During a couple of hectic days in mid-November, a historical meeting between a number of organizations working within the field of art and social transformation took place in Buenos Aires. The encounter "Encuentro Internacional de Arte para la Transformacià³n Social" was a starting point for something new that has started growing in Argentina, and, eventually, in southern America.

- This is the first net of its kind in Argentina, comments Inés Sanguinetti, President for the NGO Crear Vale la Pena (CVLP), situated in the northern part of the province of Buenos Aires.
This NGO hosted the meeting, for the Argentinean and other South American organizations, with support from the British Council and the Swiss organization Avina.

The objectives were partly to recognize the programs, within the private and also the public sector, that use art as the fundamental tool for social inclusion and integration. The objective was also to distinguish the profiles of the different actors in the field, and evaluate the necessity and opportunities for inter exchange between them.

Ken Bartlett, director of the Foundation For The Community Dance, was also invited to share and discuss the British experience from networking.

- The very important thing that has come out is that now we have the social actor, the net, that can start to relate with Europe, says Inés Sanguinetti. None of the separate NGO:s are strong enough to be related with other nets. This national Argentinean net is now able to relate to the UK net, to the French net, etc. What we have to build now, and try to encourage, is the South American relations.
Judging from the discussions in the breaks between talks and workshops, there is an tremendous need for the organizations to meet, discuss, exchange ideas and inspiration.

The history behind the meeting is that CVLP received two propositions, one from the British Council and one from Avina. The British Council invited CVLP to become the focal organization for parts of the development of a three years project on arts for development.

This project will lead to an exchange between Argentina and the UK.

- This exchange of best practices is for the purpose of bettering the practices in one way, and is unique for the purpose of installing in Argentina art for social transformation-subject. It will also encourage governmental polices on reason to encourage the investment of the private sector in this kind of projects.
Avina, on the other hand decided to start what they call the synergy trips in-between the initiatives they support in Latin America. Avina Buenos Aires decided to encourage synergies within Art for Social Transformation. CVLP was asked to design the activities of the first trip of the Latin Americans in Buenos Aires.
This lead to CVLP proposing to make a joint meeting that would serve both donor-organisations purposes.
In total 40 organizations participated in the meeting. They were also invited to represent - and in their turn spread the word - their field within social transformation, and also their geographical area.
The net is in this newborn stage is called "pro-red", that is "pro-net".
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El Augante in la Cava

Women, accept your bodies just like they are!
No poor children in the world!
As confetti was falling down from the sky, the wishes from the artists and inhabitants of La Cava concluded the "Aguante Cultural", that took place on the 15th of November in the northern part of the province of Buenos Aires.

Sales of drink and food, local artists decorating the walls with mural paintings, artistic workshops and shows from the stage in the middle of the "barrio", filled the day. With singing, hip-hop, contemporary dance and theatre, the inhabitants and their visitors made their point:

- Aguante stands for resistance, says Inés Sanguinetti, president of the Foundation Crear Vale la Pena. So you hold up to resist violence, you hold up to resist inside your own values.

La Cava is situated in the northern part of the province of Buenos Aires. It is a wast and one of the province most densly habitated neigbourhoods with few or no public services, high unemployment and and a lack of security.

- Aguante is a gathering that does not only have to do with art, it has to do with micro entrepreneurship, it has to do with communication and it is the community showing that they are in a journey.
Situated a couple of blocks away is one of the Cultural Community Centers of Crear Vale la Pena - Puertas al Arte.

- The centre has 400 students, but we needed to enlarge the contact for the community. What we cover in all these young people are mainly the artists of the community, and what we want to reach the community.
In a process of 3 months before the actual event, the representatives from Crear Vale la Pena, including the cultural community centre Puertas al Arte, got together with the social actors with la Cava - the grassroots organisations, people and leaders, other NGO:s, the church and with politicians.
In charge of the organization and artistic production for the Augante Cultural was, from the Puertas al Arte, the coordinators and artists Ximena Parra and Roxana Diaz.
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Kristina Rorstrom, journalist

Modified on Thursday 22 January 2004