By Franco Spinetta. Special for Diario Z
Cultural activity was, without a doubt, one of the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The entire artistic universe of the City, a wide range that includes from musicians to technicians and gastronomists of the halls and cultural centers, are suffering a long agony that began in March and that still does not have a resolution horizon. In this context, they launched the #EmergenciaCulturalBA campaign to demand from the Ministry of Culture “urgent measures to help our sector”, since they ensure that, Despite the critical state of cultural enterprises, the government’s response “has been silence”.
From the Movement of Cultural and Artistic Spaces (MECA) they point out that the City has not allocated any extra subsidy to alleviate an extreme situation, which puts many spaces at risk of closure. “The lack of political will is evident. There is no lack of money, there is a lack of political decision ”, they sentence. In this sense, they relativize the launch of the Operational Cultural Spaces line of the Metropolitan Fund for Culture, Arts and Sciences program, by which some 120 cultural centers will receive just $ 19,037,800 to pay for services and maintenance. Since it is an item that was already incorporated into the budget.
“There has been no help in the pandemic”
The Ministry of Culture refrained from responding to the claims of the sector and ensured that the City activated aid mechanisms for the pandemic, through the financing programs of the Cultural Impulse platform, “which had a total reinforcement among all its programs of $ 46,906,000 over the $ 132,552,860 million normally planned ”.
They also released a series of City Bank loans for the production of films and short films, theatrical and musical shows, book publishing, brochures and other publications, up to 500 thousand pesos at a rate of 12%.
“We receive the ATP from the national government. The City only gave us the usual subsidy every year, through BA Music, which is something that it gives every year for the most important expenses, and that above all has served to alleviate the huge increase in services. But no, there has been no help due to the pandemic, ”he tells Diario Z María Estela Monti, from the Circe space, Art Factory, located in Palermo. “The coronavirus caught us in the middle of a move, we were expanding, we had signed the contract on March 1 …” he says. After they understood that “this was coming for a long time”, they opened an online store, from where they sell what they usually offer at the bar.
“Only large bands can comply with the protocol“
“We are trying to hold the place, but it is very uphill,” he laments Teresa Rodríguez, from Café Vinyl, a room located in Palermo that used to have a large schedule of shows. “We had to rearm ourselves, we did some zoom activities and little by little we are starting with streaming, which is not that simple. Let’s see how it turns out, ”he says.
The lack of a clear picture, says Rodríguez, makes the situation even more complex. “We receive the BA Music subsidy, which is the one for every year, which helps us to support basic expenses, but the structure of Vinyl, as we are, we cannot support it because there are many people involved: sound technicians, piano tuner, gastronomy, suppliers. The universe of people around Vinyl is very wide and it is impossible to sustain it in this context ”, he warns. About the help of the Buenos Aires government, Rodríguez points out that “there was no extraordinary departure” and that Vinyl, in particular, received less money than in other years, since it was left out of the subsidy from the Metropolitan Fund for the Arts.
“It’s like going up the mountain, with snow, with cold and with people throwing stones at you from the top. It is making it very difficult for us to survive, “says Walter” El Tano “Coccaro, from the Club Atlético Fernández Fierro (CAFF), located in Almagro, a key space for the under porteño. For Coccaro, the proposals of the Ministry of Culture, until now, were “very poor.” “There were many meetings, video calls, but The first thing that emerged was a protocol that only large bands and large productions can comply with. At the bottom it was very difficult for us ”, account.
Cóccaro explains: “With the subsidies we are not getting away with it, now we can barely pay the rent, but on top of that the owners of the premises seem to not live in this world, they want to increase the rent as if there were no pandemic. Quick reflexes, at the beginning of the pandemic the CAFF, which functions as a cooperative, launched the cycle “To not become so crazy” streaming, in which numerous artists “friends of the house” participated, such as Palo Pandolfo, Sofía Viola, Jorge Araujo, Luciana Jury and Julieta Laso, among others. They did 18 shows, under the modality of “contribution bonus”, which was distributed between the club and the artists. “It was just a salvage, thinking this was going to last a couple of months,” says Coccaro. “When we saw that this was coming for a long time, we decided to stop streaming and we thought about putting together the staging at CAFF, doing a show with the protocols, but with good sound and good image, to transmit it,” he adds. Quickly, they collided with the demands and lack of aid from the State: “It is very difficult to comply with the protocols and authorizations, time passes and we do not have any help from the government to be able to be enabled and have all the necessary elements. We decided for the moment, the CAFF is on standby ”.
As the months go by, the situation of the city’s cultural producers seems to be approaching the abyss. In addition to the impossibility of holding the meeting in rooms, where to carry out the old rite of the artistic event, the “silence” of the Buenos Aires government is added. “We are on the tightrope,” sums up Coccaro.