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The closure of Can Felipa has been announced, an art centre that in the last seven years has dedicated itself to the development of projects by young artists and curators. The budget for activities at Can Felipa is a mere 20.000 € a year. The mayor and the local councillor need to be very clear about their motives for this closure given that any economic arguments in this case just won’t wash. Or maybe it’s that an art centre with such a minimal budget is simply unsustainable or intolerable. Others have a lot more money, but the fact is Can Felipa generates work, visibility and projects for many people.
In the meantime, the MNAC makes an open call for public sponsorship to buy a drawing, “La plegaria” by Fortuny, for 45.000 €. Half of this sum would maintain the activities at Can Felipa.
Various artists, critics, curators and neighbourhood associations have mobilised to impede the closure of Can Felipa. A mobilization in order not to lose a space that, we insist, only needs a budget of 20.000 €. There is also a manifesto going around, signed by many art and culture professionals, demanding support for the artistic framework.
It’s time to channel energies and, given the desperate situation and total precariousness of the sector, demand that the public institutions which handle large budgets answer to the sector. MACBA has suffered cuts but maintains a budget that borders on 10 million euros a year. Accountability to the sector has to be demanded of MACBA and MNAC. The political and journalistic media are constantly asking for explanations about invoices, budgets and tax declarations from the different powers that be (though their explanations fall on deaf ears). It’s time to demand transparency in the turnover of both institutions, not because we doubt their honour, but to see how much public money designated for their maintenance has any impact on the very society that pays for it.
At these heights, in the face of this crisis, with artists living in precariousness, curators without projects, gallerists without sales, design studios on the point of closing, we believe that the question is a poignant one, what percentage of the budget for exhibition and activities at MACBA reverts on the actual context of Barcelona? How much money has MACBA paid over the last few years to artists, curators and gallerists within the context of the city itself.
To start with: if evicted families have the right to occupy empty houses, the evicted institutions (those that have generated projects and work in the field: can Felipa, can Xalan, Espai Zero1…) could occupy MACBA.