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Hesse strengthens arts and culture reboot

11.05.2020 | 18:25 Clock | Culture
Hesse strengthens arts and culture reboot

Support for festivals, grants for arts professionals and innovation fund for creative transition from the time of the pandemic

The state of Hesse is helping artists, festivals and cultural institutions to survive the restrictions caused by the Corona pandemic and to make a fresh start with a comprehensive support package. Festivals that have to cancel their events or move them to the digital space will receive support in coping with the loss of income. Freelance artists can receive work grants of 2,000 euros each. And with a programme for cultural institutions, venues and artists, the state is supporting the new start with innovative approaches. In total, the state is providing around 50 million euros in additional funding for this purpose. From 1 June, festivals and cultural workers insured in the Künstlersozialkasse can apply for funds.

Art and culture elementary part of life

Art and Culture Minister Angela Dorn explains: "For us, even and especially in the crisis: art and culture are not a luxury or icing on the cake in good times. Art and culture are an elementary part of our lives. They are indispensable for a diverse, open, creative society, for reflection on our world and as a form of human expression. It is precisely what defines the great value of art and culture that makes them particularly vulnerable in the pandemic: the direct exchange between people. Venues and event organizers had to shut down operations early on and will only be able to get back to full speed late on. We want to strengthen Hessen's diverse cultural landscape as an essential part of our coexistence in these difficult times. That is why we have put together a comprehensive support package, a clear commitment to the value of art and culture, especially in difficult times: We are helping creators of art to survive the period of restrictions, and we are focusing on the phase when Hessen's culture gradually reopens. I am very pleased that together with the Cultural Foundation we are able to implement a very special Hessian approach: It offers appropriate tools for the various phases of the crisis; it provides broad, fast and uncomplicated help; it makes innovative impulses from dealing with the pandemic fruitful; and it also involves the vibrant culture of patronage in Hessen."

Hardships cushioned with aid

."We have already gone to great lengths to cushion hardships for the arts with emergency economic aid for the solo self-employed and small businesses, as well as the association program," Dorn continued. "Unfortunately, the Grand Coalition in Berlin did not allow for compensation for living expenses for solo self-employed people in the emergency aid. I am aware that there is a gap here. We have now deliberately designed our work stipends so that they are independent of business expenses and also do not count towards the basic income support."

Collaboration with Hessian Cultural Foundation

."I am pleased about the important signal of the state government and Minister of State Dorn to support cultural workers in this time sustainable and with a view to the future," says Jutta Ebeling, Chairwoman of the Board of the Cultural Foundation. "The Hessische Kulturstiftung has been supporting artists in their work for more than 25 years, and with the distribution of the working scholarships we now want to facilitate quick and unbureaucratic assistance. We know the importance of international relations, exchange and the know-how that is conveyed with and in art. If new ways of thinking emerge from the present situation, which is tense for all of us, if new realities are conveyed or transitions are created, that is a worthwhile goal. But independent art is impossible without an economic base. Working grants for artists contribute to the important free space without which culture cannot thrive."

The components of "Hessen kulturell neu eröffnen":

First phase:help immediately. In addition to the already known emergency aid, Hessen addresses the pressing problems of cultural festivals that have to be cancelled or moved to the digital space as major events due to the Corona pandemic. If this causes them to run into liquidity difficulties, they will receive financial support, also in addition to any existing state funding. The maximum amount is based on the average number of tickets sold over the past three years: 2.50 euros per ticket for publicly funded festivals, 5 euros per ticket for festivals funded by non-profit associations or private institutions. The amount is capped at 500,000 euros. Applications can be submitted to the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts from 1 June until 30 November. This assistance specifically for festivals complements existing opportunities to receive support from the Small Business Assistance Program, which is also open to organizers.

Second Phase: Mastering Transition. Hessen supports freelance artists with working grants of 2,000 euros each. This is to enable them to work on new projects for the gradual transition out of the pandemic period. It is open to all cultural workers living in Hessen and insured with the Künstlersozialkasse; the grants are awarded by the Hessische Kulturstiftung. The artists are given the opportunity to present special results in a digital showcase - an additional way of presenting their works to a broad public despite the pandemic. The grant can be applied for by means of a simple application with a short project outline; it will not be counted as income towards any basic security benefits. Applications can be submitted to the Arts Council from 1 June.

Third phase: Innovatively Reopening. Re-opening poses major challenges for cultural institutions and venues as well as artists. Especially in the beginning, there will still have to be restrictions on visitor numbers as well as spacing rules and other requirements. Unusual forms of events, creative structural changes or new ways of addressing audiences are the necessary response. "Many of these innovations will have artistic value beyond the pandemic emergency," Dorn said. "We want to help cultural venues, groups and artists build those bridges into the post-pandemic era."

Innovative Reopening Fund for Cultural Institutions and Venues: The fund is designed to help cultural institutions with regular event operations transition into full reopenings. Cinemas, concert halls and music venues, socio-cultural centres, independent theatres, literature houses and other cultural venues can, for example, receive support for the development of new formats, structural adaptations or also public relations work with a lump sum of 18,000 euros each. 500 fund packages will be awarded. A combination with other aid is to be possible, such as the announced federal programs. Hesse will lobby at the federal level for a correspondingly flexible design of the measures there. It is expected that applications to the HMWK will be possible from 1 August.

Project grants for independent groups and individual artists: in the period of the pandemic, many novel approaches to cultural events and artistic formats for mediation and pedagogy and technical presentation have emerged. The grant enables the realisation, documentation and publication of these approaches. Funds are available for 250 groups in the amount of 18,000 euros each and for 1,000 artists in the amount of 5,000 euros each. It is administered by the Hessische Kulturstiftung. A jury of experts will judge the submissions. In addition, we rely on the expertise of Hessian cultural institutions and the possibility of strengthening the grants with private funds. If these raise additional money through their own patrons and sponsors, they can directly recommend artists to whom they are particularly attached for scholarships; in these cases, the state co-finances half of the scholarship up to the amount otherwise available.

"Artists who have received a working grant in the second phase can apply for funds for realisation in the third phase with the concepts they have developed there," explains Minister Dorn. "In this way, we are opening up the possibility for sustainable support of artistic approaches once they have been developed." (Text: Press Office Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts)

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