France’s arts and culture sector will receive its largest amount of federal funding ever starting next year, with the allotted budget for the Department of Culture and Communication set to increase to €3.6 billion (~USD 4 billion). The leap of 5.5% marks the greatest boost in government financial support for the arts since 2010; the department’s budget now comprises 1.1% of that of the entire state.
The announcement arrived at the end of last month during Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay’s presentation of her department’s forthcoming budget, and makes good on President François Hollande’s announcement in July that a substantial increase was in the works. In her speech, Azoulay suggested that the renewed focused on culture was a response to the terrorism France has witnessed over the past year — from last November’s coordinated attacks across Paris to the devastating violence that shook Nice during this summer’s Bastille Day celebrations.
“I know the difficulties confronting museums today, between a drop in attendance, particularly linked to the drop in tourism, and a rise in security expenses,” Azoulay said, according to the Art Newspaper. As part of the new budget, museums will receive a 7% increase in annual funding.
France’s decision follows another recently announced, huge government effort to promote the arts nationwide: in April, Canadian officials pledged to invest almost CAD 1.9 billion (~USD 1.4 billion) into its own cultural industries over the next five years.
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