Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Where do Arts policies come from?

I always had the impression that in Guatemala people expected cultural (and arts) policy to be a little book of instructions with all the solutions to the arts sector, and that no one had taken time to get to write them. Then they started the strategic plannings, seminars and congresses in order to produce this so-expected little book. In the final document, the word "art" is mentioned less than 10 times, I think (I may be wrong, but that is the impression I got when I checked the document that was out there for a while). En future articles, I will try to examine in detail the policies related to the arts in Guatemala. And I am not refering only to the ones that are a product of those strategic planning seminars and congresses, but also other laws that are floating out there, or hiden somewhere and nobody has taken advantage of them. I look forward to find good surprises. But, where do arts policies come from? Mainly they come from the legal system, both national and local, and diplomacy agreements and international regulations. A lot of them have nothing to do with arts or culture. Still, one should consider which "forces" have an infuence in arts making, and should be considered the "engines" of arts policy. I can think of four categories:
1. Regulations and laws (created with ideological/political and/or organizational goals)
2. Local culture (Traditions and customs of the people that practices, attends and/or supportsthe arts)
3. Arts market trends (what, when, how and how much art is out there, and who is willing to "consume" it, under what conditions, how often, to what cost, etc)
4. Social movements (movements or artists or arts organizations that pretend to change the status quo of arts making, and in consequence produce changes in any of the three above mentioned factors)

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