By Ndey Sowe
Gambian artists from across the creative sectors have validated the Draft Regulation on the National Endowment Fund for Arts enacted by the NCAC with support from UNESCO Aschberg Project.
This validation came after NCAC had sought for funding from UNESCO Aschberg Project to draft the regulations.
Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of NCAC, said at the opening of the one-day validation workshop that the National Endowment Fund was provided for in the NCAC Act, 2003, but has not been implemented yet, adding: “Now we want to have the Fund to support our artists and get funding for their activities. It shows the high level of commitment the Government has in supporting artists.”
Ceesay also stressed that the Fund should be seen as a critical aspect of artistic development in The Gambia. The NCAC DG thanked UNESCO Aschberg project for the relevant support provided to the NCAC and Gambian arts.
Mr Dmitiri Sanga, Director of UNESCO West Africa and Sahel Office in Dakar, commended The NCAC for their proactive stand in establishing a working endowment fund.
He commended the participatory process that was taken towards the draft Regulation and described culture as the vehicle of development.
“It is affected by funding challenges. Thus, it behooves nations to seek measures to alleviate funding challenges,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the validated document seeks to provide a National Endowment Fund which will support Gambian artists with D150,000 to D1 million for activities that will promote arts and culture. It envisages an 11-member Steering Committee comprising 7 artists and 4 Government officials to select applications submitted for funding.
At the end of the validation, representatives from the various artists associations commended the NCAC for the initiative and foresight towards funding the arts sector and also enjoined the Minister of Culture and Tourism to speed up the enactment and operationalisation of the Regulation. All those present were grateful to UNESCO for the support.