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Hungary/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.3 Grants, awards, scholarships

The basic structure of Hungarian state cultural awards dates back to the previous regime; in addition to the existing list, each minister adds at least one new award. There are over forty different kinds of awards, most of them bearing the name of a renowned Hungarian artist: e.g. the Liszt Award is given to 8 musicians each year. These awards of the ministry go to nearly 250 persons, or in some cases groups and institutions each year.

Nearly as many state awards are also given to personalities in the cultural life of the country, from the Knight's Cross to the Kossuth Prize. The latter is given to around 20 people each year, with a financial bonus that is equivalent to half a months' average income (as stipulated by the law).

Five artists are awarded the title of Excellent Artist each year, and ten become Worthy Artists, rewarded with half and one third of the amount of the Kossuth Prize (all these awards are tax free).

The top distinction is the Corvin Chain, to be held by twelve persons at any one time, about half of whom are usually from culture. This award was originally founded by Admiral Horthy in 1930, renewed by the first Orbán-government (1998-2002), and again in 2012.

Twelve people can enjoy the benefits of the title the Actor (or Actress, the Hungarian language does not use gender) of the Nation at one time. Upon this model, the amended Film Law introduced the title Film Artist of the Nation that is given upon the decision of the government to selected artists who had formerly received the Kossuth Prize. Only 15 artists over the age of 65 can have this title at any one time. It is at the discretion of the government to decide which of those artists that used to receive an annual allowance as holders of the title called Master of Hungarian Moving Pictures established by the Motion Picture Public Foundation, will be entitled to the new award. 

These schemes have been crowned by the regimes operated by MMA, presented in chapter 4.1: the allowances that the members of the Academy and the Artists of the Nation receive.

The system of 1-3 year grants has been developing and expanding since the late 1950s, administered at present by the Public Interest Limited Company for Hungarian Creative Art, mentioned in the previous chapter. Scholarships are available for 4 to 10 people, under 35 years, in each of the following fields: fine arts, photography, design, applied arts, art criticism, literature, play writing, composition, musicology, music criticism and musicianship.

Since 2004, 18 young Hungarian writers living in neighbouring countries receive grants each year in four literary categories. In addition to the scholarships of the Ministry, several local governments grant scholarships to artists living in their village / town. There are also scholarships available to artists from the Hungarian Academy in Rome.

Artists and cultural operators can also apply for scholarships and grants in the general schemes operated by the Hungarian Scholarship Board Office (Magyar Ösztöndíj Bizottság). Senior experts, artists and researchers may seek opportunities to study and work in various countries all over the world through the Hungarian National Eötvös Scholarship (Magyar Állami Eötvös Ösztöndíj). Both of these are administered by the Balassi Institute.

As a surprise move, early in 2016 the government established a nonprofit company with 150 million HUF (about half a million euro) for talent nurturing in the Carpathian Basis. The main axis, and the first projects are focusing on young writers.

Chapter published: 22-11-2016

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