State funding of artists needs a rethink, opposition says

Two governmental bodies dole out millions of kroner a year to support artists, including lifelong support for some

May 23rd, 2012 2:33 pm| by admin

The Danish system of providing funding for artists has recently come under fire in parliament, Politiken newspaper reports.

Venstre (V) and Danske Folkeparti (DF) want parliament to re-assess a system in which two independent bodies, the Statens Kunstfond and the Statens Kunstråd, dole out money to Danish artists, and have criticised the distribution of funds to wealthy artists.

Statens Kunstfond has 95.3 million kroner at its disposal for 2012, while Statens Kunstråd supported artistic projects in 2011 to the tune of 400 million kroner. There are 275 artists who receive livelong financial support from the Kunstfond, which costs the state 27 million kroner a year.
While V recommends that a time limit be established for how long artists may receive funding and wants to institute a minimum number of pieces that must be produced in order to receive the money, DF would prefer to eradicate the system altogether.

“We want to take the money from the rich artists, so there will be more for those that don’t earn all that much on their art or work in a field in which there isn’t much money,” V’s cultural spokesperson Michael Aastrup Jensen told Politiken.

Both parties agreed that in place of funding, high-earning artists should receive honorary recognition for their work.

Socialdemokraterne (S) didn’t reject the opposition’s suggestions out of hand, but remained wary of efforts to cut funding for artists with high incomes. Party spokesperson Flemming Mortensen said that instead the state should address the imbalance between the support provided to visual artists and writers and the support provided to artists working in other mediums like architecture.

Also under discussion is the current structure, in which two separate governmental bodies provide funding to sustain artists. V and DF are in favour of a proposal to merge the Statens Kunstfond and Statens Kunstråd under a single director, while S favours a simplified version of the current, two-body model.

The culture minister, Uffe Elbæk (Radikale), had no comment to Politiken.

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