Czech govt. earmarks another CZK 1 billion in support of arts and culture

A new call for applicants will go out in January, and those in audiovisual arts will now be eligible.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 17.12.2020 15:35 (updated on 17.12.2020)

The government has increased funding for the COVID–Culture program, which helps support people whose work in entertainment has been derailed by the pandemic. Another CZK 1 billion will be go into the program. Together with previous spending, support for entities and self-employed people doing business in culture will reach CZK 1.9 billion.

The support programs were prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the State Fund for Cinematography. The ministries plan to publish the third call, known as COVID-Culture III, in January next year. Applications will be accepted for at least 30 days.

“Coinciding with the necessary restrictions, we are immediately launching or continuing compensation for the affected sectors. Entrepreneurs in living culture will thus be able to continue to use the COVID– Culture program, for which we managed to secure another CZK 1 billion. We will announce the third call in January next year,” Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček, who is also minister of industry and trade and minister of transport (for ANO), said.

He added that it will also be possible to support entities in the field of film and audiovisual work, among other things. “We have prepared the necessary adjustment in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the State Fund for Cinematography,” he said.

Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD) said he was glad the program has been extended to other areas in culture, so that in addition to the performing and audio-visual arts, subjects and individuals from the fine arts will be able to apply.

“At the moment, not only the so-called living culture is affected, but todayculture is almost completely stopped,” he said. “Two calls will be announced in January: COVID–Culture III. with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as was the case with the ongoing second call of this subsidy program. A special call for the audiovisual field will also be announced, which will be administered by the State Fund for Cinematography.”

In the second call for the COVID–Culture program, more than 2,700 applications for self-employed people have been paid so far and another 4,000 will be disbursed in the coming weeks.

“Although the State Fund for Cinematography announced four extraordinary calls, this support was nevertheless selective. That is why I am glad that the film industry has now been successfully integrated into this comprehensive help to culture,” Helena Bezděk Fraňková, director of the State Fund for Cinematography said.

The COVID–Culture program was launched Aug. 11, 2020. It aims to provide support to performers, arts professionals and other people in cultural activities who have had to reduce their activities due to coronavirus emergency measures.

Details of the third call for COVID–Culture and the call for subsidies from the State Fund of Cinematography will be published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Culture in January.

Each entity can receive support from the COVID–Culture program up to a maximum of CZK 10 million. At the same time, it is not possible to exceed the European Commission's temporary framework for the provision of direct grants, which is EUR 800,000 (approximately CZK 21 million).

So far subsidies have been provided by the Ministries of Industry and Trade and Culture. The new film and audiovisual component will be administered in cooperation with the State Fund for Cinematography.

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Subsidies from the COVID-Culture program are requested through the information system available at Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The first COVID–Culture program was to enable entrepreneurs in the culture sector to seek subsidies to cover their expenditures spent in vain on culture events and projects that had been canceled.

Representatives of music firms as well as film producers and distributors criticized the program for its narrow focus.

The government earmarked CZK 900 million for the first call. However, even after the deadline was extended, it received just 326 applications in the total volume of CZK 121.5 million.

A second call allocated CZK 750 million and extended the range of applicants.

Currently, people in culture and individuals in artistic and expert artistic-technical professions can can apply for a one-off subsidy of CZK 60,000 crowns by the end of the year, while entrepreneurs can seek up to CZK 10 million to cover eligible costs.