The art world has been suffering everywhere due to an ongoing global pandemic. With the ever-declining interest of patrons and cancelled exhibitions, almost every corner of the art world is struggling monetarily. In such times, the German government decided to step up and improve the conditions of the art world within their country.
The German Culture Minister announced on Monday that the government would increase its spending on art purchases to €3 million. Compared to the previous €500 thousand, this is a six-fold increase. This move would be a part of the larger “Culture New Start” program of the German government that aims to promote various cultural aspects of the country. The government has earmarked €1 billion for the program.
Under the art leg of the program, the culture ministry would acquire around 150 artworks from across the country. It can buy from both art fairs and directly from artists, though neither galleries nor artists could apply for acquisition. No single artwork could cost more than €20,000. An independent commission is made, comprising of five members with 5-year tenures, that make recommendations regarding which artwork to buy. Usually, the commission attended various art events and made their decisions. But considering the cancellation of such events this year, the commission is expected to directly negotiate with galleries and artists.
The announcement has been met with positive applause from artists. The Cultural Restart Programme, first announced in June, already gave many perks to the art community. This included a lower tax rate on art and €250 million allocated to ensure the safe reopening of cultural institutions. The increased budget would also significantly expand the federal art collection, which currently hosts some 1700 artworks.