The National Arts Council (NAC) of South Africa has awarded grants of more than R17 million to 279 applicants from all of South Africa’s nine provinces.
Individuals and registered arts organisations involved in theatre, dance, music, visual arts, craft, literature and multi-discipline have received funding. More than R2-million was awarded to 23 post-graduate students in these fields to allow them to pursue their arts studies abroad.
Seven projects that deal with transfer of skills or training in some form were among those funded for their impressive capacity building programmes. These projects include: Dance Forum for its choreography residency; The Grahamstown Foundation for dance development training; the Western Cape’s Butterfly Art Project for a fine art skills initiative; Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) for their internship programme; the West Coast Youth Orchestra and Izithethe Music Development for music instrument training; Grahamstown’s Upstart Youth development project for an embroidered shoes skills training programme and KZN’s Zimele Development Community, who will be teaching business training skills.
Organisations who received 2015 funding include Wits Arts Museum (craft); Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, UCT School of Dance, Cape Town City Ballet, Moving into Dance Mophatong and Jazzart Dance Theatre (dance); Arts Scene Foundation and The Publishers Association of South Africa (literature); Zip Zap Circus School Trust and The Darling Festival Trust (multi-discipline); The Black Tie Ensemble Trust & Gauteng Opera and Free State Symphony Orchestra (music); Tape Aids for the Blind and the South African National Deaf Association (theatre) and The Contemporary Art Development Trust (visual arts).
Says NAC CEO Rosemary Mangope: “We are delighted that we have allocated more funds to more applicants than in the previous financial year. We continue to ensure equity in the arts by supporting applicants from marginalised and vulnerable groups as well as balancing the spread of funds to include all disciplines as well as all of the country’s nine provinces.”
Eighty nine of the successful applicants came from Gauteng, followed by KZN with 70; the Western Cape 27; Limpopo 20; Eastern Cape 15; Free State 16; Mpumalanga 14; Northern Cape 8 and North West 8.
Successful female applicants totalled 35%; youth 31%; rural 25%; indigenous 14% and people with disabilities 3%. (This totals more than 100% as some applications and projects fall into more than one category).
Funding varied from R50 000 for individual bursaries to R150 000 for organisations.
The 279 successful applicants were chosen from 841 applications. A number of free post-funding workshops will be held for successful applicants, as one of the NAC’s priorities this year is to reduce to zero the percentage of unclaimed funds and to ensure all requirements necessary to draw down funds are fulfilled correctly.
Following a public call for applications, there is a three step vetting process for funding. Each of the seven disciplines has a panel, made up of independent arts specialists in that field and headed by a chairperson. Firstly the panels evaluate submissions, then forward their recommendations to the NAC Executive Committee. Following endorsement by the Executive Committee, the recommendations are submitted to the NAC Council for final approval.
The NAC’s five year strategic plan and its mandate from the Department of Arts and Culture specifies the promotion of youth and female led arts projects, those from persons with disabilities and those involving indigenous art forms, and also seeks to ensure a fair provincial representation.