New arts decree will help to “develop talent”

Summary

Flemish culture minister Joke Schauvliege presented the new Arts decree, which makes it easier for major organisations to plan long-term funding

Disciplines are no longer separated

The Flemish Parliament has approved a new Kunstendecreet (Arts Decree) to modernise the way the arts are supported in Flanders. The new measure was introduced by culture minister Joke Schauvliege following widespread criticism of flaws in the current arts decree, approved in 2004. “This new Kunstendecreet paves the way for a multidisciplinary approach, breaks down the barriers between the different disciplines and focuses on the characteristics of artists and organisations,” Schauvliege said.

The new decree – the result of several months of discussions – calls for the minister to set out a strategic vision for the arts at the start of each new government term. It also includes new measures that will help Flemish artists break through internationally and become more actively involved in the creative economy. Schauvliege’s decree makes a clean break with the old arts funding system in which disciplines like dance, theatre and visual arts were considered separately. Her new approach classifies artists and organisations into five categories – development, production, presentation, participation and reflection. 

The subsidies will no longer be based on fixed committees of experts from each discipline but on a pool of experts from the five new categories, who will be asked for advice on an ad hoc basis. The subsidies will also be granted for longer periods – five years instead of the existing two-year or four-year grants.

One of the aims of the new decree is to give the major Flemish arts organisations a more secure financial basis. Organisations such as deSingel and Vlaamse Opera will still have to submit a plan every five years, but they will no longer have to worry every year about whether their grant will be cut.

Schauvliege said that these measures will “guarantee that our artists and art organisations can develop their talents more than ever, both at home and abroad”.

The Flemish Parliament has approved a new Kunstendecreet (Arts Decree) to modernise the way the arts are supported in Flanders.

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