Budgeting More Money For Culture, Despite Covid. You Can Probably Guess Where

Last week Artnet reported that Germany’s 2021 draft budget held an increase in funding for cultural organizations in the country.

You may recall that I made a post in May that clarified German cultural organizations didn’t receive $54 billion in aid as had widely been reported.

German arts administrator Rainer Glaap had brought the misunderstanding to my attention and provided links to stories that explained that the money was spread across a wide swath of industries and that since each German state had their own programs and interpretations of how funding was to be used benefits to cultural entities varied wildly with freelance artists often receiving short shrift.

The most recent story seems to be more specifically focused on funding for cultural entities since the budget numbers cited are $2.26 billion and it quotes the German culture minister

Culture minister Monika Grütters says that such a strong budget for the final year before the German elections underscores the country’s commitment to culture, especially on top of its existing billion-dollar coronavirus rescue program.

“Especially in times of crisis, culture is the foundation of our social cohesion,” Grütters says in a statement. “Art, culture, and the media make us aware time and again of our great privilege to live in a country of freedom of the press, culture, and opinion, where controversial debates are possible, desired, and endurable. The protection of these freedoms remains the highest principle of federal cultural policy.”

The German government’s cultural budget has grown by about 60 percent since Grütters took office in 2013, and 85 percent since the German chancellor Angela Merkel came to power in 2005.

The story doesn’t really get into whether the different states were taking steps to make sure freelancers and small business groups were better able to access funding or other supports than previously.


While the erroneous $54 billion amount had caused no shortage of envy among arts and cultural professions last Spring,  I wanted to point out prioritizing culture is not an outlier. Not only has improving funding for cultural organizations been a priority this year, it has been a priority for over a decade. It should be noted, this budget has to be approved by the German Senate before it is put in effect.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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