Manit Sriwanichpoom. “Draft of the Funding Act to Promote Contemporary Art (1)” in Silpa Wattanatham column of Siamrath Weekly News, Yr.53, Vol.16, 8 – 14 September. 2549 / 2006
1/ On Wednesday, 23August, the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture of the Ministry of Culture had an open public hearing at the SD Avenue Hotel, Pra Borom chonanee Road in Bangkok on the draft resolution for a fund to promote contemporary art. Only 60 people came to the hearing to listen and participate.
2/ As I was one of the committee who drafted the act, I felt that participation in the hearing was too narrow and limited. The Office of Contemporary Art and Culture needed to better publicize the event and to invite more people from the various branches of the contemporary artworld. Those with something to lose or to gain directly from this act – they should know about it and express their opinions. In the future, when the act passes through Parliament and becomes law, it will be difficult to amend. I recommended that Samart Jansorn, the director of the Institute for Contemporary Art and Culture who is directly responsible for this, put the draft of the act on the www.ocac.go.th website of the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture so that artists, art teachers and activists, curators throughout Bangkok and upcountry - all can send their ideas by email to the website very conveniently, saving time and money.
3/ Those who cannot get on the internet can fax or send a letter to Director Samart Jansorn at the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture at the Ministry of Culture, 17th Floor, Thanalongkorn Tower Bldg., 666 Phra Boromchonani Rd, Kwaeng Bang Bamru, Bangplad District, Bkk. 10700.
4/ I would like to briefly explain that this act is not a law of censorship or an act aimed at putting controls on creativity. Quite the opposite -the name tells the story. It is an act providing supporting funds. It takes state funding or even private funding donated for the support of contemporary art activities. It is an act which is very progressive. In the past, contemporary art was practically invisible. [i.e. to the government and the general public]
5/ From here on, I would like to give the space of the column to the entirety of this proposed act.
6/ Principles and Reasons: the draft of the act for a fund to support contemporary art and culture…
7/ Principles: To have a law regarding a fund for supporting contemporary art.
8/ Reasons: Contemporary artists are pare of the preserving and carrying forward of the nation’s culture and continuously develop in conjunction with the act/ Article 81 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. The act aims to support the nation’s art and culture and the policy of the government to develop the quality of the people and the society. Works of art have an impact on the youth of the nation, to study and know and find the aesthetic value of art. Besides, this is developing and building up the quality of life of the people and their morality, creating unanimity and happiness in heart and mind, directly and indirectly. Ultimately, contemporary art will be the culture of the nation. It is a capital investment and energy which helps push the economy of the nation to improve. Therefore, supporting contemporary culture is the duty of the state which must be done, both in the private and public sectors, and by the people, especially creative artists, under the fund to support contemporary art, taking legal measures. Hence, such an act is necessary.
9/ Draft of the Act to Fund Contemporary ArtArticle 1. This Act is named The Act to Fund and Support Contemporary Art.
Article 2. This act will be in force the day after it is published in the Royal Gazette.
Article 3. According to this Act:
• ‘Contemporary Art’ means art which is newly created from imagination, feeling, ideas and in application. ‘Culture’ is the important root which creates it. It includes visual art or other branches designated by the Ministry.
• ‘Fund’ means the fund to support contemporary art.
• ‘Committee’ means the committee to gather the fund to support contemporary art.
• ‘The director’ means the director of the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture.
• ‘The Office’ means the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture.
• ‘Minister’ means the action minister, according to the Act.
Article 4. The Ministry of Art and Culture has power, according to the regulations of the ministry, according to this act. Those regulations, when published in the Royal Gazette, will come into effect.
Means of Supporting Contemporary Art
Article 5. A person whose profession is in contemporary art, by joining in a group or faculty, which may or may not be a legal entity. If seeking support from this funding act, they must request to register with the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture in the Ministry of Culture according to the principles and methods as stated in the announcements of the Office.
• Checking the qualifications of people wishing to register as agencies or companies of persons, and who wish to be considered for registration, will be carried out according to the announcements of the committee.
Article 6. Educational institutions which aim to receive support for contemporary art can make a request to the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture (OCAC) in the Ministry of Culture. This will proceed according to Article 7.
Article 7. Agencies or faculties of persons or educational institutions asking for support under the act must arrange a project and stipulate the information as follows:
1. The registration number of the agency or group of persons given by the OCAC.
2. The list of all names of the members of the agency or group.
3. Details of the property, debt and burdens and obligations of the agency or group of persons.
4. Details of the project.
5. Reasons for proposing the project.
6. Principles, process and stages of carrying out the project.
7. Period during which the project will be carried out.
8. List of persons offering support to the project, with details of that support, if any.
9. Results of the plan or project which the people and the nation will receive.
Educational institutions should stipulate information only for points 4,5,6,7, and 8.
Article 8. The committee has the power to consider for approval of projects by the regulations and means set in the announcement by the committee, and they should announce the results of their considerations to the agency or group of persons or educational institution within 180 days from the day the project is received, except in the event of necessity, but not more than another 180 days.
In cases which will not receive support, let the agency or group of persons or the educational institution have the right to appeal to an inner committee within 60 days of learning of the rejection.
Article 9. Let the director have the power to consider the approval of projects which request less than 50,000 baht.
Let the committee have the power to consider approving projects which request more than 50,000 baht.
Article 10. The committee and the director may agree to a project by stipulating conditions.
Article 11. Allow the agency or group of persons or the educational institution to report on the progress of the project which is approved by the Office according to the conditions and period of time announced by the committee.
Let the office check out and evaluate the results of the project. If the results show that the project was not carried out as agreed upon, the agency or group of people or educational institution must correct or improve their work in the time allotted. And in cases, where it is suitable, there may be an order to stop or slow payment to the project in that period.
In case it is clear that the agency or group of persons or the educational institution has not carried out their project as stipulated in the support agreement, the director may recommend to the committee that they suspend the project.
(Manit completed the presentation of the draft of the Funding Act for the Support of Contemporary Art the following week: Manit Sriwanichpoom. “Draft of the Funding Act to Promote Contemporary Art (finish)” in Silpa Wattanatham column of Siamrath Weekly News, Yr.53, Vol.17, 15 – 21 September. 2549 / 2006)