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what is BAFA? and what do we do?
find: Arts groups, galleries, etc. Bahá´í Publishers, agents, distributors

Anneke who?


Margie who?


Kathleen who?


Pierre who?


Sonja who?


We are individuals involved in various ways in the arts.
We work together informally using email.
There are also a number of people who help us with translating, editing, distribution, photocopying, collecting subscriptions, and promotion.

We do not see BAFA or any of its activities as being set in concrete, and we are continually working on better or easier ways to fulfil our goals.

Our goals? To promote the arts from a wide variety of perspectives, and to help artists to communicate with one another.
Our major activities are producing a publication on the arts (see book).

And when time permits, adding material onto this website from our 19 years of publications as well as extending the database of artists on this website (which also has parts in French, Spanish, Russian and a little in Dutch and Esperanto).

We live in exciting times and there is a lot of interesting art being made around the world.
We hope Arts Dialogue helps to share stories, enlighten, educate, and be enjoyable. Currently, all of the board members are Bahá´ís and we hope that Arts Dialogue carries the Bahá´í spirit of diversity on its pages. BAFA (The Bahá´í Association For the Arts) is not just for those who identify with the Bahá´í community. Themes such as diversity, creativity, communication across the disciplines, and celebrating the spiritual are a common ground for people from many backgrounds. The artists that appear here and in the pages of Arts Dialogue have diverse associations and various backgrounds.

  A painter asked: ´Is art a worthy vocation?´
´Abdu´l-Bahá turning to her impressively, said: ´Art is worship.´

some history

1986: A number of European Bahá´ís met in Switzerland and decided to form an association for the arts. The first boardmembers were: Norbert Arnold (Switzerland), Anneke Schouten-Buys (The Netherlands), Monica Roccon (Italy) and Helen Kontos (Greece).
Anneke & Helen started the quarterly, the newsletter for the Bahá´í Association For the Arts in May 1987, with Helen sending the typed copy from Greece to Anneke who posted it out from the Netherlands.
BAFA supported itself from membership subscriptions and voluntary labour and never missed an issue.

BAFA also organized Arts Forums.

1988: Arts Forum, at de Poort, the Netherlands, with ... artists from about 10 countries for ... days. The new BAFA board consisted of: Reidar Haanes (Norway), Linda Voogt-Wood (The Netherlands), Mark Allinson (Scotland), with Helen and Anneke who continued to produce the newsletter. There were around 40 subscribers to the newsletter from Europe, Israel and the U.S.A.

1989: Sonja van Kerkhoff and Sen McGlinn joined the board and started to do the posting out and the layout of the newsletter.
There were 64 members from 19 countries, including Suriname, Australia, Indonesia, Iceland and Japan.

1990: BAFA had its last AGM meeting at the five day "Choices" Arts Forum organized by the Dutch Bahá´í Committee for Art and Culture in July. Here about 30 artists from 15 countries (the U.S. and Europe) attended a 3 day conference. We realized at that meeting that there seemed little point in having an AGM. Artists weren't interested in this and BAFA seemed to function well without having an AGM. Later we also abandoned the idea that a yearly subscription began each March. Now a subscription began when it was paid for and was a subscription to the newsletter rather for being a member of the Bahá´í Association For the Arts. We also stopped including costs for Global Art Life in our subscription, This part of the subscription was dropped and added to the BAFA subscription. In that year we had about 70 subscribers from 19 countries of which about 30 were paying the full subscription rate.

1991: BAFA organized the "Crossing Borders" Arts Forum in Bratislava, (now) Slovakia with other 60 artists in attendance with half of them coming from Eastern Europe. There were five days of workshops, lectures, and fun, with performances each evening of dance, poetry, theatre or music. A concert of classical music was held in a church. Two interviews were published in the city newspaper, along with two radio interviews and a one minute spot on national television. Six visual artists (from Russia, Spain, the U.K, and the Netherlands) exhibited their work in a gallery in the city, which got some coverage. The dance and drama workshops produced original works which were performed at one of the evening concerts. The nine painters produced a large mural which then travelled with a travel teaching team. And the contacts made with Russian artists here lead, later, to the start of the Russian version of the newsletter.

