Chile/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

The National Council for Culture and the Arts is the primary public institution dedicated to the formulation and implementation of cultural policies in Chile. Law No. 19.891 of 2003 defines it as an autonomous public service, de-centralised and territorially de-concentrated, with its own legal identity and unique heritage, which is answerable directly to the President of the Republic. However, even if this is an autonomous service, all the administrative acts of the Council that demand by law the intervention of a minister are accomplished through the Ministry of Education.

The legislative framework established the following objectives for the National Council for Culture and the Arts: 

1)       To support the development of the arts and dissemination of culture.

2)       To contribute to the preservation, the increase and the accessibility of cultural heritage to the nation.

3)       To promote the participation of all peoples in the cultural life of the country.

These objectives are addressed through the following functions of the Committee:

1)         To study, adopt and execute, evaluate and renew cultural policies, as well as plans and programmes of the same nature so as to comply with the objectives of supporting the development of culture, disseminating the cultural heritage of the nation and promoting the participation of individuals in the cultural life of the country.

2) To undertake and promote the execution of studies and investigations into the cultural and artistic activities of the country, as well as its cultural heritage. 

3)         To support cultural participation and artistic creation and dissemination both at an individual level, in terms of the organisations made up of such individuals, and at a national group level, with the aim of creating a space for expression within the neighbourhood, the community, the city, the region and the country according to the initiatives and preferences of those individuals living there.

4)         To facilitate access to cultural events and artistic commodities, access to the cultural heritage of the country and the use of technologies that deal with production, reproduction and dissemination of cultural commodities. 

5)         To establish a permanent link with the formal education system at all levels, coordinating with the Ministry of Education, with the aim of giving sufficient expression to the cultural and artistic components on the curriculum, in pedagogy, in teacher training, and educational establishments.

6)         To encourage the development of cultural management skills at international, national, regional and local levels.

7)         To drive the construction, expansion and adaptation of infrastructure and equipment for the development of cultural, artistic and heritage-associated activities in the country, and to promote the capacity of the associated management of that infrastructure.

8)         To propose measures for the development of cultural industries and the placement of its commodities both in the national and international market places.

9)         To establish links of coordination and collaboration with other public bodies which, while maybe not part of the National Council nor directly related to it, are nevertheless involved in activities in the cultural sphere.

10)       The develop the cooperation and technical consultancy and dialogue with corporations, foundations and other private organisations whose objectives are related to those of the National Council, establishing relationships with them for the execution of projects of activities in the interests of both parties.

11)       To design cultural policies that are to be implemented at an international level exploring, establishing and developing international links and relationships in the cultural sphere, all of which should be coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

12)       To develop and operate a public national and regional system of information sharing concerning culture.

13)       To administer the National Fund for the Development of Culture and the Arts.

14)       To administer the National Fund for Books and the Development of Reading. 

15)       To ensure that the actions, agreements and obligations of the Qualifying Committee for Private Donations are adhered to.

16)       To bring to the attention of the Ministry of the Interior and the government tax system buildings of value for national heritage.

17)       To coordinate the management of the libraries, archives and museums, as well as the Council of National Monuments.

The National Council for Culture and the Arts is made up of nine single-member and multiple-member bodies, coordinated and lead by the National Committee which is in turn lead by the President of the Committee, who has the status of a minister of state and acts as supreme head of the service. Additionally, the committee has a National Sub-director, a National Advisory Board and Three Sectorial Councils. At a territorial level the National Council has fifteen Regional Councils and their respective Regional Advisory Boards.

Those various bodies will now be described in greater detail:

The single-member bodies:

1.         Minister – president of the Committee: The President of the Committee has the rank of a minister of state and is the supreme head of the service. This individual is responsible for the proposal of the Committee Work Plan and for ensuring that the instructions and rulings of the Committee are implemented. This individual is designated by the President of the Republic and answers directly to them during their tenure.

2.         National Sub-director: The National Sub-director supervises and manages the administrative activities of the National Council for Culture and the Arts on the basis of the objectives and policies defined by the Committee and the instruction of the President of the Committee.

Multiple-member bodies: 

3.         National Committee: The high-level management of the Council is made up of a committee whose functions have an exclusive, decisive and executive nature. Among its function is the approbation of the work plan of the Council, proposing projects of administrative law, resolving the distribution of competitively administered funds, and designating the individuals who will make up the specialist commissions and juries that judge the application process for public funds. It is made up of eleven members, whose characteristics are as follows:

a.         President of the Council, with the status of minister of state, and the supreme authority in the service.

b.         Minister of Education.

c.         Minister of Foreign Affairs.

d.         Three individuals with outstanding curriculum in the field of art and culture. Designated by the President of the Republic they are put forward by cultural organisations across the country that have a legal identity.

e.         Two individuals with a recognised trajectory in the field of art and culture with the same characteristics as the aforementioned, designated by a similar process and with approval of the senate.

f.          Two academics from the field of artistic creation, from heritage or from cultural management, one designated by the Committee of the rectors of the Chilean Universities and the other by the Rectors of the autonomous private universities.

g.         An individual who has received the National Prize, chosen by others who have received the same honour.

4.         National Advisory Committee: The National Advisory Committee is a body that has as its mission the responsibility of advising the National Committee in matters that this latter institutions should decide to consult it about, such as questions of cultural policy, the Annual Work Plan etc. This committee is made up ad honorem and has no decision-making functions. In this way it can suggest, propose, out forward ideas, among other roles, if required to do so by the Committee or by the President. It is made up of individuals designated by the National Committee chosen from institutions linked to different areas of cultural and social duties.

5.         Sectorial Councils: These are bodies that depend on the Committee, formed and regulated by specific laws, to whom it falls to assign financing from the competitive funds relevant to the area of culture that they are deal with, as well as advising the Minister in the development of their areas of expertise. Each body has an Executive Secretary and is presided over by the Minister President of the CNCA.

a.         Council of the Development of National Music, created by Law No. 19.928 in 2004, this body is in charge of supporting, stimulating, promoting and disseminating the work of the authors, composers, interpretative artists, performers, compilers, investigators and producers of Chilean music records, as well as the developers of the national musical heritage, with the aim of preserving and developing national cultural identity. It administers the Fund for the Development of National Music, which annually administrates the applications for public funding, chosen by judges and evaluators with a trajectory in the discipline.

b.         National Council for Books and the Development of Reading: formed and regulated bydecree by Law No. 19.227 in 1993. Its objective is to endorse and promote projects, programmes and activities that support the creation of literature, the development of reading, the publishing industry, the dissemination of literary activity, and the improvement and increase of public libraries. The Council for Books also has the scope to train creators and stimulate activities through scholarships, internships and prizes. It is responsible for the administration of the National Fund for Books and the Development of Reading, primary instrument of support in the field of literature, reading and the publishing industry.

c.         National Council of Art and the Audio-visual Industry: established through Law No. 19.981 in 2004. Its aim is to develop, encourage, disseminate, protect and preserve national audio-visual works and works from the audio-visual industry, as well as directing the investigation and development of new audio-visual languages. This council administers the Fund for the Development of the Audio-visual which finances projects, programmes, activities and actions of development within the sphere of the national audio-visual activities.

6.         Regional Councils for Culture and the Arts: The regional Councils are ad honorem bodies that represent the territorial de-concentration of the National Committee. They are present in all fifteen regions of the country and among their responsibilities are the design and implementation of the cultural policies in the regional and inter-regional area; the annual approbation of the regional Work Plan; to ensure the coordination and cooperation between diverse regional institutions in the private and public sector; to establish permanent links to the municipalities, organisations and cultural institutions in the region; to assign funds from the National Council for the Development of Culture and the Arts. They are made up of seven members:

a.         The Regional Director.

b.         The Regional secretary from the Ministry of Education.

c.         An individual representing cultural activities in the community.

d.         Four individuals from the regions involved in culture, designated by the National Committee.

7.         Regional Advisory Committees: These are ad honorem bodies that are dedicated to advising the Regional Council in all matters relating to cultural policy, the annual work plan, making suggestions, observations and assertions on matters that the Director or the Regional Council consults them on. The Regional Advisory Committees exist in the fifteen regions of the country and are made up of seven members, who undertake their functions for a period of two years. The members of the Regional Advisory Committees are designated by the Regional Council based on proposals made by cultural organisations and institutions with valid legal identity domiciled in the region.


Chapter published: 28-12-2013


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