Young artists have been given a platform to showcase their work and build relationships with French contemporaries at Applauz Arts Initiative’s base in Woodstock.

Directors Natalia Da Rocha and Kurt Egelhof hosted a team of arts programmers and artistic advisers for French NPO Onda yesterday.

Da Rocha said the organisation provides various programmes for those skilled or unskilled in the arts, teaching everything from performance to self-marketing.

“Art has been taken away from our schools and the focus shifted away from expressions and performing.

“It has always been a fundamental part of our diverse cultures and communities and has been slowly fading into obscurity because there is no platform or funding,” she said.

Da Rocha said the meeting was to showcase the talent in the province and the challenges faced at grassroots level.

Young artists performed for the delegation and provided a glimpse of the talent not seen on the province’s more prominent stages.

Egelhof highlighted how interest and funding had dwindled in the programme since 2002 and how Applauz Arts had brought the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (Pansa) on board.

He said there are young artists receiving university degrees in the arts but who do not have the means or opportunities to work beyond that.

Onda International activities manager Katie Watts said it promotes the performing arts within France and exchanges in the field of live performance.

“We are a group of 20 arts programmers or festival organisers from within France or its territories, promoting the arts generally within Central Africa or French-speaking countries. Our participation in the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People World Congress and International Theatre Festival for Children and Young People, gave us the opportunity to visit organisations like Appluaz.”

She said networking creates a cross-cultural community that is beneficial for both sides in giving advice and generating funding.