Alternative spaces, informal organizations and artist-run spaces are vital to a flourishing art community. These art spaces can be used to educate and reach out also to an interested, non-art audience.
Fomma DHA Art Centre (FDAC) is a 19th century former army barracks space that has been repurposed as a venue for creative ideas and emerging talents. Run by Fomma Trust, a non-profit educational and cultural entity, FDAC is envisioned as a centre of excellence, committed to the promotion, dissemination and documentation of arts and culture in order to confer a visible cultural dimension to society. The renovated and refurbished army barrack was handed over to the FOMMA by the Defence Housing Authority at a ceremony held at the Zamzama Park. By 2007, the FOMMA- DHA Art Centre was fully operational, with book launches, exhibits, art classes for children and collaborative events taking place.
This is the sort of art space needed in Pakistan: one where accidental collisions and fortuitous encounters can spark new ideas. Alterative spaces, such as non-commercial and artist-run initiatives, are essential to creating a vibrant art world.
Alternative arts spaces aim fill the gap between the private artist’s studio and the formal setting of a museum or gallery. We envision FDAC a centre for the creative community, a place where ideas canbe created and shared.Informal spaces for the circulation of art, such as a cafe where artists and those interested in art can interact, amateur art competitions, art movie nights – these sort of events bridge the divide between the professional art world and a public interested in cultural activities. Spaces for art production and display, such as inexpensive rental studios, informal educational ventures, open-ended discussions, art writing and curating programs do much the same. While we strive to make these ideas a reality, we should use ArtNow and other virtual spaces as labs where ideas can be introduced and thought through in an open and accessible manner.
It would create a network that allows for a circulation of ideas and brings in communities in order to envision art not just as a private enterprise but as a social project. The development of an art infrastructure cannot be piecemeal, but has to be a coordinated and cooperative, with elements that can exist and function independently whilst fitting into a larger system. This is vital because the types of spaces available to art shape not just the form art takes but the very language and ideas used to discuss and understand it.
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