Next week, indie band Sore, percussion band Kuno Kini and audio-visual art group Efek Rumah Kaca will perform at Salihara cultural center in South Jakarta to raise funds for a Kineforum public cinema.

In times of crisis, managers of public art venues look for new ways to finance the city’s art spaces. To make up for the city budget’s meager funding for the arts, Kineforum, Jakarta Arts Council’s free public cinema that screens alternative movies daily at the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center in Central Jakarta, sought direct assistance from the public to help set up the new public cinema.

Dubbing the event, Publik untuk Ruang Publik (Public for Public Space), Kineforum will charge Rp 60,000 (US$5) for a general admission ticket and Rp 40,000 for students, aiming to collect Rp 10 million to cover for Kineforum’s operational costs.

Lisabona Rahman, director of Kineforum, said the public’s willingness to participate in the fundraising event was a testament to the demand for art spaces such as Kineforum’s.

The latest event will be Kineforum’s third fundraiser. Managers of the cinema started hold fundraising events in 2007, after waiting up to seven months for disbursements from the city’s budget.

During that time, the Arts Council had to borrow money; members of the Council chipped in some of their own money and staff received their salaries late.

“We realized then that it was not enough to rely on one source of funding. We had to have several sources to keep this space going,” Lisabona said.

Kineforum approached the film industry for their first fundraising event. In November last year, they premiered a feature film, titled Babi Buta Ingin Terbang (Blind pig wants to fly) and auctioned various film props. Kineforum collected Rp 14 million from the event.

“We need to know whether the public wants a space like Kineforum. Spaces like Kineforum can easily disappear if there is no longer a budget for them. If the public doesn’t care about spaces like Kineforum, then what’s the use of having them?” she said.

But the people did care and made donations.

Jakarta has the biggest number of cultural centers in the country. At least eight embassies in Jakarta have cultural centers. The city also runs the Taman Ismail Marzuki cultural center and Jakarta Arts Hall, independent art centers such at Komunitas Utan Kayu, Ruang Rupa and Bentara Budaya Jakarta.

“A city needs cultural spaces like this. People express their creativity and become less aggressive as a result,” Lisa said.

Jakarta’s latest multi-discipline art center is the Komunitas Salihara in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, where Kineforum will hold its fundraising event.

Komunitas Salihara, which is an extension of Komunitas Utan Kayu’s art division, has two theaters. One is a black box theater that has adjustable seating and lighting to accommodate for different types of performances, while the other is an open air theater with soil and grass.

While performances at Utan Kayu are free of charge, visitors have to pay around Rp 50,000 per performance at Komunitas Salihara.

“Donations are the best way to show appreciation for the performance,” Komunitas spokeswoman Rama Thaharani said.

Rama said despite the entrance fee, response from the public had been positive. Since the Salihara Festival – the opening of the art space one and a half month ago – every performance has been packed with visitors.

“That shows the public appreciates art,” she said.

Source : Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta