Looking for social improvement through arts and culture

El Universal,
16 July 2013, Mexico

Mexico’s Consejo Nacional para las Artes y la Cultura (Conaculta) presented today the pilot summer program, 'Social Transformation through Arts and Culture', which aims at lowering crime in 57 localities that account for 40% of the country’s violence.

During a press conference that took place at Palacio de Bellas Artes, Conaculta’s President, Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, stated that starting from today and until the 31st of August, 200 cultural actions will take place in 100 municipalities of 25 states, that will enable a diagnosis that act as the basis for the development of a strategy for cultural programmes with social impact.

According the Tovar y de Teresa, the cultural program will encompass different artistic areas (music, theatre, visual arts, cultural caravans, workshops, etc) and will be the first of its kind. Implementing the cultural program will allow for firm conclusions about the program to be reached, rather than making up assumptions about its capacity to prevent crime.

“The idea is to reconstruct the insecurity and anti-social behavior found in these communities, using culture as a way to improve the quality of leisure time and to reinforce the identity and self-esteem of young people.”

According to the organizers of the program, this initiative is a result of the first line of action of the Programa Nacional para la Prevención Social de la Violencia y la Delincuencia (National Program for the Social Prevention of Violence and Crime), announced by President Enrique Peña Nieto on the 1st of December 2012, which gave a central role to arts and culture.