Last Tuesday night, artists, writers, academics, journalists and politicians gathered for an evening of music, art and dance to celebrate the presentation of a Culture Law drafted and proposed by the Cultural Secretariat of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) party. The FMLN formally submitted the proposed law, which represents the biggest political push to promote arts and culture in El Salvador’s recent history to promote arts and culture, to the Legislative Assembly the following morning.
The 99-page document includes chapters dedicated to indigenous peoples, arts education, cultural heritage, and cultural rights. Lorena Peña, legislative deputy and the FMLN’s Secretary of Culture, described the law as “an effort to dignify artists and also create spaces for artists’ professionalization,” with proposals for the inscription of artists into the national social security healthcare and pension systems as well as the creation of a Ministry of Culture, a grant-providing National Foundation for the Arts, and a Higher Institute for the Arts for study.
The proposed law is the result of a series of workshops conducted with El Salvador’s artists as well as consultations with national and international cultural experts that were synthesized by Salvadoran anthropologist Dr. Breni Cuenca and a team of collaborators. In a recent interview, Lorena Peña expressed confidence that a Culture law could be approved in the Legislative Assembly in about a year. The President’s Cultural Secretariat is also expected to present a proposal for a Culture Law that will also be studied by the country’s legislature. “In the end what will be discussed is a synthesis, the points that each project has in common,” said Peña.