Gatz warns arts organisations to rely less on subsidies


Flemish culture minister Sven Gatz presented his culture policy yesterday in parliament, saying that institutions should rely less on subsidies and that they should look to the private sector for collaborations

“Work together”

Arts organisations in Flanders are going to have to rely less on subsidies in the future, according to culture minister Sven Gatz. “The role of culture policy has to involve more than just doling out subsidies,” he said.

The culture minister (pictured) set out his vision for the arts yesterday in the Flemish Parliament, saying that he wants to strengthen cultural organisations across Flanders, particularly those at the top and the bottom.

Gatz called on major institutions to work together, including the theatre companies Toneelhuis in Antwerp, KVS in Brussels and NTGent in Ghent, as well as the Flemish orchestras deFilharmonie, Brussels Philharmonic and Opera Vlaanderen. The 36 subsidised cultural publications were also asked to collaborate more efficiently, and all institutions were told to look to the private sector for partnerships. “Via partner projects, art can optimise and improve its role as a catalyst in other domains,” he said.

The minister announced a new form of interest-free loans for artists that would have to be repaid over the course of their careers. The government would also buy contemporary art by young artists while their works were still relatively affordable.

As well as supporting established cultural organisations, Gatz also wants to promote more small-scale niche areas such as world music, non-fiction books, children’s theatre and documentaries, he told parliament. In an attempt to gain a global audience for Flemish culture, the minister is introducing a one-off payment to promising artists to help them gain a foothold in the international art world.

Gatz also said that he plans to use Ghent’s opera house on the Kouter square for a broad range of activities, such as contemporary dance and musicals, rather than just opera. He also issued a warning to Kunsthuis, which represents the opera and Royal Ballet, that it had to put on a minimum number of performances or face sanctions.
Photo courtesy VRT