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France/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.2 Special artists funds

Public Commissions

Government Commissions have been set up for music, drama and the visual arts.

The "1% for Arts" commission, established in 1951, is a special body created for visual artists. It is based on the principle that 1% of the total amount spent on the construction, renovation or extension of a public building must be reserved for a contemporary artwork specially conceived for the building in question. This obligation now applies to both local and State governments. This system allowed the creation of more than 12 300 artworks over 60 years (1951-2011).

The National Fund for Contemporary Art (Fonds national d'art contemporain, FNAC), set up in 1976, provides funding for the acquisition, distribution and conservation of contemporary works in the fields of visual arts, photography, video and design. Acquisition policies are guided by three key objectives: to discover new young artists, to purchase outstanding works of artists who have attained maturity in their work, and to represent international art movements. This collection gathers more than 90 000 pieces of visual arts, photography, decorative arts or design.

The Regional Funds for Contemporary Art (Fonds régionaux d'art contemporain, FRAC), set up in 1982 within the context of devolution policies, are now present in almost all French regions. Intended for the purchase of contemporary art works, these funds ensure regular publishing activity and educational initiatives and affirm the role of local and regional authorities in the field of contemporary art. Since their creation, the FRACs have set up rich and diverse collections of over 26 000 works, produced by 4 200 artists. The Regional Funds cooperate and develop concerted actions within the association Platform that is organising, in 2013, the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Funds (

Support to creation

The different sectoral and / or specific funds that support creativity and creators are provided either by grants from the Ministry of Culture and Communication budget, from territorial authorities, or by taxes that are redistributed via public bodies. For example, the Centre national de la cinématographie (CNC) manages State government funds and subsidies for the cinema industry and audiovisual activities.

Aids and support are available in all domains, for instance:

  • theatre, performing arts, music and dance: aid to theatre and dance companies, circus arts, major jazz and improvised music bands and groups, residences, etc.;
  • visual arts: support for visual artists, graphic designers, designers and craft workers, enabling them to complete a specific project, to benefit from research stays and to participate in artists residences;
  • books, literature and reading: grants and aids by the national and regional Centres of Books and Literature, to support the different activities of the sector: writing / creation, editing / publication, selling / distribution; and
  • cinema, audio-visual and broadcasting: programmes and aids of the CNC, public support to the 40 film commissions installed throughout France, etc.

Concerning the action of the operating institutions, the centres d'art contemporain (Contemporary Arts Centres) for instance, support research and experimentation through their exhibitions, publications, and commissions to artists, also through residences for artists. In 2012, the Ministry titles and supports, in partnership with territorial authorities, 48 centres, among which two are located in Paris: the Jeu de Paume and the Palais de Tokyo.

Chapter published: 23-05-2017

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