National Arts Council of South Africa

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Generally referred to simply as the NAC or the National Arts Council, the formal name is the National Arts Council of South Africa and it is a statutory public entity with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) as its executive authority. The institution is subject to a complex governance framework that includes the NAC Act (1997) and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) amongst others. The NAC is governed by a Council whose members are appointed by the Minister of Arts and Culture after a process of public nominations.

Established in April 1997 by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (DACST), as result of the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage (issued by DACST, Pretoria, 4 June 1996). It replaced the former Performing Arts Councils, which were then phased out. Its establishement was intended to make provision for a more encompassing and equitable funding system for all arts and crafts, and provision was made for a gradual scaling down of state funding for the old Performing Arts Councils while increasing funding to other companies and venues (such as the Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre). From its very inception however it was embroiled in controversy, though many artists benefited from sponsorship. Indeed, from early in the new millenium, dissilusion with the ability of the NAC to sustain a true "state theatre" began to grow rpidly and calls were once more heard for a more direct involvement of the state in founding a national (or a few national) companies, to employ performers and build a theatre tradition.

The NAC is one of the a founding members of International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, and one of the Council's major projects was the organisation of the 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture, Johannesburg, 2009 for IFACCA.


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