Support Measures for SEPs affected by COVID-19


Update on NAC’s support for the arts self-employed persons and freelancers through the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP)

(published on 19 May 2020, 1530hr)

A variety of support schemes have been announced by the Government over the past two months aimed at supporting SEPs and companies in the arts sector. Most notably, the$55 million Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) provides support and opportunities for our arts organisations and Arts Freelancers/Self-Employed Persons (SEPs), along with developing longer-term capabilities for the post-COVID-19 recovery. Please visit our ARH website for regular updates relevant to our arts freelancers/SEPs.

To date, through the ACRP, NAC has:


NAC has also engaged about 70 SEPs through the ‘Ask NAC’ sessions over a course of 6 weeks in Mar and April. These engagement sessions have helped us understand the key concerns of arts SEPs and enabled clarifying conversations about both NAC’s and other whole-of-government support measures.


Alleviating Impact of Income Loss
Measures aimed at offering practical, financial support to SEPs

The arts sector has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, with many SEPs facing a sudden stoppage to current and future income streams. The measures for SEPs announced by DPM Heng Swee Keat to help tide SEPs through this period of economic uncertainty, apply to the arts as well. 

Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)

Eligible SEPs will receive three quarterly payouts of $3,000 each in end-May, July and October 2020.


About 100,000 SEPs will automatically benefit from SIRS. Eligibility criteria has been further expanded after taking in feedback, and the appeals process with NTUC is currently open.

MOE’s support for arts instructors

MOE has introduced new measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on MOE instructors and coaches, which include arts instructors as well. MOE will be providing instructors the option to restructure their existing contracts, coupled with extending their existing contracts and receiving advanced payments for work done in year 2020. More details on these measures here.

NAC’s existing grant schemes

Existing NAC grant schemes continue to be available to arts SEPs who might wish to use this time to focus on the creation of new works or research e.g. our Creation, Production and Research Grant schemes.


Sustaining Audience Reach through Digitalisation 
Supporting arts SEPs to build digital capabilities and showcase digital content

NAC is aware that digital arts experiences for audiences cannot replace live arts experiences. While we also look forward to going back into the theatres to experience the arts fully, the reality is that for now, this is not possible. In a world post-COVID-19, NAC expects that digital forms will complement physical forms, with our grants likely refined to respond to the new normal. 

It is hence important to cultivate an audience who will continue to support the arts in different forms of presentation, and build necessary capabilities amongst artists now. We encourage our artists to explore areas such as digital creation, presentation and audience engagement so that you will be better positioned for the days ahead.

Unified Digital Platform

NAC has launched the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign to enhance the visibility of Singapore’s arts and culture, both locally and abroad, during this period.


Digital arts and culture content is being released on the #SGCultureAnywhere site, a one-stop centre to showcase the best of Singapore’s arts and culture content. The arts community is encouraged to join other cultural institutions like Esplanade, National Gallery and our museums, to contribute to this campaign.


To access the best of #SGCultureAnywhere, please visit A List Singapore (

Digital Presentation Grant

NAC is supporting artists to present their work in digital forms or via digital mediums with the introduction of the Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts. We have since seen encouraging influx of applications that show the adaptability and willingness of artists to embark on the digitisation journey.


We understand that more time might be needed to put together the application and work on the projects if awarded, especially under the circuit breaker period. We have extended the application window from 30 June to 31 July 2020 and the project completion date from 30 September to 30 December 2020.


Developing Capabilities to be Future Ready 
Support for training to be ready for post-COVID-19 recovery

NAC has made additional funding available for training, along with commissioned arts-specific courses and talks that are relevant to the arts SEPs.We hope there will be more arts SEPs who are keen to take up training and development to prepare for the post-COVID-19 recovery.

Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (CDSA)

Arts SEPs who apply for the CDSA may receive up to $1,000 of funding to offset their course fees by up to 90% and receive training allowance of $10/hr.With immediate effect, CDSA grants awarded to SEPs will be disbursed with 50% paid upfront and the remainder following successful completion of the course, so financial difficulty is not a limiting factor to take up training. To enable more arts SEPs to tap on the funding, the application period is extended from 30 June to 31 July 2020.


A non-exhaustive list of online courses, both local and overseas, have been identified and posted for ease of reference. Beyond these, applicants can do a search themselves for suitable courses as a wide range of programmes are eligible, as long as the training areas are relevant to the arts and culture sector.

NAC Commissioned Online Courses

NAC is working with some of our more established arts companies in offering training programmes to interested artists. The contributions and experiences our companies can bring to the table, will offer rich sharing contextualised to our local context. We hope that these courses will be fully tapped on when they are launched.

ARH Talks

ARH has been offering talks to the arts community since end-2019, in the areas of finance, legal and mental wellness. Over time, we have taken in suggestions from our subscribers on what else the talks can cover to be more relevant to arts SEPs’ needs.


We will be expanding the scope and format of our talks, along with the range of speakers through the year. This will include a new track that features sharing by SEPs to SEPs rolling out in May.


In these uncertain times, NAC will do our utmost to sustain the arts sector as best we can, whilst continuing to plan ahead for what the future of arts creation, presentation and engagement might hold. The ACRP is a valuable reserve for the arts and culture sector that will last till the end of 2020, and will be flexible in design to respond to the impact of Covid-19 on the sector.

Together, we can stay resilient in the face of changes as we prepare for a post-COVID-19 world.  These changes will be significant not only for the nature of arts creation and presentation, but also in how audiences will want to access the arts, and how we can continue to deliver strong social outcomes for patrons of the arts. 

We will continue to provide periodic updates on NAC’s support during this COVID-19 period for arts SEPs here and arts companies on our corporate site.

For a list of other support measures available in the creative and media sector, please refer to the links below:



An Overview of the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP)




SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)

Eligible SEPs will receive three quarterly payouts of $3000 each in May, July and Oct 2020.

For more details, visit here


Workforce Special Payment

$1,500 cash payout each in Jul and Oct 2020 for SEPs who received Workfare Income Supplement payout in 2019.

For more details, visit here.


Temporary Relief Fund

One-time cash payout for Citizens/PRs who lost their jobs or faced at least 30% income loss due to COVID-19. Approach the nearest Social Service Office (SSO) or Community Centre.


NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19)

One-time relief for eligible union members.

For more details, visit here.



Capability Development Scheme for the Arts

Up to 90% course subsidy, Up to $10 per hour training allowance, Up to $1,000 for training

Provide support for training courses (including online courses) beyond those supported by SkillsFuture

Apply by 30 Jan 2020 for training by 31 Dec 2020.

For more details, visit here.

For suggested courses and other relevant resources and services, visit here.


NTUC Training Fund (SEPs)

$10 per hour training allowance from May 2020

For SkillsFuture Series and sector-specific training programmes, including online courses.

NTUC union members get up to $1 per hour top-up

For more details, visit here.



Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts

Applications are open!

Under the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP), the Digital Presentation Grant (DPG) aims to support efforts by artists and arts organisations to present their work in digital form or via digital mediums and develop capabilities in digital art content production. The DPG is now open for applications from 14 April to 30 June 2020 (5pm), and projects should be completed by 30 September 2020. Successful applicants may receive up to $20,000 per project.

To learn more about the guidelines and application process of the DPG scheme or the entire Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP), please head over here.