BOZAR supports the broad protest movement sparked by the announcement that cultural subsidies are to be reduced. At the same time BOZAR calls on the Flemish Government to make an exception in this round of spending cuts for the artists and organisations for which these subsidies are so vital in enabling them to bring to fruition their innovative artistic projects.

Project subsidies are a kind of seed money. They ensure that the arts are able to continue to grow, to innovate and to nurture young talent. Yet established artists too need these project subsidies. That is why these spending cuts will have far reaching consequences for the cultural, social and economic fabric.

The Flemish Government's new Culture Minister has made the choice to spare the large cultural organisations more than the others, despite the latter also being structurally recognised. The former will have to save 3 percent, the rest 6 percent. Hardly a decision that expresses solidarity, even if it is true that Flanders needs robust artistic institutions.

BOZAR is an outsider in this debate. It is not a Flemish but a federal cultural institution that from Brussels contributes to the standing of the communities. Since 2018 BOZAR has received multiannual subsidies from the Flemish Government. It now seems that the resources foreseen for 2020 will be revised downwardly. As to the extent, this remains unclear.

We believe it is important for the culture sector to retain and strengthen its solidarity. The major cuts to project subsidies threaten the diversity, quality and inclusive nature of culture in Flanders. Without the work of these organisations and artists, BOZAR will be unable to provide the quality as currently expected of a cultural organisation with an international orientation.

Ana Torfs, Joris Van De Moortel, Robin Verheyen, Romina Lischka … are just some of the artists who, thanks to project subsidies, were able to realise their artistic projects and benefit from an international platform thanks to BOZAR. Our “Theater op de middag” and “Next Generation, Please” series work with Flemish talent. We are committed to continuing and where possible expanding this cooperation in the future.

We therefore urge you to sign the petition drawn up by State of the Arts.

BOZAR intends to realise its social mission and for this reason cannot now remain on the sidelines. We are making our halls available to artists and cultural workers for their meetings and are championing the cause of young artists and organisations in our contacts with the Flemish Government. BOZAR wants to use its position as a federal cultural institution in Brussels as a springboard for the international career of young artists. Collaboration and coproduction are central to BOZAR's artistic policy. This will continue to be the case in the future.

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