Can campaigning save the much-loved gallery from takeover?

An online campaign to save Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC) is picking up pace, with the fate of the endangered center potentially being decided tomorrow (Sep 26).

“This Wednesday, September 26th at 13:30, we invite you to attend a press conference on the budget situation of the BACC,” the BACC stated on their Facebook page, giving no further details of the upcoming cuts.

As reported by The NationCity Hall has allegedly cut about B80 million in annual support for the BACC over the past two years, which has led to difficulties in meeting essential payments, such as the gallery’s water and electricity bills, and may necessitate reduced opening hours.

In May, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) attempted to take over the non-profit BACC and turn the exhibition floor into a co-working space. However, after four months of rebellion from local art lovers, artists managed to prevent this with the launch of a petition and trending hashtag #freebacc.

The recent news regarding the much-loved art gallery has seen many people turn to social media to express their dismay.

Thida Plitpholkarnpim, founder of the Documentary Club, took a stand on Facebook against the BMA in a post that's garnered over 1,500 shares: “The news broke several months ago that the government attempted to take over the operation of BACC, and then it went quiet, but here comes the latest news: no funding from BMA for 2 years. BACC is now in crisis, but the management won’t close the art center. They will tighten their belts, decrease exhibitions and activities, and shorten hours.”

Thida’s statement led to uproar on Twitter and Facebook, propelling the already trending campaign forward, as screens were flooded with the hashtag: #saveYOURbacc. Local art enthusiasts now plan to gather at the BACC on Wednesday, Sep 26 at 1:30pm dressed in black to show their support.