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Empowering artists through education and training

Many arts organisations in South Africa battle with support, lack of funding and sufficient business or management skills to retain financial viability. To address the growing needs of the arts sector, Business and Art South Africa (BASA), with the support of the National Arts Council (NAC), have launched an extensive and ambitious education programme comprising a mentorship programme, capacity building workshops, a basics programme and the BASA Boardbank.

The BASA Education Programme is the result of the organisation’s commitment to the development and support of the arts with a view of growing a sustainable South African arts sector.

Through the BASA Mentorship Programme, business practitioners are paired with arts organisations to improve their general business skills which include marketing, audience development, financial planning and cash flow management. Through these mutually beneficial mentorship relationships, arts organisations are able to gain new skills and alternative perspectives on their operations, while business professionals gain access to creative organisations.

The annual BASA Awards also specifically recognise the long-term contribution of volunteer business mentors in this programme thanks to its Mentor of the Year Award.

In BASA’s capacity building workshops, held during the year throughout South Africa, the focus is on specific business areas most arts organisations need to address for sustainable and efficient operations. Covering themes from project management to fundraising, marketing and PR to financial management, the content is tailored to inform and affect the day-to-day operation of delegates.

For arts organisations and individuals wanting to start either for-profit or non-profit ventures, BASA Basics is a three tiered education programme that introduces them to legal registration options and guides them through the steps of building a workable business model to get started. A series of workshops, held over six months, guide participants from positioning their organisation to developing strategies and building sufficient networks.

Lastly the BASA Boardbank pairs not-for-profit arts and culture organisations with skilled business professionals who voluntarily serve on their boards. These reciprocal relationships help organisations to secure the necessary expertise on a strategic board level and comply with their governance requirements, while providing individuals the opportunity to expand their Social Investment exposure in the arts sector.

BASA’s aim to advocate an arts culture in society makes it the ideal NAC partner, supporting the council’s endeavours to leverage partnerships and resources and to develop, support, promote and advance the arts in South Africa.

Says NAC CEO Rosemary Mangope: “At the NAC we are committed to changing the landscape of South Africa’s creative industries. Key to this transformation is not only supporting SA’s existing centres of arts excellence but also to identify and foster emerging talent nationwide – it is these individuals and organisations that will be our future standard-bearers for the arts, both nationally and internationally.”

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