Government needs to decide whether artistic and cultural work is important to a thriving economy and democracy.
The Arts and Humanities were historically funded by The Church or The King. And then by rich family dynasties such as The Medici.
In my South Georgia village, during the 1950s there was no funding from government. My high school only funded the Band, so as to adorn the football culture complex and compete with other counties with football activities. Without a high school marching band to perform during football season, the school, the county, the village, was poor, deficient, and unimportant.
It wasn’t until the mid Sixties that the National Endowment for the Arts made a difference. And by that time I was out, away and searching for the humanities and the arts in other more progressive places. By 1963 I was living in Holland, teaching the children of Embassy personnel in The Hague, Netherlands, having left South Georgia and their football halftime culture behind. That was my smartest move.
Today, in my Southern village, about a mile south of the home I inherited from my mother, there is a rusting sign signifying that, here, we were state basketball champs in 1997, twenty-five years ago !
When I was going to school in Adel, Georgia in the 40s and 50s, culture (including music, theater and graphic arts) was considered the domain of women and faggots. Not much has changed since then.
The Republicans are still attempting to defund and eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts in the USA. And it is in backwater, nothingness areas of the Bible Belt, where they have strengthened their rule and dominance, that the brain drain will be mostly felt, as the concussion prone brain injured athletes will set the cultural table.
The city that I call home today, has, for the second time been awarded the title of CULTURAL CAPITAL OF THE AMERICAS.
The city was the first to win this honor, and the now it’s the first to win it twice.
Mérida has won the the designation “Cultural Capital of the Americas” for 2017, Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal announced today. Mérida is the only city to have been honored twice by the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals: the White City was the first city to receive the honor in 2000, and that distinction has been mentioned in travel publicity ever since, persuading more visitors to sample the city’s music, art and performance offerings.
“No doubt this appointment represents a great opportunity to give our city the international projection that it deserves and will also bring benefits to the tourism sector and the creation of new jobs and better-paid jobs,” said the mayor, “as the name of Mérida will tour the entire American continent and several countries of Europe in cultural events of international stature that are covered by TV networks…”
The Cultural Capital of the Americas, established in 1998, aims to promote inter-American integration from the cultural field, contribute to a better awareness between the peoples of the Americas, while respecting their national and regional diversity, highlighting the common cultural heritage.
The IBOCC, established in 1985, promotes international cultural capital cities and establishes new bridges of cooperation with Europe. It is accredited by the Organization of American States (OAS) and has recognition of Latin American and European parliaments.
Mérida will gain visibility across Latin America, the U.S. and Europe now that it beat out about 10 Latin American cities that competed for the honor.
Here are all Cultural Capitals since the designation was created:
2000: Mérida, Mexico
2001: Iquique, Chile
2002: Maceio, Brazil
2003: Panama City, Panama, and Curitiba, Brazil (tied)
2004: Santiago, Chile
2005: Guadalajara, Mexico
2006: Cordoba, Argentina
2007: Cuzco, Peru
2008: Brasilia, Brazil
2009: Asuncion, Paraguay
2010: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2011: Quito, Ecuador
2012: Sao Luis, Brazil
2013: Barranquilla, Colombia
2014: Colima, Mexico
2015: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
2016: Valdivia, Chile
2017: Mérida, Mexico from YUCATAN EXPAT LIFE Jan. 9, 2017