The arts are not always in a prominent place on the political agenda in Africa, Latin-America and Asia. Nevertheless, an increasing number of governments recognise the importance of culture in itself and in connection to social and economic development. Part twenty-three in a series on cultural policy in non-Western countries.
Each year Salvadorians celebrate the peace treaty that brought an end to their bloody civil war in 1991. During the Festival por la Paz, performances and expositions are organised in a period of fifteen days. The government of El Salvador believes that culture is important. Even a national responsibility, because "the growth and the self confidence of a nation are so valuable", according to the country's cultural policy.
Thus El Salvador has a network called Casas de La Cultura, government centres that offer cultural programmes and stimulate local artists. Two of the 174 cultural institutions are diasporic: in the American city of Los Angeles and in Quezaltenango, Guatemala.
The cultural centres are the responsibility of the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y el Arte (Concultura). This art council, established in 1991, consists of five directorates. The Direccin Nacional de Artes is the most important of these. Not only does it direct the CENAR art academy, the Morena Celarié dance academy and the national theatres, but it also has its own symphonic orchestra and a literature fund. Concultura's art department also organises the annual book week and the international poetry festival of San Salvador.
El Salvador's seven archaeological sites suffered from looting during the civil war. The Concultura directorate for cultural heritage is attempting to restore the diggings, of primarily Aztec culture, and also runs the national archives and the eight national museums. Concultura also runs Canal 10, which provides a daily dose of cultural-educative programmes for Salvadorian television.
A prominent cultural foundation is the Fundación Clic Arte y Nuevas Tecnologías, which has organised an annual digital art festival since 2004: Festival Internacional de Arte Digital.