World spends to protect culture from economic ruin

Republished by ECBN from: The Guardian

Cultural recovery programmes amounting to billions of dollars have been established across the globe to shore up theatres, festivals and other arts institutions against economic ruin. Although some advocates believe the arts industry can be rejuvenated by interventions in a post-pandemic world, others say they will not prevent a devastating mass exodus. When Italians warmed the hearts of people around the world with spontaneous musical performances from their balconies in the days after lockdown was imposed, they served to reinforce just how important the cultural sector is in Italy, contributing both to people’s wellbeing and the economy. “Music represented a way to overcome the fear, difficulty and solitude,” said Domenico Barbuto, the director general of AGIS, an association that represents companies in the Italian entertainment sector. “But it was also about recalling just how vibrant this country is at a cultural level”. The German government has responded by pledging €1bn – around half its usual annual culture budget – to a fund supporting theatres, museums and other organisations to “open their doors again as soon as possible after the forced break”, according to the culture minister Monika Grütters. Securing Germany’s cultural infrastructure “is the key to creating work opportunities for artists and creative heads throughout the country” she added.

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Header image: A street jazz musician performs in Piazza Carignano, Turin, Italy last week. Photograph: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images. Source: The guardian.