It’s been two decades since the inception of the National Arts Council (NAC), the public entity mandated to facilitate the development of arts, culture and heritage in South Africa.
The National Heritage Council and Market Theatre Foundation share their well-wishes for the NAC. Over the years, the NAC has provided funding and support to initiatives and projects that educate, uplift, empower and express the hopes and dreams of South Africans, who have since 1994 been waking up to the possibilities of freedom of expression and democracy. Since 1997, the NAC has funded a total of 5 896 projects and artists, an average of 536 projects and artists per year, with total funding provided amounting to more than R550 million, averaging more than R50 million per year. Over and above this, the NAC has opened many avenues and provided platforms for South African arts and culture workers in the international arena, paving the way for investment and development. The NAC covers seven disciplines under its umbrella – dance, theatre, literature, visual art, music, craft and multidiscipline – all of which enjoy the same amount of attention and care from its teams of dedicated arts development officers, members of the board and executive, and support staff. As part of the national Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy initiative, which aims to stimulate the economy by creating employment in the arts, culture and heritage sector, the NAC has identified several Flagship Projects across each discipline. These projects are aimed at creating socioeconomic growth through education and grassroots development.
1A message from CEO of the National Heritage Council (NHC): Adv. Sonwabile Mancotywa
‘This 20-year milestone of the National Arts Council of South Africa marks the coming of age of the strategic direction of the arts, culture and heritage sector in this democratic country. Congratulations to the NAC for striving to give South Africans the freedom to express their culture and heritage through the arts. I can concur that they have done so through a fruitful partnership of national importance we have with the organisation through the NHC’s Heritage Education School Outreach Programme to educate our primary school learners about our country’s intangible heritage. The arts, culture and heritage are fundamental to society for they possess the creative and innovative means of self-actualisation and social transformation based on the social practices, values, traditions and histories of cultural communities. Through our partnership, we remain committed to educating South Africans about their heritage through the arts, and strive to sustain the economy of our country through arts, culture and heritage.’
2A message from CEO of the Market Theatre Foundation: Ismail Mahomed
‘This 20-year milestone in the history of the National Arts Council offers it an invaluable opportunity to reflect on its past, celebrate its resilient existence and to re-envision the next milestone. As artists across our country take their curtain calls and as audiences applaud, as crafters package their new products and as art collectors take home their new artworks, the message is loud and clear – we are undoubtedly a far better country where the arts continue to heal us and to offer us hope. For that, we do owe some gratitude to those who have worked tirelessly at the National Arts Council over the past two decades to facilitate our artistic journeys and experiences. Not only have South African artists successfully created exciting and cutting-edge work to present in our leading theatres, galleries, music halls and festivals but over the past 20 years we have witnessed so much more work being developed and presented in some of the most remote parts of the country.’
Read more about the NAC’s Ukes and Kids launches in New York