Useful statistics are provided in the CSO report on ‘The activities of cultural institutions in Poland in 2011’.
7.1 Cultural infrastructure: tendencies & strategies
According to the Report on financing and management of cultural institutions, prepared for the Polish Culture Congress in 2009, the number of cultural institutions and entities conducting business in the sphere of culture was systematically and rapidly growing, especially in the last years (2004-2007). There were approximately 14 000 cultural institutions in 2007 – including 187 theatres, 40 of which are located in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, including 34 in Warsaw (public and private). The sphere of culture is dominated by public entities and therefore the development of culture depends on the level of state and local allocations. A low degree of financial autonomy of cultural institutions causes their administrative dependence and politicisation. The report notes the low effectiveness of public funds spent in the sphere of culture. State funds are spent mainly on the maintenance of existing institutions rather than on creative programme activities and to a low degree are spent with a view to development and investments. Generally, the number of museums, theatres, galleries and music institutions was increasing in contrast to the number of cinemas and libraries.
Despite the observed tendencies towards commercial markets and the development of private cultural institutions, most cultural institutions are still organised by the public sector. According to the Central Statistics Office publication Culture in 2008, in that year there were 602 public registered museums in Poland, of which 487 (81%) were led by the local administrations, at all levels. There were also 141 private museums, organised mainly by non-governmental organisations, churches and trade unions. The public art galleries (173) at all levels of administration constituted 52.3% of all galleries (331). Mazowieckie Voivodeship had 40 theatrical and music institutions, while the number of these institutions in other provinces did not exceed 20. There were 2 601 public libraries in Poland (8 325 with branches), most of which were administered by municipalities and communes.
The latest information provided by the Central Statistics Office (CSO, The activities of cultural institutions in Poland in 2011), states that the number of cultural institutions, compared with the year 2010, decreased (e.g. 52 public libraries were closed). However, for the first time in several years, there has been no decrease in the number of permanent cinemas (448 cinema theatres and 7 mobile cinemas - 2.7% more than in 2010). In 2011 there were 777 registered museums in Poland, of which 682 (87.8%) were public. The public art galleries (201) at all levels of administration constituted 57.1% of all galleries (352). There were 173 theatrical and music institutions with permanent art companies, including 104 dramatic and puppet theatres, 25 music theatres and 25 philharmonics. There is a tendency among these institutions to resign from permanent companies. There were 8 290 public libraries in Poland (with branches), most of which are administered by municipalities and communes and 1 962 information-library posts (science, pedagogic, technical libraries etc.). The number of culture houses, clubs and also slightly decreased – down to 3 708 institutions.
Cultural institutions are trying to adapt themselves to the new requirements of the market economy by employing professional cultural managers, setting up departments for promotion and advertising / public relations and developing activities to attract donors and sponsors. Relying on the market to generate a portion of their income, managers or directors of cultural institutions are making decisions which are influenced by economic rather than artistic objectives (goal displacement). The result is the introduction of popular repertoire, renting out space for non-artistic activities etc. Despite these efforts, cultural institutions still do not have adequate resources to remunerate talented artists with professional wage scales or to present experimental exhibitions.
According to the previously quoted publication (CSO, The activity of cultural institutions in Poland in 2011) the cultural institutions systematically adapt their premises to the special requirements of the disabled, especially those with mobility difficulties. More and more architectural barriers are being removed. Among all the institutions, the premises adapted most are cinemas (81.5% - wheelchair-adapted entrances, 62.9% - special amenities inside buildings – similarly, theatres and music institutions were adapted (77.5% and 67.6% respectively, and art galleries - 47.7% and 43.2% respectively. Moreover, in multiple museums, art galleries, libraries and cinemas audio-description techniques are being implemented. The cultural institutions also continue to implement new technologies in their contact with visitors and viewers, e.g. by enabling viewing of content, planning visits and making ticket reservations on-line (33.9% of cinemas and 19.0% of museums).