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Online petitions urge support for Yucatan Symphony and the MACAY

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Two venerable Yucatán cultural institutions — The Fernando García Ponce-MACAY Museum and the Yucatán Symphony, or OSY — are the subject of change.org petitions asking for public support. The petitions don’t ask for money, just a signature to tell politicians to support art and music in Yucatán.

But the petitions come as austerity programs mean public funding is drying up for museums and symphonies. The MACAY has warned that its entire budget could be eventually slashed, the petition warns.

The MACAY, the peninsula’s only museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art, has over 1,600 signatures on its petition.

The museum, next to the Cathedral and across the Plaza Grande, welcomes 72,000 visitors in a normal year. In 2020, more than half its budget evaporated and most staff members were laid off.

“The Fernando García Ponce MACAY Museum is a unique space in the Mexican southeast that throughout its existence has supported the promotion of the visual arts, as well as being one of the strengths for the development of tourism, an economic activity on which thousands of citizens depend throughout the region,” the petition says.

The OSY, meanwhile, has offered performances once again, with a new emphasis on streaming its programs. Its change.org petition, launched by Melissa Carolina Quintanar, urges state legislators to grant it heritage protections.

Aside from providing music to patrons, the symphony carries out educational work, both public and private, promoting the training of new generations of Yucatecan musicians, the petition notes.

Two Movimiento Ciudadano lawmakers presented the initiative before Congress in November. The measure would make the Teatro José Peón Contreras its official venue, guaranteeing musicians a performance and rehearsal space.

With the encouragement and support of Adolfo Patrón Luján, as president of the board, the Yucatán Symphony Orchestra since 2004 has performed more than 800 symphonic concerts with more than 500,000 tickets sold, 82 opera performances and 20 ballets. Traveling the country, 18 concerts have been presented in the most important theaters and forums such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Sala Nezahualcóyotl and the National Auditorium in Mexico City; Juárez Theater and Guanajuato Bicentennial Theater; and the Morelos theater in Michoacán, among others.

Its Sinfonízate education program has already served more than 20,000 students from sixth grade onward.

The first symphonic concert to take place in Yucatán was on Sept. 17, 1898. The current Yucatan Symphony Orchestra was founded in 2001, ending a 20-year classical music drought.

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