Art Outreach Singapore’s HEARTH Program Thrives in the Sands Cares Accelerator

Jun 10, 2024 10:30 AM ET

Las Vegas Sands

The newest graduate of the Sands Cares Accelerator, Art Outreach Singapore, completed its journey in the exclusive developmental program for nonprofit organizations at the end of 2023. During that time, the arts appreciation nonprofit has established what was once a temporary offering to promote Singaporean artists into a powerhouse program that has presented 44 art showcases and supported 183 practitioners.

Three years ago, Art Outreach entered the Sands Cares Accelerator with the goal of making its HEARTH program a permanent offering. HEARTH provides local artists with exhibition space where they can share and develop work along with professional development opportunities.

Art Outreach initially launched HEARTH during the COVID-19 pandemic when the organization decided to repurpose its administrative offices into a community art space for local artists to exhibit and incubate pieces. Originally introduced as a trial to address gaps in the ecosystem and offer support to local artists, HEARTH became a permanent offering with funding and resources from the Sands Cares Accelerator.

In addition to enabling dedicated space, the program offers valuable professional development curriculum and resources such as curatorial support and micro-grants to burgeoning artists.

“With the backing of the Sands Cares Accelerator, HEARTH has flourished into a go-to independent art space, setting the national benchmark for exposure, visibility and professional support,” Mae Anderson, chair of Art Outreach Singapore, said. “We now operate one of the largest and most productive independent art spaces in the industry, positioning us not only as a leader in the field, but as a model and reference for others in the arts community.”

Beyond creating permanent space for artist creations and showcases, Art Outreach substantially grew HEARTH’s resources for artists during its Sands Cares Accelerator membership.

In addition to offering space for showcases, Art Outreach also delivers a suite of complementary programs to empower artists at various career stages. Offerings include a professional development series featuring talks and workshops facilitated by industry professionals actively engaged in the art world to provide artists with valuable best practices and practical knowledge for sustaining their art careers. In total, HEARTH’s professional development series has served 282 artists in the past three years.

Other HEARTH resources for artists include access to a microsite that profiles and archives projects, providing them with platform to showcase work to online audiences and a curatorial review panel that encourages young artists to engage with the art community. In addition, HEARTH facilitates collaborations and generates opportunities with universities and schools to highlight student artwork.

In 2022, Art Outreach introduced the availability of micro-grants through HEARTH, making the program the sole independent art space in Singapore offering financial support to artists. The program has supported practitioners with micro-grants for their projects using funding from the Sands Cares Accelerator.

In addition to funding resources from Sands, mentoring from the Marina Bay Sands team has been instrumental in growing the HEARTH program, according to Art Outreach.

Marketing and research guidance provided by the Marina Bay Sands market research team helped Art Outreach build a better data collection system to track HEARTH’s long-term impact for practitioners more effectively. A six-month mentorship with Marina Bay Sands’ ArtScience Museum team provided Art Outreach with invaluable insights into exhibition curation, marketing strategies and visitor engagement.

“The mentoring aspect of the Sands Cares Accelerator is part of why it is such a unique capacity-building program for community organizations,” Anderson said. “The mentorship we received from Marina Bay Sands and the ArtScience Museum provided us with invaluable guidance and expertise from various knowledge centers and teams with Sands that helped us refine our strategies and business operations. It allowed us to test new business plans and leverage the knowledge of Sands’ teams to enhance our team’s capabilities.”

Using these resources, Art Outreach has significantly increased exposure and developmental opportunities for Singaporean artists. HEARTH showcases attracted more than 35,000 physical and virtual visitors, and nearly 80% of visitors were not regular attendees of art exhibitions, demonstrating HEARTH’S impact on reaching new audiences.

In its final year in the Sands Cares Accelerator in 2023, Art Outreach fulfilled one of its most ambitious goals: relocating to a new space, which included undertaking extensive renovations to create a museum-quality facility that can nurture artistic innovation.

“Our time spent in the Sands Cares Accelerator and the myriad resources we received from the program made us realize we were capable of achieving far more than we had originally envisioned for HEARTH,” Anderson said. “While our primary goal was to address the gap in providing space for artists, we emerged as a vanguard in the industry, showcasing an ideal model of support that extended beyond just physical space by offering curatorial support, micro-grants and professional development resources.”

HEARTH also gave Singapore residents a unique way to interact directly with artists through showcases, which has perpetuated local appreciation for contemporary art, while sparking conversations on pressing environmental, social and mental health issues.

“Being a member of the Sands Cares Accelerator granted us the invaluable ability to activate a long-term strategy and positioned us to make a lasting and meaningful difference in the community,” Anderson said.

The Sands Cares Accelerator was inspired by Sands’ founder Sheldon G. Adelson and his legacy of creating successful businesses and giving back to communities through meaningful philanthropic involvement. Since 2017, the program has empowered Las Vegas, Singapore and Macao nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations to build their capacity in strategic areas and develop new initiatives to make greater community impact using the funding, structured guidance and mentorship Sands provides through the exclusive membership program.

To learn more about the Sands Cares Accelerator and its focus on building nonprofit capacity, visit: