Over the past five years, we have focused on connecting cultural diversity and touristic attractions to enthusiastic civic networks before expanding our nurturing ecosystem to other regions.
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Towards a Sustainable Art Ecosystem
Wayla Amatathammachad (Prayoon for Art Foundation)
The existential crisis as an art manager in Thailand or, more broadly, in the Southeast Asian context harassed me gradually. I have been questioning myself in many different aspects as a cultural worker. Why is there a massive investment in public art projects somewhere on earth but almost none in some parts of the world in this contemporary time? What economic mechanism runs behind the facade of a miraculous art project that rarely happens in Thailand? What changed this phenomenon of an Art practitioner's social status or career?
Interestingly, I discovered that many of my friends share the same struggles in career development as art practitioners throughout SEA regions. From the countless questions regarding how we sustain a career in the art industry to the quest to understand the relationships and connectivities among stakeholders in ecosystems outside the walls of art spaces that nurture their artistic activities.
Moreover, how can we overcome the scarcity of contemporary art that has haunted this region for more than decades (at least counting from years of my professional experience in art)?In 2017, my friends and I initiated a small experiment network called ‘Prayoon for Art.’ We all have different backgrounds, but most of us are enthusiastic about exploring new possibilities for nurturing the concept and practice of contemporary art.
From the white cubes to the Black Boxes, We hoped to sow seeds for art in the region through radical ideas about such spaces. Through this, a forest of art with its characteristics will grow in the long run. Over the past five years, we have focused on connecting cultural diversity and touristic attractions to enthusiastic civic networks before expanding our nurturing ecosystem to other regions.
Now the network has been expanding its operation to the current flagship platform; STAR TIER aims to cultivate ecosystems in a border town Dansai in the Loei province of Thailand. Prayoon for Art Foundation implemented a new platform called The 1st cluster of the Sustainable Transnational Art Reformation Through Intercultural Empirical Rapport (STAR TIER) in 2020.
The platform aims to cultivate creative ecosystems for the province by connecting active citizen networks, cultural diversity, and natural tourist attractions before expanding the incubated ecosystem to other regions within five years.
This initiative aims to stimulate sustainable collaboration among artist networks, cultural groups, education sectors, business sectors, and civil societies, both local and international, focusing on four aspects; Capacity building in education, Empower local natural resources and cultures by using contemporary art, Create value net for community development, and Facilitate creative and knowledge exchange among collaborators.
In 2010 Wayla Amatathammachad decided to leave his full-time career in marketing and advertising and began his new career path in art & cultural management. He started to work as a print coordinator and projectionist for the World Film Festival of Bangkok and in 2012 as the assistant manager of Pichet Klunchun Dance Company (2012-2016). Wayla expanded his work position to be the head of cultural management and business development at Thong Lor Art Space (2016-2019). Moreover, now he is the current director of the International Low Fat Art Fes, which focus on multilevel collaboration between art communities and CSOs to expand the utilization of contemporary arts in social sectors. He is also an independent contemporary art management researcher. His current project is developing the open art network called ‘Prayoon for Art’ that includes enthusiastic art volunteers from all backgrounds to create alliance networks to stimulate the transnational sustainable creative ecosystem.
Prayoon for Art
Prayoon for Art is a volunteer-based art management organization in Bangkok, Thailand. It was founded by an independent contemporary performing art management researcher, Wayla Amatathammachad, in October 2017. It has expanded into an open network by gathering art lovers who work as professional art practitioners and individuals from different career backgrounds. Prayoon for Art's vision is to operate as a bridge between Art and society to strike through the limited social structure conditions and beliefs in Thailand that prevent sustainable development of the country's Art and creativity.
Prayoon for Art has become the main organizer for Low Fat Art Fes (LFAF) in 2019. Since then, the Festival has expanded its scope of 'cooperation' beyond art societies by collaborating with artists and social sectors through creative activities that target local communities to become a part of it. These include curating artwork, organizing exhibitions, and building on the common themes shared by all parties. LFAF in 2019 was held in the community site of Princess Mother Memorial Park and Anongkaram temple community, Khlong San District, Bangkok, a well-known historic locality enriched with diverse cultural communities along the riverside of the Chao Phraya River. The Festival exhibited more than 21 artworks created by 60 artists from over ten countries. The festival art presentation far exceeded expectations, creating a new environment inspiring the business sector and impacting countless creativity movements in this area.
In late 2020, Prayoon for Art launched the flagship project, 'STAR TIER' (Sustainable Transnational Art Reformation Through Intercultural Empirical Rapport), a cooperative incubation platform to foster social collaboration between artists and creative developers at the regional level. By acting as a mediator, Prayoon for Art will use STAR TIER to initiate exchange at an international level, then implement art activities (both long-term and short-term) for sustainable cultural development in Thailand as an experiment ground. The network will begin the first cluster of projects in Loei province, where the fourth edition of LFAF will take place.
Loei Art Fes
Loei Art Fes: Formerly known as the Low Fat Art Fes but rebranded as the Loei Art Fes, the festival moved from Bangkok to Loei in 2021, coinciding with its fourth anniversary. To distinguish Loei Art Fes from its earlier version in Bangkok, the organizer invited residents in its new home to approach art from different angles while exploring how art can be used as an effective tool for social development. With the festival organizer’s ambition to increase residents' voluntary and proactive participation, artists and educators were encouraged to work with active citizens to start art groups and organizations. The festival organizer hopes that the Art Fes will eventually be planned and organized by residents in Loei independently on their own.