The Flemish government has announced it has €4 million to give out in the first round of subsidies for cultural projects, minister-president Jan Jambon said.
The sum for the first round of subsidies is greater than originally announced for the year’s two rounds. At the outset, the government had €3.4 million budget for the whole year.
The increased round of project subsidies will go some way to healing the damage caused by the announcement in November that structural subsidies would be cut across the board by 6%. Protests then included a mass choir singing outside the Flemish parliament (photo) in the centre of Brussels. Antwerp art academy gave students the day off to protest against the cuts.
The extra €600,000 means that 90% of those projects which received a positive evaluation from the culture committees will receive financing. However the project subsidies, which were applied for on the basis of a two-year duration, will only be financed for one year. Although nine out of ten get something, no-one gets what they asked for.
Project subsidies are seen as an essential tool in encouraging new young artists, whereas structural subsidies are of more importance to more established groups. The two are mutually exclusive: any group in receipt of a structural subsidy is not eligible to apply for a project subsidy.
The question now is whether a second round of project subsidies will come later in the year as originally planned. A spokesperson for Jambon – who is also culture minister – said there would not be a second round, as the €3.4 million earmarked has already been exceeded. However the government is leaving the door slightly open. According to the spokesperson for Jambon, “If at a budget review some more money can be found, a second round could later be started up.”