Margaret Menezes
The Minister of Culture, Margareth Menezes, during a symbolic act at the reopening of the MinC headquarters, on January 24 Photo: Filipe Araújo

The artist and curator Naine Terena, who curated the pioneering indigenous art show Véxoa: We know, at Pinacoteca de São Paulo (in 2020, bringing together 23 artists and collectives), is the new director of Education and Artistic Training at the National Secretariat of Education, Books and Reading of the Ministry of Culture. Political scientist Layanne Lisa coordinates the Articulation and Governance board of the Culture Committees of the same ministry. Sociologist Leticia Schwarz is the undersecretary for Strategic Management. Anthropologist Raquel Dias Teixeira is the coordinator of IPHAN's National Folklore and Popular Culture Center. Educator Kelma Ferreira coordinates Ibram's Administrative Support. Doctor in Ethnic and African Studies Desiree Tozi is the new Director of Cooperation and Development at IPHAN.

In the new 2023 Brazilian Ministry of Culture, women are not just the majority, they decide. In just two and a half months, Margareth Menezes completely changed the established paradigms of administrative composition in the culture of the Brazilian State. On March 3, at Sala Cecília Meirelles, in Rio, Margareth swore in the Bahian Maria Marighella (Carlos Marighella's granddaughter) as president of the National Arts Foundation (Funarte) with a large public act in Rio de Janeiro, accompanied by the drumming live by the percussive group Tambores de Olokun, a rite that incorporated the old #OcupaMinC movement, born in 2016, in the resistance to the coup d'état against former president Dilma Rousseff. When announcing Funarte's new collegiate board, Maria Marighella communicated that she was prioritizing gender parity and setting up “a Funarte with women at the center of decisions, influencing the way we see and make policies”.

The changes, which could be located predominantly in the territory of representativeness, go far beyond the symbolic: on the last 7th, by means of an ordinance, Margareth Menezes created the brand new Gender, Race and Diversity Committee in the ministry, with the aim of producing diagnoses of actions that can enhance policies of affirmative transversality (and create tools and mechanisms to be permanently incorporated by the Brazilian State). Four other ministries in the Lula government are already part of Margareth's Committee. “Brazil will be a better country to the extent that it respects, welcomes and encourages the development of all women,” said the minister.

On a practical level, the new MinC is maintaining its main focus on unlocking cultural action at the federal level. In mid-April, the deadline that the minister gave for a working group to regulate the new Paulo Gustavo Law, which will allocate R$ 3,8 billion to encourage culture in states and municipalities, ends. The transfer, the largest in terms of volume of resources in the country's history, could start as early as April.

To meet this demand, which will involve control and inspection, as well as follow-up, the Ministry of Culture has begun to recompose its team of experts in incentives and legislation. The return of experienced civil servants, with extensive historical and technical knowledge of the rules and norms that provide legal security to the incentive sector, is being meticulous.

A few days ago, Margareth rehired the first civil servant who had been dismissed during the Mario Frias administration for ideological reasons, Odecir Luiz Prata da Costa, one of the greatest experts in incentive laws in the country. Costa was exonerated by Frias as soon as he took over the Special Secretariat for Culture of the federal government, in July 2020, at the behest of the so-called “Olavista wing” of that administration, so that the former government kept the decision on development centralized, with not uncommon rules of ideological exception and censorship. Serving since 1988, with a technical profile, Costa was opposed to the persecutory, extremist and denialist rage in the conduct of the incentive laws and was removed.

Another public servant returned to her duties was Teresa Cristina Rocha Azevedo de Oliveira, appointed as Director of the Direct Development Department of the Creative Economy Secretariat. This restructuring is considered essential for activating not only the Rouanet Law, which is atrophied (and buried by old accountability), but also the brand new incentive legislation that is on the way, the Paulo Gustavo Law and the Aldir Blanc II Law. , which will earmark around R$ 7 billion for the sector.

According to the MinC, five million people work in the cultural area of ​​the country and generate around 3% of the national GDP. A stimulus the size of what is announced for 2023 and 2024 could generate thousands of jobs and activate a fundamental economic area, which fits into the so-called soft economy (based on creativity, access, sharing, collaboration and trust), without the effects side effects of heavy and environmentally harmful industries.

The Rouanet Law will be subject to a new government decree, which should come out by the end of March, with the aim of making specific adjustments to the text - in addition to the return of multi-year and annual plans for cultural institutions, continued actions and the promotion stable artistic groups, new limits of values ​​for funding, management and fees, the National Commission for Cultural Incentives (CNIC) will be reactivated.

Part of the mapping of the Brazilian cultural potential will be the responsibility of the government's most recent innovation: the Culture Committees Secretariat. The chosen one to pilot this experience was the sociologist and educator Roberta Martins, former director of cultural diversity at Fundação de Arte de Niterói (FAN). The manager, who already had the Theatro Municipal João Caetano, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) and the Niterói Ballet Company under her management in the municipality of Niterói, is now responsible for articulating the likely successor of Pontos de Cultura at the forefront of government actions.

The concept of the Committees presupposes the existence of a nucleus in each state of the federation, formed by artists, intellectuals, workers of local culture, with no link with the government. It will be the community itself reflecting and proposing coping strategies for major contemporary Brazilian and global issues. These committees, the government believes, will allow a deeper understanding of the demands and needs of each corner of the country, circumventing the government's historic centralist tendency. ✱

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