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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.