Saturday, June 10, 2006

Comments on Social Action Through Music and Cultural Policy, Part 2 (From my Masters Essay)

The new approach to culture and social development from international organizations (UNESCO, World Bank, OAS, etc.) is pushing governments to re-think their cultural policies, and arts organizations and artists in these countries to reconsider their views on the purposes of art and their organizations’ missions. Third world countries’ policies for development and culture seem to be led, and even dictated, by the agendas of these international organizations. Organizations like the World Bank, the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank provide large amounts of economic support and grants to governments and non-profit organizations. Kurt Weyland (Weyland, K. G. (2004). Learning from foreign models in Latin American policy reform). Washington, D.C. Baltimore: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Johns Hopkins University Press) argues that public policymaking, specially in Latin America appears “to come in waves, as innovation in one country triggers imitation by other nations”. In the case of culture and social development, it seems like the agendas of international organizations also influences on the formation of these trends or “waves.”
As a result, many arts organizations rely on this approach for survival. By presenting a social development mission, they can secure funding from governments and international organizations. Many arts organizations, however, have effectively renovated their missions to attain social mobilization without relying on such funders. These arts organizations are deeply appreciated in societies in which any opportunity for empowerment makes a big difference in the social development of individuals and communities.
The Venezuelan National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras is a great example of social action through the performing arts., although it is not the only one. Many other programs in Third World countries not connected with Venezuela have developed projects to achieve social development, provide effective participation in the arts, and preserve their artistic integrity. (See part 3)

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