Earlier this month, Flemish culture minister Joke Schauvliege made public the advice of 12 sectoral advisory committees. The recommendation was that 15 groups that had received a double-positive score – applications are judged on their financial viability and artistic merit – should still lose their subsidies due to budget constraints.
The announcement of the extra funding this week means those organisations will retain all or most of their subsidies. Among those groups are the Logos Foundation in Ghent, which receives €140,000 annually, and the International Film Festival of Flanders, which receives €700,000. “It’s an enormous relief,” said Jacques Dubrulle of the Ghentbased film festival, which is home to the World Soundtrack Awards. “This ensures the future of the festival.” Another group of organisations were rescued because they are examples of diversity and geographic distribution, despite having received negative advice on one of the criteria. Among this group are the Ghent Jazz Festival, Theater aan de Stroom in Antwerp and the Dranouter Folk Festival, which had received the public support of former prime minister Yves Leterme. Geographical reasons – and the general shortage of subsidised arts in Limburg – were also behind the rescue of the Krokusfestival in Hasselt and the summer opera at the Alden Biesen Castle.
Some big names did indeed lose all or part of their funding, including Musical Vlaanderen, a producer of large-scale musical theatre, which loses its entire €2.45 million annual subsidy. “This is a very disappointing decision,” commented business director Katrien Ceulemans. “We’re now eagerly awaiting the motivation behind the decision, and, on the basis of those arguments, we’ll seek advice and see what steps can be taken.”
Those whose subsidies were stopped, including the Baroque ensemble La Petite Bande and Antwerp cultural centre Zuiderpershuis, were steered by the minister to the project subsidy round, which now accounts for 10% of the total culture budget for individual projects and which is due to take place in the spring of 2013.