20 Nov '13

The famine or feast for arts centres

door RK

Forty candles adorned the birthday cakes waiting to be blown out by the Dilbeek Westrand and Strombeek arts centres this year. They opened their September weekend of festivities with a flourish. A book on the past, present and future is due out next May. As for the state of play in the rest of Flanders, we sought out pioneers in other regions of Flanders to ask them about the early days, the role, meaning and future of arts centres. Cultural activities have been mushrooming since the early 1970s, when the first government-funded arts centres were set up. Packed with people from the outset, the centres have been expanding their activities over the years. It remains to be seen if the 40 good years of prosperity and progress will be followed by leans years, at a time when projects are faced with the chop and cost-saving measures. (RK, dec 2013)