arts policy

arts policy
   The main thrust of government policy on the arts since 1982 has been to put Spain back on the cultural map and to preserve its national heritage. This has involved the expenditure of large sums of money and the framing of new legislation.
   An increase of some 70 percent in the arts budget between 1982 and 1989 funded initiatives in four main areas, and though this increase has not been maintained in the 1990s, they are still the main priorities. Museums have been major beneficiaries of government spending, the aim being to modernize and expand existing buildings, and increase the nation's collections, especially of contemporary works. The establishment of the Queen Sofía Museum in the eighteenth-century General Hospital of Madrid, and of the Thyssen- Bornemisza collection in the Palace of Villahermosa (see also Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum), the creation of a National Anthropological Museum in the former modern art museum, the refurbishment of the Americas Museum, the renovation of State Museums, the new Institute of Modern Art in Valencia (IVAM) and the Bilbao Municipal Art Museum are all examples of major capital expenditure. A second priority is the funding of major art exhibitions and art collections. The Velázquez exhibition in the Prado Museum in 1990 attracted over half a million visitors, and art collections have been increased either directly through purchase, as of the Thyssen collection, and through sponsorship of the ARCO collection of modern art, or indirectly by tax incentives for the donation of works of art to eligible institutions.
   Another priority is financial support for the film industry either directly via subsidies based on box-office receipts or for films of special merit, though these have had to be drastically curtailed, or indirectly by screen quotas, licence fees for dubbing foreign films and support for the showing of Spanish films abroad. Funds have also been directed to the creation of new concert halls, such as the Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid and others throughout Spain, and to the renovation of others such as the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. Many theatres have been refurbished, bodies such as the National Orchestras, the National Ballet, the National Dance Company (see also national dance companies) and the National Institute of Theatre and Music have had government backing and agreements have been set up between the regions, municipal authorities and managers of concert halls and theatres to co-ordinate their activities. The other major concern of government is to preserve the cultural heritage of the Spanish people. Among other provisions the 1985 Law of Spanish National Heritage made it illegal to alter, sell or export without permission sites and objects listed on the General Register of Heritage Sites and Objects. This register is maintained and updated with the co-operation of the regions, and in 1986 a Board of Valuations for the Listing, Purchase and Export of Works of Art was set up under the same law. The thwarting of an attempt to auction Goya's Marquesa de Santa Cruz which had been illegally exported to London is the prime example of the government's determination to enforce this law.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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