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Friday, August 24, 2012


(Sharlene Versfeld. Pic by Val Adamson)

Durban based communication consultancy, Versfeld and Associates, headed by respected arts marketing consultant, Sharlene Versfeld, is a finalist in the 15th annual Business Arts South Africa (BASA) national awards.

The annual BASA Awards pay tribute to those businesses that are actively supporting arts and culture events nationwide. The nomination, in the "sponsorship in kind" category, is for the work Versfeld has done over the years for the Flatfoot Dance Company, Durban’s leading contemporary dance company which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year.

“I think that the work BASA does in supporting and encouraging business to get involved in sponsoring the arts is really to be applauded. Over the 15 years of BASA’s existence, we have seen how they have been able to connect business to the arts, providing important research on the value the arts provides from a sponsorship point of view. It is amazing to see big business and major corporate taking arts seriously, not only from a philanthropic or corporate social investment point of view, as in the old days of patronage, but from a real brand alignment point of view – as is done in sports.

“BASA is able to guide business as to how they can leverage their brand through this association. These awards are important part of acknowledging the value added to the arts in SA through these relationships,” she continues.

Versfeld began her career working with the cutting edge Loft Theatre Company in 1987 at the then-NAPAC (now Playhouse Company), and was eventually appointed marketing manager there before leaving in 1993 to start her own business promoting theatre.

Over the years Versfeld has been involved in creating and implementing marketing campaigns for the arts and culture industry, most notably the Durban International Film Festival, the Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival, Poetry Africa, Time of the Writer, as well as for NGO’s such as Action in Autism, commercial companies such as Sun International and SPAR KZN, and various projects for local, provincial and national government departments and independent promoters.

She has won a number of awards during her career including the 1998 inaugural Arts & Culture Trust of the President Award for arts publicity.

"It’s been a wonderfully rewarding career which has spanned working with some incredibly fascinating and talented creative people from across the globe." she says. “But the work I do for Flatfoot is really about helping to develop and grow contemporary dance in Durban. Flatfoot is an important company, doing some profound work, as well as creating the foundation for future dance practitioners through their dance development projects in various communities. It is this work that enables hundreds of youngsters to gather weekly as a community and to create dance and express themselves through dance, which speaks to their own situations in a safe controlled environment. It has been a pleasure working with the company and its Artistic Director, Lliane Loots, over the years, and am of course so delighted to have been acknowledged in this way."

The BASA Awards ceremony take place in Johannesburg on August 27.