The Artists’ United Front of Thailand agreed to push for the building of a contemporary art centre for its 20th anniversary celebration, collaborating with other groups to develop the idea.
The beginning of the ‘Art in the Reign of King Rama IX’ Project, including the idea of building a Contemporary Art Centre.
The Golden Jubilee Art Exhibition Committee had a meeting with Dr. Bhichit Rattakul, the Governor of Bangkok, and presented the idea of building a contemporary art centre. The meeting resolved to build the ‘Bangkok Contemporary Art Centre’ to celebrate His Majesty the King Bhumipol Adulyadej, patron of all the arts.
The ‘Rama IX Art Museum Foundation’ was established to advocate for the Bangkok Contemporary Art Centre project, while looking for a specific organization to take on the responsibility for its building. At the same time preparation was made for the exhibition ‘Art in the Reign of King Rama IX’.
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn represented His Majesty the King in presiding over the official opening ceremony of the ‘Art in the Reign of King Rama IX’ exhibition on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. The exhibition was held between 30 December 1996 and 8 January 1997. His Majesty the King lent 31 of his own paintings to the exhibition, along with more than 1,100 works by other artists. After the event, 108 works were donated to the Foundation.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn represented His Majesty the King in presiding over the ‘Jazz in the Park’ concert for the Rama IX Contemporary Art Centre Project at Saranrom Park. After the concert, the committee presented the proceeds of 4,145,817.50 Baht to the Princess. This sum was later returned toward establishing the Bangkok Art and Culture Foundation.
The ‘Bangkok Art and Culture Foundation’ was established, with Kraisak Choonhavan as secretary, to gather support for the construction of the ‘Golden Jubilee Celebration Bangkok Contemporary Art Centre’.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration under Governor Dr. Bhichit Rattakul set up a committee to establish guidelines for an architectural design competition for the art centre, along with a committee to oversee the procedures and criteria for the competition.
Robert G. Boughey and Associates Co., Ltd. won the competition and was asked to further develop the drawings for construction.
Dr. Bhichit Rattakul laid the foundations to begin the construction of the art centre at Pathumwan Junction. The event included an exhibition of the contestants’ designs.
A new Bangkok governor was elected.
The new governor changed the project of the contemporary art centre to a commercial building with private investment for 30 years. The plan was to establish a shopping centre, and the art centre was to become a minor part of the building. The decision totally changed the concept and philosophy of the original design.
The Council of Fine and Applied Arts Deans of Thailand, headed by Prof. Preecha Thaothong, submitted a petition against the cancellation of the original plan and requested an explanation from the Governor.
The Council of Fine and Applied Arts Deans of Thailand held an official meeting at parliament to gather allies who also disagreed with the cancellation.
A group of artists, led by Vasan Sitthiket and Pratuang Emjaroen, organised the ‘Give Back our Art Centre’ campaign by assembling in front of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Office and calling on the Governor to reinstate the project.
The first meeting of the artists at the foundations location, Pathumwan junction. The ‘Artists’ Network for Bangkok Contemporary Art Centre’ was formed to run the campaign to reinstate the original project for the contemporary art centre.
The Council of Fine and Applied Arts Deans of Thailand, with the National Artists, Artists of Distinction, independent artists, art lecturers, art scholars, performers, singers, art students, and art lovers, held a public forum opposing the cancellation of the art centre at the Silpa Bhirasri Monument Square, Faculty of Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University.
The Council of Fine and Applied Arts Deans of Thailand, with the Thai National Committee of the International Association of Art, National Artists, Artists of Distinction, independent artists, executives of art schools, members of the press and art students, issued a statement requesting the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to review the plan and explain the reasons for the changes at the Faculty of Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University.
The president of the Council of Fine and Applied Arts Deans of Thailand, Prof. Preecha Thaothong, presented a petition to Privy Councillor General Prem Tinsulanonda, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior, the Deputy Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Education, the Minister of the University Bureau, the President of Parliament, the president of the Bangkok Metropolitan Council, the President of the Art and the Culture Commission, and the Democrat Party leader.
Over 100 paintings were exhibited at Fortune Hotel. Fifteen works were sold by auction for more than 600,000 Baht. The proceeds were handed to the campaign by the Artists’ Network.
