Government Programme objectives of the Central Arts Council for 2015–19
The next Finnish parliamentary election will be held on 19 April 2015, after which a new Government will be formed and a new Government Programme adopted. The Central Arts Council has announced its objectives for 2015–19.
Better use of the professional skills of artists and improved social security
Finland is home to a highly skilled and highly educated community of artists that has continued to grow over the past ten years. The skills of these artists in a changing, digitalising world should be utilised more actively and innovatively, and new employment opportunities should be identified. Artists are the main force behind the development of the creative industry, and therefore the amount of artist grants should be increased. Visual artists, writers and composers in particular often work without employment contracts as free artists and depend on grants to fund their systematic artistic work.
Issues related to the social security of artists should be resolved by means of a new form of co-operation between ministries. Major reforms were made to the social security of artists in 2009 in an effort to provide better social and pension security coverage among artists. These reforms have proven to be insufficient. The Central Arts Council believes that the shortcomings in the present system should be resolved and that any structural barriers to more comprehensive social security for artists should be removed.
Since the pension base for artists is small, the number of supplementary state artist pensions should be increased in relation to the size of the artist community.
Collaboration between art institutions and artists
Art institutions play an important role in sharing art with the public. Accordingly, their operations throughout Finland should be safeguarded.
Most art takes place outside art institutions. The work descriptions of artists differ according to the field of the arts they are involved in. Professional artists in Finland who work independently require workspace for their activities. Free artists require primarily financial support for their work. The issue of poverty among visual artists has been raised in all research on the status of artists. Accordingly, the Central Arts Council proposes that the diversity of the profession be safeguarded during the next government term by increasing grants and by initiating a pilot model to create lasting new practices aimed at improving co-operation between art institutions and independent artists. These new practices would help art institutions diversify their stakeholder relations, improve the utilisation of workspace and share fixed costs. In this way, independent professional artists could increase their performances and exhibitions and enhance their visibility within their field of the arts. Similarly, it would help enable free artists to practice their profession.
All of these practices would have a positive impact on employment among artists and artist groups, raising income levels, prolonging the lifespan of performances and exhibitions, and diversifying services. Distributing support throughout the country would ensure and support regional accessibility to art.
Making the voice of art heard
The importance of art is highlighted during times of economic hardship. Art is a core component of freedom of expression and allows different social groups the opportunity to engage in diverse forms of dialogue. The Finnish cultural ideal of equality can be realised most democratically through our library system, which serves as an open and accessible meeting point for everyone in our society.
The Central Arts Council calls for Finland to continue to have its own minister of culture responsible for bringing together and promoting issues within the arts and its diverse fields. The Central Arts Council believes that art plays a vital role in our society and represents a significant part of the Finnish identity.
The Central Arts Council serves as an advisory body to the Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) and the Ministry of Education and Culture in policymaking regarding the arts.