‘Art Center’, not just a stage for art performances
The Werdhi Budaya Art Center, locally known as Taman Budaya (cultural park) located on Jl. Nusa Indah, Denpasar, has for the past 34 years served as the main venue for the Bali Arts Festival (PKB), which opens on June 10.
The compound was the brainchild of the former governor of Bali, the late Ida Bagus Mantra, who in 1973 envisioned an art center as the hub for Balinese artists to preserve and develop their art forms and cultural heritage.
In 1978 the PKB was inaugurated and continues to be staged annually until today, now in its 34th year.
“To be able to perform at Taman Budaya is a proud moment for every Balinese from any of the regencies on the island,” said Taman Budaya operational unit head Ketut Mantara Gandi.
Nonetheless, the art center caters for more than arts performances during the month-long festival, as it also welcomes local and foreign visitors on a daily basis from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The entrance fee for locals is Rp 5,000 (US 5 cents) and for foreigners Rp 10,000.
In the 5-hectare cultural park, visitors can find various examples of Balinese architecture, including Taman Beji temple, the Widya Kusuma library for Balinese history, the Mahudara Mandara Giri exhibition building, the Kriya fine arts exhibition building, Wisma Seni boarding facility, the open hall wantilan, the Ardha Candra amphitheater and the Ksinarnawa closed stage.
“Foreign visitors love to take pictures at the Ardha Candra open stage, as well as at the Mahudara Mandara Giri exhibition building,” Gandi said, adding that many visitors also come to do pre-wedding photography shoots in the fountain gardens of Taman Beji temple. Besides serving as the main venue for PKB and a daily attraction for tourists, it is also home for many local youngsters who come to study the performing arts of dance and theater. Gandi said locals can use the place for arts classes free-of-charge until 7 p.m, while for pre-wedding photo shoots, the happy couple-to-be usually pay a voluntary contribution to the staff.
— Photos by Peni Widarti