400 arts professionals send letter to Minister of Culture for “urgent” meeting
The signatories are part of SOS Arte PT movement launched in early April to “resist”, with some proposals, the effects of the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic and in defense of the country’s visual arts.
Due to restrictions to combat the pandemic, all cultural spaces had closed and thousands of artists were unable to present their work, including those in visual arts field.
In a statement sent today to Lusa agency, the movement announces that it has sent a letter to the Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, requesting an “urgent meeting ‘online'” to present a set of proposals and initiatives to “face the seriousness of the situation” .
At the launch of the movement, contacted by Lusa agency, cultural manager Carlos Moura-Carvalho, one of the promoters of the initiative, said the movement should become a cultural and professional association in this area, “as soon as circumstances permit”.
For now, the promoters – which also involve, among others, the curator and art critic António Cerveira Pinto, and the artists Ana Fonseca and Manuel Casimiro – put forward several proposals, namely the creation of an emergency fund that can gather public and private funding.
“All public and private support that was announced should be centralized and managed jointly, in a transparent manner, by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance, with an inspection committee”, defended Carlos Moura-Carvalho, who says he was challenged by various artists to create the movement.
This movement “is apolitical, nationwide, and positive, open to all creators of the visual arts”, a group that “has little support and, at this time lives many situations of job loss”, maintained the former director-general of the Arts.
“Many of them teach, are scared and worried because everything stopped,” he added about the reasons for this emphasis on the vast universe of so-called visual arts.
The promoters speak of “prolonged challenges that justify a wide congregation of efforts to defend artistic culture in the country and in the world”.
The strategic document that they approved on Wednesday calls for five main initial measures: the first of which is the creation of the SOS Arte PT Fund that brings together public and private financing “to guarantee social protection for all arts professionals during the period when it is impossible to carry out exhibitions, performances, conferences and other activities “.
The document also proposes the readjustment of the National Plan of the Arts (PNA) to immediately “integrate activities adapted to the new reality that [lives], using professionals of the arts who have seen their activities and jobs cease because of the covid -19 “.
In these emergency circumstances, commented Carlos Moura-Carvalho, the PNA, which involves the areas of education and culture at national level, “was stopped, and has to be rethought”.
“Education and culture are also essential at this time and will be even more in a few months, at the end of the emergency”, said the cultural manager in the statement to Lusa.
The promoters also want to propose to the Government all proposals and mappings of various organizations – from universities, foundations, associations and arts movements – that have been carried out to be brought together and made available, in a single platform or website.
The objective is to develop “procedures for hearing and participating with these entities, with a effective and comprehensive collection and treatment of information”, which should appear on the platform under the responsibility of the areas of economy, including statistics, and culture.
Also to support artists who lose their workspaces, they want to launch Bolsa de Ateliers 3.6.9 – an online platform for searching and offering temporary studios for artists, at zero cost, for periods between three, six and nine months .
They also intend to promote an online exhibition, titled “100 days of quarantine – 100 days, 100 artists, 100 works”, whose works will be part of the future Fundo SOS Arte PT.
Asked by Lusa about whether this situation is an opportunity to rethink the future support for arts, Carlos Moura-Carvalho said that “it is an important time to rethink subsidy models or the patronage law, which is very bureaucratic, among other issues” .
All art professionals can join the movement, including creators, critics, curators, producers, historians, teachers and cultural managers.
Carlos Moura-Carvalho indicated that all those who subscribe the strategy document by end of April, this year, will be considered founders, and a group of nine to 15 people “will assume the responsibility of developing the discussions necessary to consolidate the movement”.
Professionals from different fields, such as Fátima Lambert, Fernando Ribeiro, Fernando Pina, Thuy Tien, Patricia Freire, Regina Frank, Rodrigo Bettencourt Câmara and Valentim Quaresma, are also in this group.