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Sunday, November 7, 2021


(Left: Marcus Desando)

The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) bids farewell to current CEO, Marcus Desando, as he takes on the directorship of the esteemed Prince Claus Fund from January 2022.

The ACT expresses gratitude to CEO Marcus Desando for his visionary work at the Trust and excitement as he embarks on a new journey in his career.

ACT CEO Marcus Desando has been at the helm of the Trust since 2017. During his four-year term, he led his team through a major organisational review and strategic reimagining. 

His leadership has seen the organisation grow in relevance and reach in a constantly changing industry as well as through a global pandemic that has severely impacted the arts sector in South Africa.

Before his journey with ACT, he was the Artistic Director of the Black Tie Ensemble and the CEO of Gauteng Opera. He has mentored and nurtured many emerging artists and researchers in his highly impactful and meaningful career. His care and compassion for artists as well as his investment in development work will be missed in South Africa.

Marcus Desando will officially conclude his journey as CEO in December, 2021, before taking up tenure as Director of the Prince Claus Fund in the Netherlands in January 2022. The ACT team and the Trustees extend their deep-felt gratitude to him for the exemplary leadership and nurturing he has practiced and commends his drive for supporting the personal growth that he fostered in all within the Trust.

ACT CEO Marcus Desando says: “Change is never an easy concept to accept but it holds universally true in the fact that it remains the only constant. It is with this belief at my core that I have embraced a move to yet another development agent, the Prince Claus Fund. I would like to thank the Trust for allowing me, over the past four years, to learn and grow in ways that have shaped what I take with me and will apply in the next leg of my life’s journey. My tenure with the ACT has been imbued with joy and fulfilment and I know that I am leaving it in good hands that will take the new strategy to even greater heights.”

ACT Chairperson David Dennis says: “After assuming the role of chair of the ACT Board of Trustees in 2017, the task of interviewing for a new CEO followed shortly. An impressive shortlist finally led to the selection of Marcus Desando as the new CEO, heralding a dynamic shift in the trajectory of the Trust as it approached its 25th anniversary in the field of funding and sponsorship in the creative arts sector. Marcus' courage and foresight has proven to be a great asset and I do not hesitate in commending highly the tenacity and consistency with which he approached the challenges posed by a dramatically-changing environment throughout 2020/21 in particular.

“Four short years later and we, as a board, are poised to bid him adieu as he embarks on a truly exciting venture. We couldn't be more proud of his achievement and not one to let slip any opportunity to form a mutually beneficial and strategic alliance the board and I will immediately enjoin him, after the requisite 'settling in' period in Amsterdam, to revive his association with the Arts & Culture Trust in his new role as Director of the Prince Claus Fund. As chair, I thank Marcus for his service to the Trust and the broader sector. May the road rise up to meet you on your new journey.”

In a rapidly developing and adapting arts landscape, ACT acknowledges that “we know we never say goodbye to a member of the ACT, instead we are hopeful that we are growing our ACT family and extending the reach and purpose of our organisation to new partners. The Trust wishes Mr. Desando all the best in his new role as Director of the Prince Claus Fund and strength as he concludes his Doctorate in the new year.


For more information, visit or link directly to the ACT website by clicking on the advert to the right of this article. Follow ACT on Twitter or like the ACT’s Facebook page.