Spain/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.1 Overview of strategies, programmes and direct or indirect forms of support

The visual arts have traditionally been one of the main recipients of specific measures to support creativity. Resources are available for exhibitions and for the acquisition of artworks through funds made available to public museums. Regional and local authorities celebrate competitions and provide prize money, sometimes retaining the ownership of the winning entries (see also chapter 5.3.1). The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, also develops various programmes designed to promote contemporary Spanish artists and their artworks worldwide (see also chapter 3.4). They provide, for example, support for up-and-coming artists to participate in major international biennials. More recently, within the framework of the General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the State Secretary for Culture, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, through the Sub Directorate-General for the Promotion of Fine Arts, has launched several projects to promote and disseminate the work of emerging Spanish artists, such as the "on-line" platform Oral Memories, the contest "on-line" of architecture Transitarte, the exhibition programme "A 3 bandas" or the projects "Café Dossier", "Open Studio", or "Arttextum-Network of Contemporary Art". Moreover, in 2014, the Ministry launched the Virtual Office of the Artist with the aim of fostering conditions that facilitate creative activity, improving the training of their agents, and promoting the dissemination of their work, both nationally and internationally.

There are also subsidies for symphony orchestras and for the performing arts, for both national and overseas tours, distributed by the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM). Aids to this sector, traditionally addressed to theatre, have spread to dance (through the programmes Dance Tour on Stage and Theatre and Dance Circuit by the Network of Alternative Theatres) and, more recently, to circus and the popular music sector. With the project GPS - Turn by Halls, the INAEM aims to give artists (about 50 emerging artists in popular music) access to a concert tour (about 200) beyond their Autonomous Community. This programme, organised by the INAEM, together with the most representative entities of the sector, seeks to improve their level of professionalism and encourage the field of live music. In 2011, the Ministry of Culture launched new funding mechanisms in support of theatre and circus programming and cultural communication. It was mainly aimed at facilitating new creation, the mobility of artists and cultural operators, and the state character of projects. In 2014, the INAEM, in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, launched the first edition of the "Platea" programme. This is the state programme for the circulation of performing arts events in spaces owned by local entities. In its first edition the programme attracted around 190.090 people, the participation of 173 local venues, and a catalogue of 435 performances. According to the Ministry, the programme contributed to the professionalisation of the management of local venues, and has brought quality and stable programmes to local spaces all around Spain. It has been renewed for the year 2015 (see also chapter 4.2.1).

Beyond the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, other central government institution which plays a significant role in providing support to emerging visual artists and creative workers is the Youth Institute, which reports to the current Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. The Institute holds a number of annual exhibitions and administers international tours, festivals and programmes with travel and work grants. There are various subsidies available from other government departments such as the Directorate-General for Fine Arts and Cultural Assets and for Archives and Libraries (Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport), the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation and Development (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation), and the Carolina Foundation, among others.

At the regional and local levels, support for artists comes from the culture departments of regional governments, provincial assemblies and town councils. In the bilingual regions, support for artists is seen as an integral part of promoting the regional language. The cultural programmes of these Autonomous Communities are frequently based on generic policies for encouraging local culture industries. One-off events, such as the European Cultural Capital in Salamanca 2002, the "Design Year" 2003 in Catalonia, the Universal Forum of Cultures 2004 in Barcelona, and the commemoration of the Quixote Year 2005 in the Castile-La Mancha community, along with the VI Century of the Second Part of the Quixote in 2015, do much in the way of promoting and disseminating local creativity.

As for the training of professionals in the cultural sector by public administrations, the Andalusian community has created a public school of cultural formation aimed at training in the performing arts and techniques, as well as in cultural management. For its part, the Catalan community has the Business Development Service aimed at the managerial training of cultural companies.


Chapter published: 24-06-2015


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