Monday, November 18, 2019

Poets and musicians band together to show support for arts centre

Jun 03. 2018
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By Phatarawadee Phataranawik
The Nation

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More than 30 local poets and musicians today staged a poetry reading accompanied by live acrostic bands in front of Bangkok and Culture Centre (BACC) to support BACC Foundation in its efforts to continuing running the building and ask Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to ensure its future.

The artistic interlude followed the Bangkok Metropolitan Council’s establishment last Wednesday of a new committee to study the management of the Foundation. 

The 11-member committee will be selected within 90 days and will then study how the non-profit BACC Foundation should run the arts centre and maintain transparency in management.

The groups led by respected poet Sompong Thawee of the Blue Agate Group accompanied by two acrostic bands: Natural Band and Maew Band.

“The artistic gathering was not a protest. We gathered to display freedom of expression to show our support to the BACC Foundation and because we want the BMA to keep the art centre free,” young poet Pichit Kitsuwanrat of Blue Agate told The Nation.

Pichit, whose his penname is “Chitava Muninto”, said the groups worried about the current situation of the BACC, which BMA wants to take over so it can be managed by bureaucrats.

“The Art Centre should be free from the political interference and be managed by the professional curators instead of bureaucratic officers,” he added.

Meanwhile the Foundation also has an action plan in place.

“We're cooperating fully with the investigation, of course,” BACC director Pawit Mahasarinand told The Nation. 

“But the public is wondering why they need this investigation given the fact that the BACC Foundation has been sending monthly reports for the past 10 years. 

“The public is also wondering whether this means, as the investigation will last 90 days, that in the current 2018 fiscal year which ends September 30, BMA will not support any activities at BACC?

 “The public is also wondering if, given the fact that the city council will consider BACC's proposal for next year in July, this also means BMA will not support art activities at BACC as well.

“ We know that artists, from all disciplines, are always supporting us but as I’ve already said in many interviews, BACC is a learning centre for the public – and the public has given us more support in the past month than ever. 

“We keep admission free and the public has recently donated more money into our boxes. Also, the number of visitors has continued to rise, too. 

“We also have more volunteers and student interns than before. For example, an English language professor from MIT is coaching English for our security guards every Saturday morning and she’s not charging a single baht, although she needs free parking for a few hours.

“The same can be said for a music professor from Rangsit University, who performed last Friday evening at the “Caravaggio Opera Omnia” exhibition. 

“These will keep BACC up and running in the year, or years, when we may not get funding support from the BMA. For me personally, all support, in any form or amount, is heartening and shows why the public is joining the BACC Foundation in celebrating our 10th anniversary, in this financially challenging time.”


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