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Lottery grant will boost public art at UFS
2009-05-25

 
 Public art at the UFS will get a major boost with money made available by the National Lottery Board. Here are Dr Ivan van Rooyen, Director: UFS Marketing, Ms Nontombi Ntakakaze (Artists in School Project) and Mr Ben Botma (Head of Department: Fine Arts) at one of the existing works of art by Edoardo Villa on the Bloemfontein Campus. 
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar.
Emerging and established artists will showcase their work in a comprehensive public sculpture project on the campuses of the University of the Free State (UFS). The aim is to create a greater understanding of cultural differences and promote the UFS vision of a truly multilingual, non-sexist, non-racial campus, says Dr Ivan van Rooyen, Director: UFS Marketing.

The National Lottery Board has approved a grant of R4,125 million in total for three major projects, one of which is the public sculpture project. The others are a Khoe-San Early Learning Centre pilot project in Heidedal, and a boost for the Artists in Schools project, which is already underway.

Dr Van Rooyen says one way of promoting the UFS vision is to create an alternative environment and provide visible, tangible symbols of change and transformation. This will enrich the educational and cultural experience of students and visitors to the campus by stimulating intercultural dialogue and providing a setting for historical dialogue between past and future.

The dream of the UFS is to inspire a sense of ownership of the campus of an open university, worthy of a democratic South Africa. “Therefore, a large-scale project of national significance has been conceptualised, where the development of infrastructure will involve the creation and acquisition of major South African art works for the long-term benefit of all South Africans,” Dr Van Rooyen says.

The public sculpture project will be implemented over the next few years. Artists will be commissioned as funds become available. The UFS will also consult extensively with local and national art museums with experience in the public art field. A wide spectrum of artists, especially artists from the black community, will be used.

Dr Van Rooyen says that many black artists have not had an opportunity to exhibit public sculptures because of prohibitive costs and the project will empower them to develop their skills. The project makes provision for both established and emerging artists to showcase their work.

The aim of the Khoe-San Early Learning Centre pilot project is to compile a curriculum that is sensitive to multiculturalism and multilingualism. The centre will be the first in the country and will respond to the need to promote and revitalise Khoe-San languages. Using arts and crafts and storytelling, as well as literacy, numeracy and life skills, children will learn to adapt to their environment and contribute to our diverse society. This centre will be a collaborative venture between the Heidedal community and the UFS.

Finally, the Artists in Schools project, which has been running successfully since 2004, will also receive a boost from the Lottery funding. Through a series of workshops that the Department of Fine Arts presents at schools, participants develop functional art products with a distinctive Free State character. These products are marketed and sold to benefit the artists, designers and craftspeople.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za
25 May 2009
 

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