By M’Kariko Amagulu
The first selection committee sessions for art grants were recently held at the NamPower Convention Centre to ensure transparency and fairness on the outcome of applications to the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN).
There were four committee members per discipline and four panels doing the selection from 200 applications.
The sub-committees comprised of professionals from different arts disciplines such as theatre, visual arts, literature, media, music and dance.
The same committee dealt with music and dance while another committee dealt with media and literature. The committee members were invited and nominated by the board of the arts council.
The task of the committees was to assess all applications received and to make recommendations to the NACN board as to who should be the first recipients of the National Arts Fund.
The committees assessed the applications on whether they were aimed at meeting the objectives of the council as set in the Act No 1, 2005, through projects that endeavour to:
– Increase participation by artists and arts organisations in the arts
– Increase arts management and leadership skills
– Develop and increase audiences to arts activities
– Advocate for the arts
– Raise the status of the arts and artists and
– Increase and improve career prospects for artists
Therefore, applications dealing with creating avenues to show talent such as travel on invitation to international and local art platforms, art exhibitions, music and dance performances, theatre shows, book publishing and launches were the ones the council was looking at.
Applications aimed at self-enrichment, purchase of equipment, infrastructure and/or business operations did not meet the requirements, as stated in the Guideline and Criteria Document of the NACN. The council did not consider any film applications since the Government of Namibia has a statutory body, the Namibian Film Commission mandated to deal with local film development.
The sessions ended with recommendations from the various committees to be submitted to the arts council board for the final decision to be taken next Wednesday, before recipients will be informed whether their applications were successful or not.
The sessions were beneficial and used as a platform for the exchange of ideas and information sharing with the aim to improve the arts council operations making it more beneficial to its primary stakeholders, the artists and arts organizations.
The National Arts Fund Act No 1, 2005, stipulates the use of qualified and/or experienced committee members to assist the council to perform its functions, especially when it comes to seeking deserving artists and organisations.