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One thing is often left unnoticed when we’re discussing the arts: that it is not just about creating things, but also how to make the arts ecosystem can benefit every party involved. However before doing that, artists need to understand how to advocate for the arts. To empower more artists on this matter, Koalisi Seni initiated the Indonesia Arts Policy Advocacy Class, also known as Kelas AKSI.

Taught by experts from Jentera Law School and Koalisi Seni, Kelas AKSI aims to highlight the importance of enforcing arts policies that will benefit the artists. Through this program, participants will also be able to discover the impact of public policies on the continuation of the arts ecosystem.

In Kelas AKSI, participants get a chance to learn about the arts condition in Indonesia and reflect it upon their own respective areas. Thus, the class enriches their understanding of the issues. Broad varieties of perspectives shared in Kelas AKSI will also encourage more inclusive arts policies.

Regina Meicieza from Tanahindie, a member of Koalisi Seni, was one of the participants from the initial Kelas AKSI held from July to August 2021. She said there were several problems in Makassar’s arts ecosystem that need to be further discussed. “Among those problems are political rivalry, limited access to funding and unfair grants distribution by the regional government only to particular arts institutions, while the arts ecosystem is still evolving and looking for its identity,” said Regina in an interview conducted on 18 October 2021.

From her experience in Kelas AKSI, Regina realized that arts advocacy is a systematic, planned, and sustainable act. “I realized this when hearing about each participant’s advocacy experience in their own regions,” Regina said.

Just like any other movement, the effort of making a healthy art ecosystem is a collective fight. “In doing the advocacy, artists cannot stand alone. They have to mingle and build strong and supportive connections in order to push for improvement of the ecosystem,” she said.  According to her, Kelas AKSI is a perfect space to do that.

Meanwhile, Temanku Lima Benua, who at 16 years old is the youngest member of Koalisi Seni, also shared her experience as a participant of Kelas AKSI. Residing in Klaten, Liben emphasizes on the impact of Covid-19 to the arts in her hometown. “In this pandemic, the arts sector in the region is struggling hard. It seems like even the Law of Advancement of Culture,  which has been in the talk for the last four years, is also scared of the pandemic,” said the teen who also goes by the nickname Liben.

In Kelas AKSI, Liben found out the reality that her hometown isn’t the only area whose creative sector had been affected by the pandemic. From that experience, Liben becomes more optimistic that every regions’ arts ecosystem can slowly rise and shine again. Realizing the importance of interregional discussions like the one happening in Kelas AKSI, Liben wishes that “Kelas AKSI can continue to be in action.”

Looking from the experiences of Regina and Liben, Kelas AKSI has become more important not only because it is able to build the knowledge of artists about the condition of the arts ecosystem in Indonesia, but it also facilitates them to converse and share their insights with one another.

The second batch of Kelas AKSI has just ended on 25 October 2021. For you who are interested in joining the program, don’t worry! Kelas AKSI will be back and open to the public in 2022. Until then, may we all continue to fight for an arts ecosystem that is more just, open, and safe for all. (Ghina Prameswari Prabowo)

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