Start small, grow big


he creative sector in the country suffers massively from lack of meaningful financial support.

Players from the sector have complained for years on end, but the status quo remains the same. The art sector is viewed by many as a pastime which does not deserve heavy capital investment let alone the attention the players crave for.

Even for someone sitting on a huge kitty, the arts is the last option when considering to invest in some corporate social responsibilities. It is an area which does not assure you of a clear-cut way of recouping your investment. So, potential partners simply look away and move on.

Hence, the sector has suffered and continues to suffer from lack of financing. Individuals and bodies tasked with overseeing and coordinating some functions within the sector have felt the pinch too.

In some instances, their functions become totally ineffective. Even if office-bearers are capable, they can’t reach desirable destination.

When it comes to individuals, a lot of acts which had immense potential have been suffocated due to lack of capital to get their trade up and running. Drama groups, bands and others have exited the stage earlier than they would have wished.

In as much as the environment is as thin, artists have at times failed to capitalise on partnerships which on paper may look small but have long-term collective gains.

What comes to mind is the partnership which musician Faith Mussa entered into with Borneo Coach Services. One may ask what an artist of Mussa’s stature could benefit from such an arrangement.

The arrangement, which also saw the singer assuming the role of the company’s brand ambassador, entails that the bus company will be responsible for his local movement when performing.

Sometimes you just need that complementary little to ease your operational budget lines. Simple. When Mussa Faith was coming to Blantyre from Lilongwe last Sunday for his Up Close and Personal together with his band crew they travelled on the luxurious buses.

Imagine if, as an artist, you have five or six of such partnerships where some oganisations or individuals are simply supporting you with things as small and little as drinking water, then someone helping you with stage decorations and someone supporting you with hiring of the venue.

This is very doable. As long as you build your profile perfectly and the other party is assured that you are bringing something on the table for them. But most of our local artists even fail at stage one: they can’t build a profile which can win them the trust of the corporate world.

This is clear in most artists’ approach to their trade. It appears most of them forget that survival of their careers hinges on the picture that they sell to the outside world.

Artists should be reminded that it is incumbent upon them to give a good account of themselves on every possible platform. To make matters worse, some cannot even make it in time to events that they have organised. If an artist stands me up for his performance, I will surely never take the trouble to attend his event again.

Our artists should learn to make use of every small opportunity and opening. It is not always that you find a windfall on your laps. Some will have to work with the bits and pieces until they get to the top. Start small and eventually grow big. That’s a sweeter story.

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