Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The world of art has always played an important role in stimulating thought and generating dialogue and now it has a crucial role to play in environmental awareness.

Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) believes that the arts can effectively bring creativity into the heart of environmental practices and actions and has introduced a new category – the Arts and Environment Award – into its annual awards. It will reward business support of arts and culture projects which contribute towards the sustainability of the environment.

According to BASA CEO Michelle Constant:
“The issue of sustainability is a growing one, and if the arts can be used to drive change in the individual user and larger corporates, it means a more holistic approach to the world around us.”

In the past year, there have been a number of impressive arts projects which played a vital role in green issues. The 2010 Philippi South African Education & Environment Project (SAEP) Arts and Environment Festival, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, was a celebration of the work of township high school youth completed through SAEP’s Arts and Environment Outreach Programmes. This Cape Town festival incorporated learners' achievements in these programmes in a two day celebration of culture and community. The festival culminated with the unveiling of a life-size giraffe sculpture made out of recycled wire and plastic cans and bottles by the SAEP Environment Club. The event also sought to bring both arts and the environment into township communities.

Spier’s annual Infecting The City Public Arts Festival involves transforming public spaces of Cape Town into works of art that will help urban dwellers view the city from a different perspective. It also focuses on forgotten natural resources and seemingly useless waste which is given a new life.

Johannesburg was the home of Tomorrow’s Joy by Usha Seejarim and Hannelie Coetzee from Such Initiative. It was commissioned by the Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival, and is owned by the City of Johannesburg. The massive mosaic using nearly 100 000 bottle tops and erected in Newtown’s Mary Fitzgerald Square,depicted a band of children happily running across a playing field. Its aim was to change perceptions about recycling while beautifying the environment and instil a culture of eco-consciousness and a recycling awareness within Joburg society.

Tomorrow’s Joy” by Such Initiative commissioned by Arts Alive

Constant urged all business, whether they are big corporates or small operations, who have supported arts and culture projects which contribute towards the sustainability of the environment to enter this year’s awards. She also encouraged business to look at sponsoring such projects.

The BASA Awards recognise and encourage excellence and innovation in the field of business support for the arts. Imaginative, innovative and cost-effective partnerships between business and the arts are highlighted, demonstrating the potential for synergy, the window of mutual opportunity and the far reaching benefits for business, for the arts, and for all South Africans.
The closing date for entries for the BASA Awards is May 20, 2011.

The easy-to-use online nomination system can be accessed on the BASA website at www.basa.co.za. The awards section features guidelines, rules and regulations and online nomination forms. Those requiring more information can also call the BASA offices on 011 832 3042/3039 or email info@basa.co.za.

The BASA Awards are supported by Business Day and Anglo American and the results are audited by Grant Thornton.

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