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Public policies and support schemes

The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for strategic development in the cultural sector. The Ministry creates overall conditions for culture and participation in culture, drafts cultural legislation, and prepares relevant budget proposals.

As part of the government, the Ministry develops cultural policy and administers international cooperation in the field. Matters relating to the promotion of arts and culture come under the Department for Cultural, Sport and Youth Policy.

The Arts Promotion Centre Finland is an expert agency under the Ministry of Education and Culture. Its task is to promote the arts on both the national and international levels, as well as to promote aspects of culture.

The Central Arts Council serves as an advisory body to the Ministry of Education and Culture in policy-making regarding the arts.

The national arts councils make decisions regarding the awarding of state artist grants, as well as other grants and awards for artists, artist groups and organisations. The Central Arts Council decides the number of national arts councils, their names and their roles. For regional development, there are regional arts councils.

The cultural sector at the Ministry of Education and Culture comprises national cultural and art institutions, such as:
- publicly subsidised museums, theatres and orchestras
- local cultural services
- subsidised associations
- other organisational and civic activity in arts and culture
- cultural exportation

The government steers the implementation of cultural policy by means of legislation, the government programme and other policy instruments. Therefore most policy areas for the Ministry are arts and artists, cultural heritage, libraries, cultural exportation, copyright and audiovisual culture. In addition, cultural policy addresses the implementation of integrated themes that cross sectorial boundaries, such as architecture, creativity and innovation, regional development, children and young people, health and wellbeing, immigration and the promotion of multiculturalism.

The major role in financing the arts and culture in Finland is played by municipalities and the state. The main policy domains financed by these two levels of government are:
- artistic creation (arts education, support to artistic work)
- cultural and art institutions (most importantly libraries, theatres, orchestras and museums)
- maintenance of cultural heritage

In the 2015 government budget, the total funding for culture was EUR 463 million. State funding for culture is mostly the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Most of the allocations to culture in the administrative section of the Ministry are directed at national art culture institutions and municipalities as statutory and discretionary state subsidies. A substantial part of the financial support granted by the Ministry for culture comes from the proceeds of Veikkaus, the Finnish national lottery.

Creativity is promoted by means of an artist grant scheme, which includes grants awarded by the arts councils and copyright remunerations distributed by copyright organisations. Discretionary grants are allocated for art promotion through associations representing different art forms, art and cultural centres, and art information centres.

The role of private foundations is getting more important in financing the arts and culture sector. Foundations like The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Kone foundation, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and The Alfred Kordelin Foundation award grants for individuals or groups to support artistic work and projects.

In addition, funding for culture is received from European Union and Nordic funds and programmes.

Minna Sirnö

"Circus as an independent art form is quite a new concept in state legislation and budgeting, even though there has previously been state support for circus under the category of dance. Due to its short history as an independent art form there’s still a huge lack of permanent structures, of infrastructure, and of support for touring within Finland. Again because of its short history as an independent art form, state support and grants for circus are not yet as high as they might be when compared to other performing arts that have a longer history of state support. And unfortunately in Finland it’s not yet possible to get an academic education in circus art. Another important challenge is to create permanent structures and long-term (3-5 year) funding for the circus arts."

Photo: Arts Promotion Centre Finland