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The cultural sector calls on the Flemish government to increase the budget for the arts

The cultural sector calls on the Flemish government to increase the budget for the arts

Under the hashtags #imaginationworks, #hetisnogniettelaat and #ambitieuzerdandit, artists and cultural workers are asking for an arts budget increase from 0.27 to 0.35% of the Flemish budget.

With this additional budget, transferred €38 million annually, the technical organizations that have now received “positive off-budget” advice can be discovered with their application for Flemish subsidies for the period 2023-2027. This includes large, accredited cultural organizations such as the Kaaitheater in Brussels, the Nona Center for the Arts in Mechelen and the Kopergietery Youth Theater in Ghent. If their operational resources disappear within the arts decree, many of these organizations are in danger of disappearing. The same applies to large institutes that have received negative advice from committees, such as Toneelhuis in Antwerp and Z33 in Hasselt and companies such as Needcompany and Ictus.

“Art imagines, expands, amuses, energizes, astonishes, unleashes, moves, delights, nourishes, meets, connects, and strengthens,” thus opens the statement entitled “Works of Imagination.” The text has since been signed by more than 1,400 artists and cultural workers, including actress Clara Clemens, musician Frederic Sewen and NTGent director Milo Rao. They are calling on Culture Minister Jean Gambon (N-VA) to increase the arts’ total annual budget for structural subsidies, which is now around €154 million, by at least €38 million.

If not, the international reputation of Flemish arts is in danger of being lost, according to the two signers, and the art scene will deteriorate. “In this scenario, one in four existing technical organizations will disappear and long-term investments by the entire sector and the Flemish government will be nullified,” the statement read. “Not updating playback resources means turning back the clock.”

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Jambon has until the end of June to decide on the subsidies provided under the arts ordinance. With their manifesto of the same title, the letter writers called on Jambon “to put into practice the Flemish government’s motto ‘Imagination Works’.”