Pertinent Questions Posed to the Namibia Arts Council

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK During the first stakeholders meeting artists and other stakeholders posed the following questions, which were answered by the board of the National Arts Council: – What is the office term of the current council members? Answer – Three Years – Is the NACN a temporary or permanent body? Answer – It is a permanent body. – How many funding circles will the NACN have annually? Answer – We are looking to once a year, and once we have set a solid foundation we will look into increasing the number of funding circles, annually. – How long will you take to respond, as government procedures always take at least up to four months to respond when the project already has expired? Answer – We are currently looking at three months, but we will look into developing a faster process to respond. When applicants apply, they should keep in mind the length of time the process will take so that it can fall within the period at which they envisage carrying out their project or activity. – Is literature work publishing also considered for funding? Answer – Definitely, literature is a written or word art. People who want to publish poetry, stories, scripts, novels, magazines, community newspapers, are encouraged to apply. – Please define un-planned activities. Answer – Unplanned activities are activities that are not defined or explained. They leave a lot to be desired on the information as to what exactly the funds will be used for. – Suppose you have categories for N$20ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 and an individual applies for the amount, will you give me the whole amount or will you only give me N$10ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 and refer me to other organizations to get the rest of the funding? Answer – If the project is seen as viable and meeting the expectations and objectives of the NACN, an applicant will get the monies requested, therefore N$20ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000. Only when the amount for instance is over N$50ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 or N$100ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000, then NACN could give those amounts depending on the quality of the project proposal and its presentation, and if it is not enough, we would then refer you to other donors to get the rest of the required amount. – In the document you have objectives and expected results, please explain? Answer – Objectives are your overall long-term goals; they are what it is that one hopes to achieve by carrying out an activity or project. Expected results are short-term and are measured throughout the project. – What programmes does the NACN have to sustain itself? Does NACN look for alternative funds besides the government grant? Answer – Currently the NACN gets its funding only from the Government, but it is looking into getting future funds for the institution from foreign as well as local private sector donors. Additionally, we are also working out strategies, which will not be mentioned now, to bring in some income with the hopes that it will lead to self sustainability. – Where can we find a copy of the Act? Answer – Copies of the National Arts Fund Act can be obtained from the NACN office, located in the Government Park, Ministry of Education Building, in Room 017 (ground floor), from M’kariko Amagulu. Contact details can also be found on the cover sheet. – Why fund only make-up and costumes when it comes to films? Answer – The council is currently not in a position to fund artists and arts organizations to the extent that it wants to, due to an insufficient budget, therefore it can not fund films which would cost much more than the NACN can afford. Additionally, the government institution, the Namibia Film Commission, is already specifically mandated to fund local film-makers. Thus, because film is also art, funding has been limited to smaller items of film budgets such as make-up and costumes, etc. – If a private organization operates on profit, are they eligible for funding? Answer – Yes, all they need to do is justify how it is that their project or activity will meet the objectives of the NACN and contribute to the realization of arts and culture Vision 2030 objectives – Can organizations such as NTN, COTA and NAGN apply for funding, while they already get government grants? Answer – This is a matter that will still need to be discussed in detail with the council board. – If an organization applies for project funding, how do they link to the project? Answer – the organization will be the overseer of the project, meaning the application is in the organization’s name, and reporting comes from the organization – either from the head or project coordinator. – Do you measure the projects by size, costing, need of art works or importance of artworks? Answer – More for the need and importance of art works. – Do you have categories for study loans for students, artist assistance, institutional assistance? Answer – Currently bursaries and study loans for studies in arts fields are being handled by the Art Gallery of Namibia and the National Theatre of Namibia. However, it is one of the mandates of the NACN as stipulated under the ‘Objects of fund’, in the National Arts Fund of Namibia Act 2005, where in point 4(e) it is stated, ‘to grant scholarships and financial support relating to arts to individuals’. Therefore, it is envisaged that once the NACN is fully operational, this task will fully become the council’s responsibility. – Please indicate where the Registrar, is situated and who is the registrar? Answer – The registrar is the Director of the Directorate of Arts in the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture, located in the Government Park within the Ministry of Education Building. All artists applying for funding from the NACN would have to be registered with the Directorate of Arts. – Does the NACN having the responsibility to fund material or equipment? Answer – Not a responsibility, but if a project has a potential to achieve certain objectives of the NACN, the application is good and the applicant needs start-up material or equipment, the council is at liberty to fund material or equipment. – How will the NACN assist the people in the regions with information dissemination? Answer – This will be done through the use of broadcast (radio/television) and print (newspaper/brochures/information booklet) media to reach all corners of the country. Artists and Arts organizations in the regions may also request for the information via e-mail (internet) and snail mail (post office). – If you are part of an institution, e.g. NTN, COTA, extension programme, are you not eligible to apply for funding? Answer – This is a matter that will still need to be discussed in detail with the council board. – Is it only Namibian citizens who qualify or also the permanent residents? Answer – Currently, as to the guidelines and criteria, only Namibian citizens will qualify for funding from the NACN. – Clarifications: that members of the board are not eligible for funding but provisions should be made otherwise they are artists gone to waste? Answer – This is a matter that will still need to be discussed in detail with the council board. – Are you going to translate the document into other vernaculars in order for all to understand? Answer – Yes, we hope to do so in the future, making the information much more available and understandable to all artists, through the use of different local languages. – There is a concern regarding the unequal distribution of funds in other statutory bodies of the government. How is NACN going to make sure that the funds go to the correct people and not practise plagiarism by giving the funds to friends and family? There is a saying: The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Kindly consider different allocations of funds, e.g. 60% Artists who need exposure, 40% are already established artists. The concern is that the levelling field must be fair. Answer – The NACN will fund applicants as to the quality of their proposed projects, activities, and how it is that they will meet the objectives of the NACN. Decisions will be made on an equal, fair and balanced basis. There will be no discrimination between applicants who all stand equal opportunities to get funding from the NACN. – Workshops done in the regions should be based on academic backgrounds in order to monitor the progress of the arts teachers in all regions? Answer – That is something that the council agrees with and will try and encourage, although there not so many artists with academic backgrounds in the Namibian Arts Sector, but many with experience in the arts. – Why should one not qualify for a grant if you have one already? Answer – If a person gets a grant and they successfully execute an activity or project, they are eligible to apply again for funding. It is only in cases where projects or activities were not carried out as stated in the proposal and no reporting was given to the NACN that an individual or organization would not qualify for more funding. – How is this going to supplement our curriculum in schools? Answer – The council will be in a position to fund school arts activities, such as theatre shows, exhibitions, fashion shows, music shows, poetry presentations, etc. within an aim to encourage future artists and to broaden the students audience base. This would be through funding road shows, opening performances at public venues, etc. The NACN is also in a position to fund arts workshops which can always conclude with exhibitions of end products, which the students can keep.