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23 May, 2024
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Theater grants and the Ministry's cultural quandary

Ministry faces complex cultural challenges in 2024

Apostolos Kouroupakis

Apostolos Kouroupakis

The new year has begun and immediately it was marked culturally by the crisis in the theater, due to the grants that were given by the Thymeli Plan.

The landscape has not yet cleared and we are all waiting to see how things will evolve. However, this is only one of the challenges of the new year for the Ministry of Culture.

The challenges of 2024 are not essentially new, they are transferred almost logistically from year to year for many years, with many of the problems not finding solutions, resulting in the accumulation of the old with the new and thus appearing as a mountain or as a tangled skein or even as the Gordian Knot, which seeks its Great Alexander.

Challenges for 2024 remain the Cypriot Library, which as it seems we will not have great news, at least as far as the building is concerned. Hopefully we will see changes in the legislative level that may work as a guide and for its wider operation, integrating it into the millennium we are going through.

The same seems to apply to the State Gallery of Contemporary Art, the notorious SPEL, which has turned into some kind of midsummer night's dream, since the building of SPEL only works as a gallery, for some years now. Rather as an easy exhibition space or as event halls, as worthy as they are. So for 2024 and for 2025 we will not have a State Gallery of Contemporary Art, unless someone wants to put their name on a commemorative plaque. For now, SPEL has been monopolized by the House of Representatives, then it will be the Cypriot Presidency and later God has it.

Better news seems to have for the Cyprus Museum, which seems to be progressing at satisfactory rates. Of course, here too it remains to be seen if its organizational chart will help it to operate as it should, with museologists, conservators, etc. The Archaeological Museums of Larnaca and Paphos seem to have found their way, although with the rest of the government museums (see e.g. the Archaeological Museum of Limassol or Palepaphos) we still have a way.

As a real challenge for 2024, I think it is the institution of the Cypriots, which for 2024 will continue at a pilot level, as well as in 2023, when and the new form of it, after the abolition of the Cypriots as they had - rightly in my opinion - by Yiannis Toumazis. The institution of the Cypriots as a purely sponsorship institution may need revision, for example the way of evaluating the festivals, because for 2023 I noticed that some were underfunded, while historically they offer high quality programs, such as Animation and Windcraft.

Hopefully the revised terms of the sponsorship Program of Arts Festival CYPRUS 2024 will correct these and other distortions (underfunding or overfunding in some cases).

A challenge is also the participation of Cyprus in the Venice Biennale 2024. I look forward to seeing how the ministry will handle our participation in this important international event, bearing in mind how the Ministry of Culture communicated the proposal "On a wildflower-lined gravel track off a quiet thoroughfare ...", of the artistic duo LLC, the artistic collective Endrosia and the artist Haig Aivazian.

It is also important to see how the burning issue of the status of the artist will end. A hot issue that concerns many people of culture for many years. Perhaps 2024 will be at least for this issue a year of redemption and finally close an open wound.

The above are just some of the challenges of the ministry, which finally should start to close chronic pending issues, because good is the Culture card, but with plain rice pilaf you do not do!

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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