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Yup, it’s that bad: “Portugal has abolished its Ministry of Culture.” -NY Times

March 25, 2012

The van Gogh Museum was told to tighten its belt. Ilvy Njiokiktjien/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

That ominous recurring “cuts in arts funding” story seems to be getting worse.  This front page New York Times story about cuts throughout Europe in public funding of the arts should’t come as a surprise, given the economic turmoil that has engulfed much of that continent.  However, the extent and depth are the real shocker.  This article looks at the impact on American audiences of reduced cultural exchange, but as we’ve seen with the recent thefts in Greece, the impact on cultural institutions throughout Europe could range from serious to devastating:

European governments are cutting their support for culture, and American arts lovers are starting to feel the results.

In Italy, the world-famous opera house La Scala faces a $9 million shortfall because of reductions in subsidies. In the Netherlands, government financing for arts programs has been cut by 25 percent. Portugal has abolished its Ministry of Culture.

Europe’s economic problems, and the austerity programs meant to address them, are forcing arts institutions there to curtail programs, tours and grants. As a result, some ensembles are scaling down their productions and trying to raise money from private donors, some in the United States, potentially putting them in competition with American arts organizations.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 6:37 PM

    At least Portugal HAD a Ministry of Culture, which is more than I can say for a certain Western superpower bordered by Canada and Mexico!

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