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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Artists benefit from BASA Workshop in Durban.

Sustainability emerged as a strong theme at the recent Business and Arts South Africa workshop in Durban.

Hosted by the Kwa-Mashu performing arts centre, K-CAP (whose director Edmund Mhlongo now writes regular articles in Ilanga newspaper on behalf of Business and Arts South Africa), the December 4 workshop attracted several arts practitioners and organizations. “Were it not for opportunities such as the BASA Workshop, these emerging arts would not get exposure to these experienced facilitators, and access to the information shared,” says Mhlongo.

In pursuing the sustainability focus of Business and Arts South Africa throughout 2010, four carefully selected speakers were engaged for the workshop – including choreographer, David Gouldie, who is the organisation’s representative in KwaZulu-Natal. Gouldie gave an informative presentation that outlined Business and Arts South Africa’s work as well as how and who to approach for funding.

“We hope to keep providing these kinds of opportunities to the artists based in Kwa-Zulu Natal - to help enrich and create sustainable projects in the region,” says Gouldie. “It is only through better education and infrastructure that great artists can run great companies creating employment, beautiful performance work and enriching our communities.”

Another Durban-based expert, Illa Thomson of Publicity Matters, gave crucial insight into how arts practitioners and organisations can publicise and advertise their productions – as well as going through what’s required to write an impactful press release.

Kobus Burger, a Johannesburg-based music journalist, playwright and creativity coach, used his training with Dr. Eric Maisel (America’s foremost creativity coach) and experience facilitating the Artist’s Way playshops to talk to the workshop attendees on how to deal with various creative blocks. “I am always excited about sharing the principles and techniques of creativity coaching with audiences - not only because it is such a new field in South Africa, but also for its practical application and the difference it makes in artists’ lives and careers,” Burger said of the workshop.

“Artists all over the world struggle with similar issues, ranging from finding the necessary funding to dealing with performance anxiety. With a few basic tools from the creativity coaching toolbox, artists can do self-coaching or help others in their productions, arts centres or groups to improve their performance and productivity.”

The workshop ended with BASA member, Old Mutual, overseeing an informative segment that looked at dealing with finances, managing debt and savings for an organisation.

In talking about Old Mutual’s involvement in the Business and Arts South Africa Workshop, John Manyike, Head: Financial Education, said the company’s research had shown that poor financial habits are at the root of poor money management: “We have a keen interest to impact the lives of artists, especially given the irregular income they earn,” he said. “The Durban workshop organised by Business and Arts South Africa is one of those initiatives that offer us an opportunity to make a discernable difference in their lives.”

The day culminated with a Business and Arts South Africa function at artSPACE Durban for the Affordable Art Exhibition. Increasingly popular since its launch eight years ago, this year’s maximum sale price was kept to R3,500 with the exhibition featuring over 100 artists, exhibiting across a variety of media from oil paintings, ceramics, sculptures, prints, photographs, and more.

Among the artists exhibiting are Liz Speight, Vulindlela Nyoni, Steve Mandy, Leslie Magwood Fraser, Delight Borland, Abigail Siwan, Welcome Danca, Zelda Grobbelaar, Di van Wyk, Colleen Larsen, Jocelyn van Breda, Christina Pickering, Arlene McDade, Tracey Taylor, Tilla Kessler, Shirley Yell, Molly Comitis, Gill Andrew, Grace Kotze, Margaret Bossy, Nishkalan Naidoo, Lynette Morris Hale, Michael Maxwell, and Caryn Nolan.