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The number of libraries and theaters is decreasing while the number of cultural centres is growing between 2012 and 2013.

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Poland/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

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.

The latest information provided by the Central Statistics Office (CSO, Culture in 2013) states that in 2013 there were 822 museums (including branches) in Poland. The number of visitors amounted to 29 million. At the end of 2013 there were 3 901 cultural centres and establishments, clubs and community centres, 0.8% more than in the previous year. Cultural centers, clubs organised a total of 206.1 thousand events that drew 38.1 million participants. The most common were organised: lectures, meetings, lectures (19.3% of all events), performances by amateur (17.5%) and tourist events and sports facilities (10.7%). According to the data collected by the Central Statistical Office, the number of public libraries decreased in 2013 to 8 112, 0.9% less than in 2012. In comparison with the previous year, the numbers of readers in public libraries decreased to 6.4 million readers, who have made at least one borrow in a year. Data concerning theatres and music institutions reveal that 170 operated in 2013. We can observe a decreasing number of theatres and music institutions operating in their own venues, with simultaneous improvement of their infrastructure. 5 700 events were organised in 2013 (4.3% more than last year), of which 41.8% had an artistic-entertainment character. According to the data gathered by the Central Statistical Office in 2013, there were 474 cinemas operating in Poland. Cinemas operate in urban areas (the number of mobile cinemas is minimal) but the number of visitors decreased from37.5 million in 2012 to 36.9 million in 2013. Films produced in Europe accounted 34.2% of all sessions, while the Polish production - 17.9%. Polish films have accumulated an average of 26 spectators at one session, while European production - 20, and outside of Europe production - 23.

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, Culture in 2012) 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. Most of the arts and entertainment institutions have been adapted for disabled people, more often wheelchair-adapted entrances (85.6%; 77.5% in 2011) than facilities inside the building (79.9%; 67.6% in 2011). In 2012, 17.2% of theatres and musical institutions were equipped with devices for audio support.

Chapter published: 20-08-2015

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