The Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture has decided that it will not be sending a CNMI delegation to the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands this July.

Executive director Angel S. Hocog said yesterday that the Arts Council made its final decision after several meetings with a number of registered visual and performing artists who expressed interest in participating in the festival.

Hocog disclosed that a major factor in their decision is the lack of funds to send even at least a few registered artists from the CNMI.

"It is unfortunate that the CNMI will not have a delegation to the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts. The government does not have enough funding to shoulder the expenses for the artists' airfares," he told Saipan Tribune.

Although Solomon Islands will finance the accommodations for the CNMI delegates, Hocog noted that the Council could not find a local sponsor for the delegates' airline tickets.

Each delegate would need about $3,000 for airfare.

Under the new Chairmanship of Doreen Kuper the Solomon Islands Arts Festival is now working overtime to meet critical deadlines.

"The new committee has strong support from the government and is confident that all venues and accommodation will be ready on time," said one of the new committee members.

Established by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in 1972, the Festival of Pacific Arts is hosted by a different country in Oceania every four years to stem erosion of traditional cultural practices by sharing and exchanging cultures.

This year's theme is "Culture in Harmony with Nature."