How the US leads the way in bailing out culture

·2-min read
Artnet News compared the recovery plans for the culture sector in nine countries worldwide.

After a year of lockdowns and covid-19 restrictions, the arts world is increasingly keen to get the public back into places of culture. The situation varies from country to country, in line with the different government support packages on hand to help the culture sector ride out the crisis. According to a new comparative study, the US has dedicated the largest recovery package to the sector, followed by France.

Artnet News has looked at the recovery packages of countries such as the US, Canada, South Korea and Germany in response to calls for help from a sector heavily impacted by covid-19. As well as comparing the amount in dollars of each county's emergency aid package for the culture sector, the specialist magazine has calculated what the totals amount to per resident in each country, in order to account for differences in population size.

Although known for providing little in the way of public funding for the arts in normal times, the US tops the Artnet News ranking with a bail-out fund of over US$15 billion, approved by the US Congress last December. This fund, which forms part of a $900 billion pandemic aid package, is destined to help all the country's cultural institutions, from museums to Broadway theaters, movie theaters and concert halls.

The US is followed by France and Canada, with recovery packages of $8.3 billion and $4.7 billion respectively. While France comes second in the Artnet News ranking, it takes the lead when it comes to the size of the recovery package per capita ($126.90 per capita compared to $47.30 for the US). France's culture minister Roselyne Bachelot, recently announced an additional €20 million (approx. $24 million) for the culture sector which, she explains, is destined to support artistic teams in France's regions, help the sector's most vulnerable, prepare for the forthcoming reopening, and help newly qualified young people starting their careers in particularly difficult conditions.

At the bottom of the list, South Africa has a recovery package of $6.64 million, according to Artnet News data, or a very meager $0.10 per capita.

Size of culture sector recovery package in USD:

1. USA ($15.71 billion)

2. France ($8.3 billion)

3. Canada ($4.7 billion)

4. UK ($2.74 billion)

5. Germany ($2.37 billion)

6. Norway ($543.9 million)

7. South Korea ($269.1 million)

8. Singapore ($55.6 million)

9. South Africa ($6.64 million)

Caroline Drzewinski