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ProChile Director, Lorena Sepúlveda: “The arts are vital and we believe in this space”

With the support of ProChile, Ch.ACO is going through Artsy for the third time consecutive. The national director of this institution spoke with Ch.ACO, where she spoke about the relevance of the creative industries in the Chilean economy, in addition to contributing to the internationalization and professionalization of the visual arts area.

By Ch.ACO Team

Lorena Sepúlveda, director of ProChile - an institution under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of internationalizing Chilean companies and promoting a country image- spoke about the importance of the creative industries in the Chilean economy and how today, the internationalization of the sector is an important focus of their work.

With the pandemic, new challenges have been generated, and currently ProChile seeks to create new tools through digital platforms. Through the support of the institution, Ch.ACO has managed to continue participating and contributing to the internationalization of Chilean art, its artists and gallery owners. The Ch.ACO alliance with ProChile through Artsy is a continuity that has been taking place since 2017, and today makes the Open Ch.ACO online fair possible.


What are the sectoral brands of the creative industries? How does ProChile work and support these brands?

They are a tool that uses a very important role in the internationalization of the sectors. They have to do with a private-public work where for each particular industry, a series of strategic characteristics towards internationalization are defined together. It is based on defining the characteristics and attributes of Chile and the companies that make up the sector, all of its strategic definition to approach a given area.


In this case, ProChile works with the entire sector of the economy or creative industries (IICC), and in particular, four sectoral brands have been generated for the IICC, one in the film sector, another for the documentary area, a new one that it is for independent music and of course, “Sísimica”, for the visual arts.

It is important to emphasize that it is one of all the supports that ProChile has, because it has a series of other forms and support tools for the national export sectors, or, if they are not exporters, they have all the potential to start a path towards internationalization.


"Today we cannot sit around waiting for all activities to be physically reactivated, we must move very quickly in everything that is digital promotion"

Specifically regarding the visual arts, what is ProChile's support for this creative industry in this pandemic context?

We have given all the support across all sectors. We have worked tirelessly to make the change, because much of the promotion that we did before was with physical presence, that is, fundamentally through participation in fairs, business conferences, among others. We have worked tirelessly to change the entire promotion to the digital format, through the tools that ProChile has, as well as new ones that have appeared along the way. So we are working hard on all e-commerce, in support through the Marketplace, digital marketing, virtual business rounds, among others, a total change of everything that is the promotional grid for the sector.

Specifically, for the creative sector, there is an important effort in all that are virtual platforms such as Arsty, with whom we have a joint a project with Ch.ACO for the promotion of galleries and artists on these important platforms. We are working together to see the promotion from June to September of all artists and galleries. We hope to see the results we have there, to evaluate and project to other platforms, and to reach other markets. Today we cannot sit around waiting for all activities to be physically reactivated, we must move very quickly in everything that is digital promotion. This always in a public-private framework, with Ch.ACO, with the other market agents, but also very hand in hand with the entire internationalization table that exists for the visual arts.


How has the development of “Sísmica” been? as the visual arts sector brand in ProChile, compared to other areas of creative industries such as Film and Design, for example.

Although “Sísmica” started its plans in 2015, with the intention of addressing all the strategic definitions for the internationalization process, it took shape in mid-2018, therefore it has only been a year and a half of execution. Within this framework, very important activities have been carried out, all in-person during 2019 where promotions were made for the markets of Buenos Aires, Miami, about five important exhibitions were held with the participation of relevant actors from the brand's target audience. At the end of all this, a review of the results of all these actions is made.

From what has been carried out so far, which has only been a part of the project, we are really satisfied with the results and what remains now is to define how we continue on this virtual path. That is the discussion we are in right now.


"The creative industries as a whole, have represented before the pandemic 2.2% of the Chilean GDP, more than 30 thousand SMEs and MSMEs that are linked to these sectors with close to 150 thousand jobs"
"Today the creative economy is part of the strategic sectors for ProChile's work, to support internationalization"

Thinking about the future, what is the role and importance of ProChile in reviving the economy of the visual arts sector in the post-pandemic market?

It is a subject that we have been analyzing day by day. I think it is very difficult to make projections of how the international market is coming because everything is evolving really fast. But it is important to say that ProChile is actively working in this sector.

The creative industries for ProChile are a focus market in all its expression because it helps us to add value to our portable offer, because we are interested in exporting talent, creativity, and all artistic expressions that give added value to what is the country and the industry they belong to. The creative industries as a whole, have represented before the pandemic 2.2% of the Chilean GDP, more than 30 thousand SMEs and MSMEs that are linked to these sectors with close to 150 thousand jobs.

There is a tremendously important focus on what the entire creative economy is and the commitment that ProChile has. There is a complete dedicated department, with the work of highly specialized professionals to support these sectors. Today the creative economy is part of the strategic sectors for ProChile's work, to support internationalization. They are vital and we truly believe in this sector. We are reinventing ourselves together to see how we continue to build the best route given this new scenario.


"We want it (Ch.ACO) to continue playing a highly important role in making all works and the Chilean creative space visible"

How do you visualize and project the growth of the visual arts as a creative industry, within 5 years?

Today making 5-year projections is very adventurous because we do not know how the world is going to look. However, what is relevant is that on behalf of ProChile we are really committed to the sector and it is part of the work focus, and just as we have been building a path towards internationalization, we will continue with this plan. More than anything, we need a fluid, public-private dialogue, a large association in the sector in order to build an internationalization in the new world that will remain after the pandemic.

How do you see Ch.ACO inserted in this push to development?

As they have been, a vital actor for the internationalization of the sector, we want it to continue playing a highly important role in making all works and the Chilean creative space visible. This is what Ch.ACO does, as well as other actors in the sector. We will continue to remember and work on that, in face of the internationalization of the industry.


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