Dear subscribers to our newsletter,​​​
Two issues of concern:
1) In the Working Committee report we read that the Secretary requests the community to find suitable ways to generate income from the immovable properties created from the GoI grants for the maintenance of the properties.

2)​ In the TDC proposal that has come up for ratification, the document called Planning Principles puts cultural, recreational and sports activities as a low priority, the need for which will be assessed and developed as required. The question for us is: assessed by whom? Who is going to decide what we need and why?
We urge you to read the recent reports sent by the RAS from our working groups that will affect the cultural sector in Auroville?

An immediate and related effect of the 1st issue was A note sent by Kala Kendra to all artists with the information that we will now have to pay Rs. 1000/- per day for a solo exhibition and Rs. 2000/- per day for a group show.
The WC committee report describes this as ‘self-sustainability’. We suggest that it is one more step that Auroville will take away from the Dream. Up to now, the art and culture sector in Auroville has struggled to be true to the ideals of Auroville: we do not charge tickets for performances and we do what we can to share our work (and the joy that it brings) with the community through regular exhibitions.
How can we preserve the room and space for errors and experimentation, to grow without the pressure of being something, doing something, that requires monetary success without any of these quantifiable markers?
In this economic situation, how can we move towards:

“Beauty in all its artistic forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, would be equally accessible to all; the ability to share in the joy it brings would be limited only by the capacities of each one and not by social or financial position.”

We do not believe that charging Aurovilians exorbitant fees to raise money to maintain venues is ‘sustainable” nor is it generating new income for Auroville nor will bring us any closer to solving the challenges we are supposed to solve.

Regarding the 2nd issue;
In 2013, the AVArtS had written a response to the IDPP report, that the Auroville planning processes, ignored the importance of art and culture. Later we also responded to the request for feedback by the Vision Task Force. Both our responses bring to the fore the importance that cultural planning should be given for the substantial importance for the holistic growth of the city.

The main points noted are that the planning lacks;
a) A ‘Vision’ that encourages and allows for the evolution and growth of consciousness and
b) The ‘Values’ that upholds the vision and guides its activities​ and practices

How can the planning of our city make Auroville a place for the rapid progress of the evolution of consciousness? How does one “gradually mould the finite into the image of the Infinite’? According to the suggested plan, it is by the building of infrastructure according to the galaxy model. According to Sri Aurobindo, it is by Art!
– By placing an emphasis on, and by supporting the development of art and cultural activities in Auroville, the community will develop, grow in size and numbers, attract wonderful and talented people AND will create an atmosphere that supports the evolution of consciousness, thereby moving us forward to our true ideals​​​.
– There are any number of documents and studies that recognise the overarching importance of art and cultural development to economic development, spiritual development, social development, and so on. (see footnotes)

In conclusion, in the planning principles of Auroville, the first and foremost ‘key feature’ should be: To plan Auroville such that it is a place for the rapid progress of the evolution of consciousness. Under the ‘socio economic’ section, it should be recognised that the development priority should be given to the cultural zone and this will help the city and its collective economy to become self-supportive.
Our real need is to move towards the Dream and to work consciously to hasten the advent of the new species. It is the cultural, recreational and sports activities that are multi generational, gender sensitive and promote inter village collaboration.- In order to strengthen the contribution of culture it is necessary to create protective policies for their development. Further we believe that by including a clear Vision statement and by articulating the Values we want to create or preserve, we believe that Art and Culture can play a bigger role in bringing together the type of growth, policies and economy we want for the city of the future.

Please do take a moment to read the attachments and to respond to the RAS for ratification (or not) of the TDC proposal. The last day for feedback is June 9th.

and AVArtService Team​

Footnotes on the topic:

– Cultural activities and creative industries, including architecture, (and recreation and sports,) play a critical role in boosting innovation and technology and are key engines of sustainable growth the future. (Official Journal of the EU, Council Conclusions on Architecture: Culture’s contribution to sustainable development, 13.12.2008)

– There is an evident link between culture (art, recreation, sports), creativity and innovation contributing to social and economic progress. The conclusion is drawn that therefore it is essential to consolidate the contribution of culture, especially the cultural and creative industries, for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. (Official Journal of the EU, Council conclusions of 10 May 2010 on the contribution of culture to local and regional development, 26.5.2010)