Lahore Chitrkar in Financial Trouble

The Lahore Chitrkar is one of the most active art organizations in Lahore. They arrange classical music concerts, lectures, baithaks etc., and provide courses in various arts. They’re housed in a bright yellow building behind Coffee, Tea & Co. I just received a disturbing email from them it’s reproduced below:

Dear All,

We are experiencing great financial difficulties in managing the premises which houses Lahore Chitrkar. The situation has come to a point where we are seriously thinking of closing down the premises unless we can generate enough funds before January 2006 to pay minimum one year rent of the building (Rs.600,000 per annum). The local/visiting artists have been wonderful in performing/teaching for free but the classes can not generate enough funds to pay for the facility expenses. The average funds needed to sustain the present projects are about 20,000 Dollars or 12,00,000 Rupees . Kindly donate generously to help us sustain this valuable space for future artists. Financial support from sympathetic individuals and organization remains our only hope to sustain this initiative.

Lahore Chitrkar premises provide the much-needed space for practice, teaching and performance for the participating artists and students. The monthly classical music concerts are held regularly since 2001. The concerts provide an opportunity both for the classical vocalists and instrumentalists who have almost no platform for performance and the audience who rarely listen to live performances by the classical musicians. Lahore Chitrkar organized one hundred & fifteen (115) events during 2001- 2005.

Art workshops for school children both at our premises and at schools, film shows, painting exhibitions, readings and lecture/demonstration sessions are held regularly.

Presently, six art and music classes are taught by ten very well respected and senior teachers and forty-seven students both male and female are enrolled in various disciplines. Classes in Drawing and painting (portfolio course), classical Vocals (traditional Dhurpad and Khayal singing), Tabla (traditional percussion drums), Bansuri (traditional bamboo flute) and Sarangi (traditional bow & string instrument) were started in April 2001 and have continued to date. Acoustic Guitar class has recently been started with a volunteer instructor to attract younger people. It is hoped that they will also receive exposure to traditional music at the premises and develop interest in the same.The development and promotion of Arts has been an area of low priority for both the public and private sector in Pakistan. A veritable crisis is evident in the diminishing numbers of art practitioners and lack of quality education opportunities both in the performing and the visual arts, meanwhile, the onslaught of international media continues to marginalize and hurt the traditional arts. Immediate action by the concerned is required to sustain this valuable initiative for cultural/aesthetic education and development of the civil society.

Donations can be made by cheque or draft to,

Lahore Chitrkar, account # 3056-71, Habib bank ltd. Fortress stadium, Lahore, Pakistan.


A complete list of events, programs, organization and future projects can be viewed at

9 Comments so far

  1. Darwaish (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 12:42 am

    sad situation.. but isn’t govt supporting them or something? I thought govt is providing generous funding to Art Institutions. atleast they claim that? Someone was telling me the other day that APMC is also in crises ..after Hayat Ahmad Khan passed away?

  2. Muhammad Atif (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 1:08 am

    OMG! I miss those times spent in Chitrkar.The times we bunked university claseses to take the flute classes there ,the time i used to attend their classical intrumental concerts with entranced state of mind.I don’t think they get any external support.May God help them in these crises.
    ps: Chitrkar is in uppermall opposite to the Gymkhana!I am not sure if there is any Coffee tea & Co. outlet around it.

  3. MAHBOOB AHMAD (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 1:15 am

    i think chitrkar has shifted near honey bridge and ctc
    oh and maleeha r u a member or something?

  4. Yasir (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 6:34 am

    Sad news! Lahore Chitrkar is such a lovely place; I always loved to go there. And I really hope they would come out of these crisis before long. I hope.

  5. Leftistoe (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 8:33 am

    does anyone know if Pak Teahouse is still open on The Mall? They had some financial difficulties too few years ago … if its still open will someone post a pic please? thanks!:)

  6. maleeha (unregistered) on October 8th, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

    yeah, the place has shifted near coffee tea & company now.

    APMC was always in financial difficulties, and dear hayat sb told me once how he’d given lakhs of rupees out of his own pocket on several occasions just to make sure the annual festival could be held.

    No one cares about the arts. And that is not a whiny statement, it’s very true. We are ready to pay 500 rupees for a pop concert but expect all art events to be completely free.

  7. shahid mirza (unregistered) on October 25th, 2005 @ 1:06 am

    Thank you all for your concern. The arts are really low on priority list of both government and people. the state is propagating enlightened moderation but it is likes of Dr.amir liaqat (geo fame)and transformed junaid jamshed which they view as the soft image of pakistan. classical music, painting, all Arts liberate and teach independant thinking who would support it in a dictatorship. the five years we survived was only possible because the artists are always ready to perform, conduct workshops etc. for free. when it comes to investing in the arts or artists we need better schooling where we teach arts as an essential disipline. until than adios

  8. shahid mirza (unregistered) on October 25th, 2005 @ 1:08 am

    and yes in december 2004 we moved to the new premises. 41-B-111, Gulberg

  9. Andreas (unregistered) on October 28th, 2005 @ 12:46 am

    hope is not over – Chitrkar will be alive and I am sure that Mirza Sahib will continue with his important cultural work (with or without house)… I have not seen any other cultural center in Lahore that had such an open and friendly atmosphere!
    hasta luego

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