State of the Arts

is an open, artist-run platform including autonomous group initiatives as well as anyone worried about the state of the arts today.

The alliance of individuals that is now known as State of the Arts (SOTA) came to be in 2014 when individuals rallied to address their concerns with austerity measures that politics in general – but Belgian cultural politics in particular – took in relation to artistic practices. That said, it is necessary to hereby acknowledge that SOTA does not intend to communicate by way of any one representative spokesperson but instead by any and all participants working on the platform.

As an organization, SOTA champions specific beliefs rooted in the notion that art and it’s labor merit basic conditions to survive and flourish in the world at large:

SOTA pleads for and defends diversity. The diversity of artistic practices is essential, and SOTA works to develop and support a sustainable ecosystem where myriad practices can flourish.

SOTA opposes the doctrine of austerity and that there is no alternative (T-I-N-A). Instead, because SOTA believes that the strength of the artistic landscape in Belgium emanates from it’s diversity of practices, players, art forms, structural supports, and organizational models and that this rich ecosystem of practices is both exceptional and internationally recognized, SOTA advocates for many alternatives. Bearing that in mind, as part of their work now in 2019, SOTA rings the alarm bell because the diverse ecosystem of art practices in Belgium is endangered by current austerity measures in politics.

SOTA refuses the standardization of the arts into a ‘creative industry’, and it does not accept the imposition of business models or terminology. In so doing, the members of SOTA resoundingly demand that cultural policy explicitly acknowledge and support the fact that the processes, visions, and values of art very often diverge from existing business and market models.

SOTA aims to develop a reflective dialogue between the field of art and society at large in order to enforce mutual solidarity. SOTA believes that current cultural policies are not in line with actual artistic practices, so SOTA will speak out against any form the reductive stigmatization of art and artists takes.

SOTA aims to establish a direct, constructive dialogue between policymakers and those affected directly by policies.

SOTA acknowledges that it adds an indispensable voice to the poly-vocal expression of existing organizations and individuals engaged in work intended to improve conditions for the independent art sector in Belgium.