Culture cuts: government asks for alternative

The Flemish culture sector is staging more protests in Brussels today against the government’s cuts in the culture budget. Meanwhile culture minister Jambon has said he's prepared to consider alternative cuts if the sector can make a proposal.

Representatives of the culture sector as well as art students in the broadest sense of the word will voice their dissatisfaction outside the Flemish Parliament in Brussels today.  The Flemish prime minister, Jan Jambon (Flemish nationalist), who doubles as culture minister, is today providing the Flemish Parliament’s culture select committee with details of the cuts.

PM Jambon told lawmakers that he was prepared to look at any alternative budget proposals made by the cultural sector.  The cuts proposed usually amount to 6% cuts in operational budgets and 60% cuts in project subsidies.

Jan Jambon: “I would like to invite the cultural sector.  If the sector can agree a better division (of the cuts) within the budgetary objective we are aiming at, then I am prepared to dialogue and consider an alternative budget.”

In Ghent the contemporary art museum S.M.A.K. has closed its doors in a mark of solidarity.  Director Philippe Van Cauteren says the museum wishes to show solidarity with young artists whose works may be exhibited at S.M.A.K. or elsewhere in the future.

“We wish to show that we are worried about the future of a varied and rich artistic landscape in this country.  We must give young creators the comfort of the knowledge that they can experiment so that we will have a new generation of artists we can be proud of like Luc Tuymans, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Kati Heck and Rinus Van de Velde today.  This can be done in a simple way by recognition that is also translated financially.”