Página de Patricia Rodón

noviembre 18, 2006

En Buenos Aires Herald

Filed under: Prensa on line — patriciarodon @ 5:41 am

The torch goes outThe presence of furniture removers prompts a sense of mixed feelings because the truck can mean progress or regression. The trucks loading in May and June at Fundación Antorchas, on the corner of Chile and Balcarce, caused that mix. A sad occasion after a brilliant career.
According to the last president, Josef E. Oppenheimer, the organization was started in 1987 with a twenty years expiry. Proceedings have been moved to a small office in Belgrano with a closing date of December 2006, when Oppenheimer hopes to wind up his last accounts. In its time, nearly one hundred million dollars were distributed in grants and scholarships, with a minimum of red tape, a combination of figures and administration which makes Antorchas quite an achievement. Beneficiaries included museums, such as the University of Buenos Aires’ once-dilapidated ethnographical museum, and the San José, Entre Ríos, museum of colonization, and young artists who were encouraged by Guillermo Kuitca from the foundation’s studio in Barracas, set in an old corset factory. And there were dozens of scientific projects funded and cultural initiatives supported. Projects even included two anthologies of Argentine short stories, translated into English by Norman Thomas di Giovanni and published by Constable, in London. What is billed as the “final report” reproduces a magnificent list of those who were graced with an Antorchas grant. During much of the two decades, the director, José Xavier Martini, controlled the ambitious programme of subsidies, assisted by Américo Castilla, who moved to the Culture Secretariat in 2003.
Antorchas was started when two businessmen decided to wind up their Empresas Sudamericanas Consolidadas, which ran considerable mining, industrial and commercial investments, sell the assets and bank the income with a non-profit venture in Liechtenstein which would administer a charitable foundation with operations in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The twenty year spending plan has now run to a close.
During its existence, the well designed brick coloured refurbished building at the corner in San Telmo was a destination for men and women seeking support for carefully planned and budgeted projects. So Antorchas has a remarkable record and even if the end was expected, it is a sad farewell, with a wish for more of its ilk in Argentina. As one of the beneficiaries, having received help last year to publish a bilingual anthology of Argentine poetry in Britain in 2004 (Twenty Poets from Argentina), it is hard to say “thanks and goodbye.”

(C) Andrew Graham-Yool, en Buenos Aires Herald.


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