Since March 2020, we have been forced to live without one of the most essential actors of the social bond: Culture.
In most countries, governments have chosen to shut down cultural places, restrain every cultural manifestation without considering the opinions and demands from representatives of the cultural sector.
Some political decisions taken since the beginning of the pandemic did not make any sense and might seem unfair for those who have been too often qualified as “non-essential” workers. As an example, Zoo and churches can welcome public whereas musicians cannot perform live in front of a limited audience. As an act of protest, our ambassador artist Quentin Dujardin has organised a live concert in a church (Crupet) in front of 15 people last February. The police cut short the event and assigned fines to every participant.
In Belgium, lots of cultural actors got unified behind the movement “Still Standing for Culture” for claiming their right to exist.
The movement has already implemented three calls for action so far: Still Standing#1 (June 25 2020) that gathered cultural actors in 11 cities in Belgium, Still Standing#2 (January 16 2021) where 500 persons protested on stage on the “Place de la Monnaie” in Brussels, Still Standing#3 with more than 500 cultural actions implemented across Belgium.
Throughout these calls for action, the movement encourages everyone across the country to make culture without waiting any authorization. Everyone is invited to post his/her action on www.stillstandingforculture.be.
On March 13, for the one-year without culture anniversary, the movement is calling everyone to make culture in public areas.
The pandemic highlighted an important fact: Culture is nowadays considered as less essential than other sectors. Perhaps because we cannot quantize all its value on society.
As Yehudi Menuhin said: “The musician is someone who can be trusted to dispense peace to his neighbour, but he is also a reminder of what human excellence is.”
We strongly believe, it is time for our societies to consider culture and the arts as essential as every other sector.
It seems we have already proven, such as all cultural workers, that we were able to respect all sanitary measures while keeping running our activities. All negative outcomes and challenges drawing from the pandemic must be a serious topic of debate and we expect politicians will soon invite representatives from the cultural sector to debate about our future.
At the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation, we had to rely on creativity and flexibility for implementing cultural events that respect all sanitary measures in force. Therefore, in order to support artists highly impacted by the pandemic, we have launched last December an online virtual stage that promotes live performances from musicians that could not perform anymore: www.concertwithyou.com. Everyone can support this initiative and help us produce new promotional videos for musicians by making a charitable donation.
In addition, we start organising high standard quality live stream concerts by choosing creative partners, extraordinary musicians, and iconic venues.
Last Christmas, Matthieu Saglio Quartet performed from the “Salle Gothique” of the Brussels City Hall. You can (re)-watch the show by clicking here.
Recently, the Brussels Chamber Orchestra together with Gwen Cresens delivered a beautiful concert. Two renowned Tango Dancers joined the musicians for a moment out of time. You can also (re)- watch this show by clicking here.
We are now working on a brand new live streaming concert with our ambassador artist Quentin Dujardin in a magical venue. More information coming soon.