SOS ARTE PT and Portugal #EntraEmCena – two new movements to support culture

The total suspension of artistic and cultural activities in the face of the pandemic has given rise to new forms of support and projects, in an attempt to prevent the collapse of structures and help the professionals affected by it. But the fight against the threat and the unpredictable consequences, besides the temporal and economic reach of its damage, have provoked timid, erratic or insufficient responses all over the world – for example, the mass lay-off in renowned museums, such as the MoMa; the precariousness of the educational service workers in Serralves; or the disastrous initiative known as TV Fest, announced on the night of April 7 and cancelled on April 9. Even so, in this troubling scenario, initiatives to find solutions for the artistic environment continue to emerge. There are already funds announced by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the regional administrations, the Ministry of Culture, with the creation of an emergency line, and also the Artists’ Rights Management. And there are also new proposals.

SOS ARTE PT presents itself as “a resistance movement of Portuguese artists and other art professionals”. Several hundreds have already subscribed to the manifesto published on its webpage, which announces the movement’s initial goals and work plan. According to the document, SOS ARTE PT is committed to promoting the public recognition of the social, economic and educational importance of the artistic activity. The manifesto also has seven points to be accomplished: the creation of a fund with public and private financing to immediately help professionals who are currently prevented from working; a request to re-evaluate the strategy of the National Plan for the Arts; the presentation of a proposal for the creation of a single state platform, which aggregates all initiatives, organisations and projects to help the sector; the creation of an online exhibition during the quarantine period with 100 artists; and the launch of a stockpile of free and temporary studios for artists; to promote, in collaboration with Portuguese art galleries, an online Art Fair; establish contact and partnership networks with other national and foreign institutions that share the same objectives.

The Portugal #EntraEmCena movement was also announced, with a substantial number of public and private entities – theatres, banks or telecom operators – that want to invest in cultural projects, up to an individual maximum value of 20.000€, resulting in an initial investment of more than 1.000.000€. The logic is to create a marketplace. That is, through the official website, creators can present projects (to be done soon in digital format or physically until 2021) looking for financing. And entities can launch tenders to select winning projects. For now, in practical terms, the details of the movement are still unclear. But it is known that it will be aimed at artists from all areas. We expect the first projects/contests to be announced in the coming days.

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