Some of those who were at the 1991 Arts Forum in Bratislava, sing for the camera.

It was an exciting 5 days, but we were also burnt out from the experience.
A month after this, Sonja and Sen took over the editing of the quarterly newsletter. About six months later, Helen decided to resign from the board to concentrate on her work as a music / theater promoter in Greece. BAFA focussed on developing the content and presentation of the newsletter, while keeping the costs as low as possible and decided to stop organizing art forums. It continued and still continues to support itself soley from subscriptions, individual donations and voluntary labour (Yes, grassroots stuff!). We also realized that organizing conferences and events was better suited for a national committee rather than an international one, whereas a newsletter benefited all our subscribers.

1991: Marie-Christine Veroda (France) started producing Le Bulletin (a French version of the BAFA newsletter) and continued to do this for a year with a few translators helping her.

1992: Vasily Ragosin (Russia) started producing and coordinating the Russian version and continued to do this more or less on a regular basis until 1994.

1993: Pierre restarted Le Bulletin which came out 4 times a year.

1993: Kathleen (Japan) started to help with typing texts and posting them to the Netherlands.

1994: We changed the name of the English language quarterly to Arts Dialogue.

1995: Alison and Steve (New Zealand) started to help with editing and coordination, and Sen gradually dropped out of editing Arts Dialogue.

1997: There was some discussion about starting an Esperanto version of the quarterly and a Bahá´í in the U.S. looked at the practicalities of this for a few year. BAFA gave some money to start up the Russian version of the newsletter, but we did't have the resources to do this again.

1997: Javier started work on making the first Spanish issue which was finished, but he needed help with distribution and collecting subscriptions.

1997: Steve made our first website at: There are some full articles from earlier issues on this site.

1998: Kathleen and Sonja started an email list art´n soul, which has a life of its own now, completely independent of BAFA. It is a email list where individuals discuss topics that relate to the arts. Any one can join and no material is edited.

1998: The posting and photocopying moved from the Netherlands to New Zealand to save money.

1998 - 1999: Steve took turns with Sonja on the layout of Arts Dialogue. Steve handled all the distribution of Arts Dialogue.

1999: This website was launched on March 21, 1999.

2000: Arts Dialogue switched from 4 times a year at 16 A4 pages to 3 times a year with 24 pages and is now offset printed, and is posted from The Netherlands.

2000: Le Bulletin stopped due to our translator-editor-distributor, not having enough help. It needs French speakers to revive it.

2001 - 2: Pierre helped Sonja put some of the articles from the French Le Bulletin were put into French website version. It is one of the many parts of this site that still needs work. translated 3 articles into Russian and Sonja has put these onto the website. When time permits, we will build a Russian version as well.

2002: Steve and Javier resigned from the BAFA board. This was the final year for Arts Dialogue as a 4 monthly magazine. BAFA no longer collects subscriptions (except in exceptional circumstances).

2003: The Spanish version of this website was launched. Margie Díaz Mesén translated this for as her dissertation for a translation degree and Sonja did the design. She continues to translate articles to expand the site. Contact her if you can help with translation from English into Spanish.

2004: Margie joined the BAFA boad and Alison resigned from the board.

2003 - 6: Sonja and others worked on the book published by Kalimat Press and material is continually added to this website. There is no charge to any artist for being on the website. So far we are using our reserves to pay for any costs.

In 2002 we had about 200 subscribers to Arts Dialogue, based in about 45 countries. There are lots of ways that we could do things better but... we just a handful of individuals doing this in our spare time. However we do have an extremely wide range of people who participate and about 40 percent of these live in non-western countries. Currently you can only order past issues of Arts Dialogue (November 2002 was the final issue). If you wish to make a donation, then contact Kathleen or Anneke.

There is no charge for anyone being on this website and all work done is voluntarily, however it does cost money to have this space. Any donations for this are welcome.

 Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.
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