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Artists complain about lack of art in public buildings

attorney general voyli 150921
Attorney general George Savvides

Only one third of public buildings are decorated with local artworks despite a 2009 law providing for one per cent of the total construction budget being allocated to works of art, MPs heard on Wednesday.

The House education committee discussed ways to establish a mechanism that will ensure the implementation of the minimum mandatory rate of artworks in public buildings by amending 12 of its points.

Presenting the law proposal, Akel MP Girogos Koukoumas said parameters are also set for buildings rented or renovated by the state.

“We are promoting transparency provisions on how artworks are selected, putting in the corresponding provision for conflict of interest,” he said.

The finance ministry spokesman said he has no objection as long as the provision is put in the budgets of each ministry in time for a smooth process.

For her part, the deputy director general of the Deputy Ministry of Culture Emmanuela Lambrianidou welcomed the proposed changes and agreed to the deputy ministry taking over this responsibility.

She proposed the establishment of an advisory committee, with which Akel MP Christos Christofides agreed.

For her part, the chairwoman of Ekate, a non-profit organisation for art and artists in Cyprus, Katina Costas, thanked Akel for tabling the proposal and noted that the organisation fully agrees. She indicated though that safeguards must be put in place to ensure that the instructions given will be followed. She suggested the appointment of a representative through whom it would be known how the process was progressing, and the establishment of a committee regarding buildings that did not follow the process.

On behalf of the artists, Maria Loizidou stressed that a team should be set up for the tender which would include a person from the deputy ministry of culture, from Ekate and from the artists’ association, to ensure transparency, she added.

Loizidou suggested that the tender be conducted in two phases, with the first phase including the framework guide and phase two the tender. She pointed out that specific terms of reference should be set and that each bidder should participate with only one proposal.

“The person who wins the competition should not have won another competition in the last two years, so that it does not come at the expense of young artists,” Loizidou suggested.

Discussion of the bill will continue at the next meeting to consider which suggestions can be incorporated.

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