Tan Kian Por, and Yeo Hoe Koon.  These have become must-see or highly sought-after exhibitions in the yearly arts and culture calendar.

At NAFA, we believe that art is for everyone and have stayed true to our mission of inspiring learning and growth through the arts.  As the only arts institution that provides learning at all ages and levels, we welcome tertiary students to our flagship diploma, degree, and master’s programmes; adult learners to our Centre for Lifelong Education courses; young students to our junior courses in the School of Young Talents and children from 18-months old to our arts-enriched preschool education. Through these encounters with the arts, NAFA opens the learners’ minds to the power and possibilities of how the arts can enhance their lives and change our world for the better.

Our diverse and world-class faculty at NAFA are known to be caring and great mentors.  They inspire, guide, and help shape students into future-ready changemakers.  With faculties in Art & Design, Performing Arts, and Interdisciplinary Practices working closely together, NAFA’s multidisciplinary approach and strong technical foundations provide a robust canvas for arts aspirants to boldly craft their futures.  Upholding our stewardship for Southeast Asian identity, we support artists in Singapore and Southeast Asia through residency opportunities at our Cite des arts internationale Paris studios.

Journeying ahead towards NAFA100, we are excited to fill the next chapter with new areas of focus in programmes and research, leveraging technology to be at the forefront of arts and education practices.  Building on our current esteemed partnerships and alliances, we will forge ahead with new strategic partners, and pursue international outreach to nurture global citizens.

To all enthusiasts, budding artists and designers; have the courage to create and boldly empower your artistic passion. Come along and join our big NAFA family where your exciting artistic journey finds a home.

Mrs Tan-Soh Wai Lan
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts




A leading arts institution enriching lives and communities through education and practice



Inspire learning and growth through the arts


Core Values

Passion, Care and achieving Excellence through
the NAFA spirit of Creativity, Exploration and Resilience



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