Reshaping Peruvian Art Law


Peruvian Arts Practitioners in Pursuit of a Fairer Law

Peru is known for being the home of the Inca Empire and the site of Machu Picchu as a surviving example of this civilization’s unique architecture. The Andean nation is also renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, unique villages with a long history, traditions, beaches, wildlife and its culture, of course. The country is also home to a number of artists, ranging from those rising talents who create the most amazing handicrafts and sell them on the streets, to the gifted musicians that manage to fill huge auditoriums.

According to a study conducted by UNESCO and other international institutions on the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative industries, in March 2020 Latin American countries had to close 100% of their cultural facilities. This resulted in a high number of unemployed, most severely affecting people who depended entirely on the income derived from the sector to cover their basic needs.


All individuals have the right to freedom of intellectual, artistic, technical and scientific creation, as well as to the ownership of such creations and their products. The State favors access to culture and encourages its development and diffusion.
Peruvian Constitution, Article 2

Accordingly, the shutdown not only affected the workers' rights, but also the freedom of other citizens to be able to attend, appreciate and enjoy art.

Fortunately, the Ministry of Culture, under the technical assistance of UNESCO and with the support of the Aschberg Fund, undertook the process of formulating a new Artist's Law, which was developed in a participatory manner in all regions of the country. The objective was to reconstruct a law whose application must be feasible, consensual and responsive to the needs of the sector. The current law was approved 17 years ago, prior to the approval of the 2005 Convention for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Therefore, in order to provide a vision of the development of the sector and a new context aligned with the current tides of time, its revision is urgent. At the same time, an intriguing aspect of the project is that it includes dialogue boxes in various regions of the country, allowing several people to be heard. And here is where the main character of our story of transforming the law for artists’ sake comes on the scene.

Fast forward to the city of Trujillo. It is a new day in this bustling city. Before the sun rises, Humberto already begins his morning with the fresh scent of the sea and a salty breeze that gives a flavor of excitement for the day. A brand new day that for him represents the opportunity to generate a positive impact on his beloved community. And this is the reason that encourages him to get out of bed early in the morning.

He is known in his country for being an excellent songwriter and singer, but the pandemic has forced him to put aside his role as an artist and has led him to take on other commitments. He currently works as a cultural manager which occupies most of his agenda and perceives it as a unique chance to fight for what he believes is right.

What I am most passionate about is to produce changes in my community through art and culture while developing projects that create a positive impact in my locality. It motivates me to see how the talent we were blessed with can be a tool to inspire people to do good things and generate awareness.
Humberto Arancibia Songwriter, singer and cultural manager

In addition, the aforementioned instances of dialogue are relevant for the protagonist, since he has been in charge of collecting the proposals for better artistic inclusion in law that many of his colleagues from all over his region have written in the hope of being heard. Humberto has spent several years listening to the requests of artists with diverse realities. For him, it is about understanding the country’s multicultural tissue, and this is why the reformulation of the law should not leave anyone behind. As such, few people are better positioned than him to rally efforts for the well-being of artists and to voice their concerns.

Thus, as the new law brings hope to many in the artistic and cultural fields, Humberto remains optimistic about its future impact.

We hope from now on there will be a fair and congruent approach that takes into account our needs, considering artistic diversity in order to build cultural policies which allow us to work in an optimum manner, with rights and duties in equity and justice.
Humberto Arancibia

The experience of being part of this project also generates feelings of gratitude in Humberto. He considers the reformulation of the law leaves an invaluable legacy to the new generations by opening a path. 
Moreover, this project is essential to rebuilding trust among members of the sector and will lay the foundations for a more decent future for the country's artists and cultural industries.

This law will turn us into a sector with better conditions for all, more organized and solid. Not only a more formalized relationship between the cultural agents and the government, but also among ourselves.

If there is one thing the pandemic has demonstrated, it is the importance of the arts in society. Thus, the new law that enshrines art and nurtures its practitioners cannot but put at the center the creative expression that makes all of us more human. In this regard, Humberto's words send the message loud and clear:

In this confinement, art has allowed us to keep our sanity and channel our emotions. We must continue working because art and culture are tools for a better world.