Money is available to develop the arts

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

When artists apply for funding at the National Arts Council and their applications are unsuccessful, they often think that it is the end of the road.

But this is not so because funding art development is available through provincial arts and culture councils.

Recently, I spoke to Gauteng's Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation MEC Barbara Creecy about her budget.

The MEC also discussed the creative arts industry strategy, as well as how artists can benefit from funding from the provincial government.

The Gauteng government, through the provincial arts and culture council, makes available R7million to artists.

Creecy explained: "This money is for developing the arts and is available to arts organisations that are working in communities to develop the arts. The funds are not available to individuals.

"Arts organisations, such as the traditional dance sector, also benefit from the funds," Creecy said.

She added that libraries, which are managed by municipalities, also get funding from the provincial government every year, but this money is often for specific projects.

"The municipalities may not transfer the funds for projects other than those identified by the provincial government. To account for the use of the funds, an evaluation committee makes sure that officials appropriately account for the use of the funds," Creecy said.

She said that the provincial government has set aside R4million this year for funding a popular yearly carnival. The government says that 15000 people are expected to take part in the festival. This year's carnival in August will be a joint event between the City of Joburg and the Gauteng government.

Creecy said the provincial government has consulted with the government of Trinidad and Tobago to fine-tune the carnival.

"We had a consultative conference this year with Trinidad and Tobago. The whole idea is to eventually establish a Gauteng Carnival Council, which will take management responsibility of the carnival," Creecy said.

But as far as the development of literature goes, the MEC admitted that there are obvious weakness in the provincial-arts strategy.

"We even thought of coming up with a book fair to try and boost this sector because if you look at Gauteng, it has the biggest market for books," Creecy said.