The smarts behind the arts

Tammy Ballantyne, national coordinator for the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (Pansa), has been named Arts and Culture Administrator of the Year at the annual Arts & Culture Trust Awards. In little more than two years, Pansa has become a leading force in the arts and culture sector — thanks in no small measure to Ballantyne’s sterling efforts and unflinching determination.

The organisation has grown from having branches in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal to launching six provincial branches, while the remaining provinces have interim committees in place as they work towards establishing formal branches by the end of this year.

Mike van Graan, arts commentator and general secretary of Pansa, is enthusiastic in his praise of Ballantyne: ‘The management of the arts and culture sector is one of the most crucial — if not the most crucial — challenges facing the sector at the moment,” he says.

‘Tammy is at the forefront of a new generation of cultural managers the country desperately requires at this point. It is her skills, commitment, interpersonal relations and passion that have made the most significant contribution to the building of the organisation over the past year.”

At Pansa, Ballantyne performs a variety of tasks — such as compiling a monthly newsletter and distributing information to members; keeping financial records; liaising with various parties including Create SA, Business & Arts South Africa and the South African Qualifications Authority; as well as organising various Pansa projects such as workshops on radio, remuneration of actors, copyright law and contracts, and how to plan budgets. She also runs the national office in Johannesburg.

This year she organised the first national conference on arts and culture marketing, which was oversubscribed in terms of attendance and that led to the launch of the Arts and Culture Marketing Association of South Africa, where Ballantyne now serves as an elected steering-committee member.

She was elected to the arts administration portfolio within the Network for Arts and Culture South Africa for her contribution to and work in the field. She has also worked on researching and publishing the South African Handbook on Arts and Culture.

Asked what her strengths are, Ballantyne says: ‘I have a clear understanding of current trends and events shaping the arts and culture community, a clear sense of vision and objectives, and the initiative to drive a project in its conceptual and implementation stages. I have the ability to think creatively and critically.”

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