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Hessen strengthens the new start of art and culture

11.05.2020 | 18:25 Clock | Culture
Hessen strengthens the new start of art and culture

Support for festivals, scholarships for artists and innovation funds for creative transition from the time of the pandemic

The State of Hessen is helping artists, festivals and cultural institutions with a comprehensive support package to overcome the restrictions caused by the Corona pandemic and to master the new beginning. Festivals that have to cancel their events or relocate to digital space will receive support in coping with the loss of income. Freelance artists can receive working grants of 2,000 euros each. And with a programme for cultural institutions, venues and artists, the state supports the new start with innovative approaches. The state provides a total of around 50 million euros in additional funding for this purpose. From 1 June, festivals and artists' social insurance fund can apply for funding.</Art and culture are an elementary component of life, as Angela Dorn, Minister of Art and Culture, explains: "For us, even and especially in times of crisis, art and culture are no 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 expression for people. It is precisely what defines the great value of art and culture that makes them particularly vulnerable in the pandemic: direct exchange between people. Venues and organisers had to cease operations early on and will only be able to resume full activity late in the day. We want to strengthen Hessen's diverse cultural landscape as an essential part of our coexistence in these difficult times. This 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 artists to survive the period of restrictions, and we are looking at the phase when Hesse's culture is gradually reopening. I am very pleased that together with the Cultural Foundation we are able to implement a very special Hessian approach: It offers suitable 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 includes the living culture of patronage in Hessen."</p>

Hardships cushioned with aid

"We have already made great efforts to cushion hardships for culture with the immediate economic aid for solo self-employed persons and small companies as well as with the association programme," Dorn continues. "Unfortunately, the Grand Coalition in Berlin has not allowed compensation for the cost of living of solo self-employed persons in the emergency aid. I am aware that there is a gap here. We have now deliberately designed our work scholarships in such a way that they are independent of operating expenses and do not count towards the basic provision."

Cooperation with Hessian Cultural Foundation

"I am delighted about the important signal from the state government and Minister of State Dorn to provide sustained support for cultural workers during this time and with a view to the future," explains Jutta Ebeling, Chairwoman of the Cultural Foundation's Executive Board. "The Hessian Cultural Foundation has been supporting artists in their work for more than 25 years, and by distributing the working scholarships we now want to make fast and unbureaucratic help possible. We are aware of the importance of international relations, exchange and the know-how that is conveyed through and in art. If the current situation, which is tense for all of us, gives rise to new ways of thinking, new realities are conveyed or transitions are created, this is a worthwhile goal. But independent art is impossible without an economic basis. Working scholarships for artists contribute to the important free space without which culture cannot flourish."

The components of "reopening Hessen culturally":

First phase: help immediately. In addition to the already known immediate help, Hesse is addressing the urgent problems of cultural festivals that have to be cancelled as major events due to the Corona pandemic or have to be moved to digital space. If they run into liquidity problems as a result, they will receive financial support, also in addition to any existing state funding. The maximum amount depends on the number of tickets sold on average over the past three years: 2.50 euros per ticket for publicly supported festivals, 5 euros per ticket for 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 Art from June 1 and until November 30. This aid specifically for festivals complements the existing possibilities to receive support from the aid programme for small businesses, which is also open to the organisers.

Second phase: Mastering the transition. Hessen supports freelance artists with working scholarships of 2,000 euros each. This should enable them to work on new projects for the gradual transition from the pandemic period. It is open to all cultural workers living in Hessen and insured by the artists' social security fund; the scholarships are awarded by the Hessian Cultural Foundation. Artists are given the opportunity to present special results in a digital shop window - an additional way of presenting their work to a broad public despite the pandemic. The fellowship 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 support payments. Applications can be submitted to the Cultural Foundation from 1 June onwards.

third phase: innovatively reopen. The reopening presents cultural institutions and venues as well as artists with great challenges. Especially in the beginning there will be restrictions on the number of visitors, as well as distance rules and other requirements. Unusual forms of events, creative structural changes or new ways of addressing the public are the necessary response. "Many of these innovations will have an artistic value beyond the pandemic emergency," says Dorn. "We want to support cultural venues, groups and artists in building such bridges into the time after the pandemic".

fund "innovatively reopen" for cultural institutions and venues: The fund is intended to help cultural institutions with regular event operations to make the transition to full reopening. Cinemas, concert halls and music venues, socio-cultural centres, independent theatres, literature houses and other cultural venues can receive support with a lump sum of 18,000 euros each for the development of new formats, structural adaptations or public relations work. 500 fund packages are awarded. It should be possible to combine this with other forms of support, such as the announced federal programmes. At the federal level, Hesse will advocate a correspondingly flexible design of the measures there. Applications to the HMWK are expected to be possible from 1 August.

project grants for independent groups and individual artists: During the time of the pandemic, many new approaches to cultural events and artistic formats for mediation and pedagogy and technical presentation have emerged. The scholarship enables the realization, documentation and publication of these approaches. Funds are available for 250 groups of 18,000 euros each and for 1,000 artists of 5,000 euros each. It will be handled by the Hessian Cultural Foundation. An expert jury will judge the submissions. In addition, we rely on the expertise of Hessian cultural institutions and the possibility of reinforcing the scholarships with private funds. If these institutions raise additional funds through their own patrons and sponsors, they can directly recommend artists to whom they are particularly associated for scholarships; in such cases, the state co-finances half of the scholarship up to the amount of the otherwise available funds.

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

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