The art exhibition ‘I call for an Art Centre, Not a Shopping Centre’ at the Art Centre Foundations location, Pathumwan Junction, was held and a plan for the longest painting in the world was announced.
Rallies for the campaign ‘I call for an Art Centre, Not a Shopping centre’ were held in many places including university campuses in Bangkok and elsewhere.
Prof. Preecha Thaothong, musician Nga Caravan, and the Artists’ Network presented a letter to the secretary of the Prime Minister requesting a public hearing on the art centre.
The Senate Committee on Public Participation, agreed to hold a public hearing on the Art Centre.
About 100 members of the Artists’ Network and other volunteers held the longest artwork parade, starting from the Pathumwan Junction and ending at the Bangkok City Hall. Each in the parade carried a set of five paintings stitched together, and jointly they stretched to four kilometres. The rest of the works were taken by three pick-up trucks to the City Hall. About 4,000 paintings were laid in front of the City Hall for an hour, and a message was posted at the entrance.
150 works selected from the 4,000 were exhibited and sold at the Tadu Contemporary Art Gallery to raise funds for the campaign. Fifteen works were selected to be sold by auction.
The project to build the new shopping centre was cancelled after the Administrative Court of Thailand agreed to the hearing of case no.636/45 presented by Prof. Preecha Thaothong, Jon Ungpakorn, Jumpol Apisuk, Warin Tiamcharat, and nine others, for the public hearing on the art centre.
During the governor election, the Artists’ Network held a meeting to expand collaboration with the general public and various cultural organizations. The meeting agreed to found the ‘People’s Network for the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre’
The first press conference of the People’s network was held at the Jim Thomson House, to begin the campaign giving the public and prospective candidates for Bangkok Governor information about the importance of the art centre.
The People’s Network for the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre organized the ‘Art Vote’ rally at the Pathumwan Junction art centre building location, which had then become a public park. The event aimed to collect 50,000 signatures, to back a petition to present to the new governor of Bangkok. The Network organized a cultural programme, and volunteers set ‘ballot booths’ at various university campuses in Bangkok to give many more people to join the campaign. The Network met with prospective governor candidates to push the idea of the art centre as a policy plank for the new administration.
Counting of the public votes. One of the voters was the candidate Mr. Apirak Kosayodhin.
Mr.Apirak Kosayodhin was declared the Bangkok Governor. The People’s Network for the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre presented the project of the art centre to the new governor, and it was approved.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, led by Governor Apirak Kosayodhin, set up the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Organizing Committee, with the governor as chairperson and three subcommittees to oversee the project. The committees were:
1. Construction Subcommittee – Emeritus Prof. Dr. Trungjai Buranasomphop, chairperson
2. Management Policy Planning Subcommittee – Chatvichai Promadhattavedi, chairperson
3. Network and People Participation Subcommittee –Prof. Preecha Thaothong, chairperson
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Administration Committee agreed to follow the original design by Robert G.Boughey and Associates Co., Ltd.
The project was expected to be completed by December 2006 to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King.
Bangkok Council approved a 509 million Baht budget for construction.
A joint meeting of the government (BMA) and the public (representatives of public and private art organizations, artists, students, youth, and the press) was held to deliberate the draft of the Declaration of Cooperation in the Fields of Art and Culture.
the ‘Declaration of Cooperation in the Fields of Art and Culture by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and alliances in the Fields of Art and Culture’ was signed at Benjasiri Park.
The ‘Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Foundation’ was instituted.
The contract was signed with Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Public Co. Ltd to build the BACC, with the projected time of construction of 570 days.
Press event to update the progress of the building of the BACC by Mr. Apirak Kosayodhin, Bangkok Governor, on the BTS walkway, National Stadium Station.
Bangkok organized the Art exhibit “Add Art to Life…Create Artists for Bangkok” at the Siam Paragon shopping centre to announce the construction of the BACC.
Completed the registration to establish the BACC Foundation, with the Governor as the chairperson of the Foundation.
Bangkok organized the Soft Launch in front of the as yet to be completed BACC building to announce the progress of the BACC project.
The BMA organized the art camp “Let’s Grow Together” at the Central World shopping centre to promote the BACC project.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre was completed after four years of construction.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre was opened to the public.
Official opening of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.