A reduction of 15% in the cultural budget followed the election of the Popular Party at the end of 2011.
2011 Act provides greater autonomy to national institutions such as the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum and Art Centre. The National Library will follow.
7.3 Status and partnerships of public cultural institutions
From a historical perspective, Spain's leading cultural institutions can be divided into three groups depending on their origins: national institutions, institutions set up by civil society, and institutions that emerged during the period of restored democracy. National institutions have been linked to the state from the outset and most of them are in Madrid (Prado Museum, Royal Theatre, National Library, etc.). The second type can usually be traced to the cultural aspirations of the bourgeoisie at specific moments in history, particularly in those cities having a strong industrial base, for example, Barcelona, Bilbao, Oviedo, etc. Typical illustrations would be the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona or the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo. Lastly, there are numerous initiatives undertaken over the last 20 years at various levels of government, such as the construction of several major cultural spaces, the majority outside Madrid, thereby promoting cultural decentralisation. Some of these cultural facilities, built in the middle of the Spanish housing boom, remain inconclusive or without cultural activity as a consequence of the economic crisis and also due to the lack of previous studies about their economic, social and even cultural viability.
National institutions depend entirely on the central government for funding, although boards of governors are allowed considerable leeway in decision making. A significant number of the other cultural institutions in the country are financed and self-managed under agreements between different levels of government. This inter-institutional co-operation promotes coherence in regional development strategies and, indirectly, encourages greater self-management in day-to-day running of the institutions. One of these initiatives is the collaboration agreement, which was signed in September 2008 by the Ministry of Culture to participate in the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre Foundation. This centre aims to become one of the main driving forces of cultural, social and economic life in the Principality of Asturias. The Foundation's Board of Trustees includes the Ministry of Culture, the Principality of Asturias, Aviles City Council and Aviles Port Authority.
Examples of cooperation between large cultural institutions are the joint collaborative projects, agreed in October 2008, between the Prado Museum and the National Museum of Catalan Art in the fields of training, conservation, and the organisation and production of temporary exhibitions. In December 2008, the Royal Theatre Opera House in Madrid and the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona signed a new framework agreement in which they commit to a joint policy of development and dissemination of opera in their respective territories. More recently, in November 2012, the Reina Sofia Museum and Art Centre Foundation was invited to promote the idea of networking with other museums and art centres or universities and to open the museum to civil society with the creation of an international community of friends. Beyond these specific initiatives, one of the priorities of the Ministry for the current term is the strengthening of the strategic and management abilities of the public sector in cultural institutions. To this end, the government plans professional and cultural exchanges, as well as the shared use of infrastructures and resources.
In recent years, various national and regional institutions have introduced changes in the procedure for appointing directors. With these changes the government hopes to improve the objectivity, professionalism and transparency of candidate selection. At the central level, the pilot experience of the Prado Museum has been extended to other institutions, such as the National Library and the Reina Sofia Museum and Art Centre. Firstly, under the framework of the Cultural Institution Modernisation Plan, approved in September 2007, and, at present, within the General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the State Secretariat for Culture, this process of greater autonomy in the management of the country's principal cultural institutions also seeks to promote their financial sustainability through a greater public-private collaboration.
Two illustrative examples of this approach can be found in the new administrative status of the Prado Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum and Art Centre. The Prado museum (46/2003 Act on the Prado Museum and 1713/2011 Royal Decree that modifies the Prado Museum's statute approved by the 433/2004 Royal Decree) is now a "special" public institution, meaning that, under Spain's continental legal system, it can engage in transactions governed by "private law", i.e., it is no longer solely bound by the dictates of the "public law" under which government and government-funded bodies are normally administered. This has aimed to make it much easier for the Prado Museum to adapt to changing times and changing practices in the art world. In particular, it has allowed it to raise its own funds, including 50% of its running costs (before it was allowed to raise funds for only up to 27% of its running costs). In 2011, the government approved the 34/2011 Act that regulates the Reina Sofia Museum and Art Centre and provides the museum with a more flexible legal framework for the acquisition of works of art, fundraising, administrative contracts, and budget and human resources management. At present, the government is drawing up the act on autonomy of the National Library, so that, in the near future, the library will have the same status as the other large cultural institutions of the state.
Fundraising, linked to the greater autonomy of cultural institutions, also encourages a much greater degree of co-operation with local business circles, and enables local administrators to gain experience with innovative and modern management techniques. A good example in this regard is the Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum or MACBA. It is now run by a public consortium comprising the Barcelona City Council, the government of Catalonia, and the MACBA Foundation which is made up of private-sector companies and its purpose is to raise funds to buy works for the museum; works which the Foundation will own.
Regarding the role of the "third sector", traditionally in Spain there has been a general consensus that participation of the third sector in funding culture and cultural activities would increase with time. This idea, which has gained special relevance in recent years as a consequence of the economic crisis, is included in various key government documents. On the one hand, the Plan for the Promotion of the Cultural and Creative Industries 2011 includes support to non-profit entities engaged in cultural projects and, on the other, the General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the Secretary of State for culture is aimed at encouraging participation and the role of civil society in the support and promotion of culture.
The bodies that best represent the spirit of the third sector are, without doubt, the associations. According to a study by the University of Deusto and the Author Foundation, cultural associations, which were strong at the end of Francoism and the beginning of democracy, are currently in crisis. The causes are not attributed to the size of the movement, since there are 42 107 associations registered in the autonomous communities, but rather to factors such as the limited impact of their activities on society, excessive reliance on public subsidies, a lack of generational exchange and changing social habits. The study indicates that 46.3% of cultural associations have a generic scope, while the remaining 53.7% are specialised in a cultural sector. The largest sector is music, followed by heritage and the performing arts. Regarding regional distribution, Catalonia has the highest number of cultural associations (19% of the total) followed by Valencia (17%). Andalusia and Madrid have the lowest rates (VVAA, 2008).
In recent years, volunteerism has spread to all sorts of cultural facilities, using formulas such as associations and foundations of Friends of Museums, which are grouped in the Spanish Federation of Friends of Museums, a non-profit institution established in 1983 to promote initiatives that emerge in society connected with museums and cultural heritage. Other examples are the Foundation of Friends of the National Library, a private and non-profit institution created in November 2009, and the Foundation of Friends of the Prado Museum with more than 21 000 members. The Cervantes Institute has also created the Circle of Friends with the aim of establishing strategic alliances to provide stable financial resources and greater visibility to the institution and the collaborating institutions. In this line, the benefactors' programme of the Prado Museum currently provides around 30% of its internal financing.
In short, the cultural sector is characterised by its complexity, in which it is hard to define exactly the role played by each of the operators: public, private or "third-sector". At the same time, some common definition is necessary if agreement on policy objectives at different levels of administration is to be reached. Suffice to say that in Spain there is an expanding common ground for a meeting of minds between public and private operators, as evidenced by the following examples:
The economic crisis, particularly important in Spain, led the government to the adoption of a series of measures to reduce the public deficit. These measures include the approval in April 2010 of an Agreement on rationalisation of administrative structures in the central government, with the reduction of senior officials and the restructuring of public companies. As a result of this reform, the rank of General Director of the National Library was replaced by the rank of Sub General Director. The crisis has also meant a significant reduction of resources that the different public administrations channelled to major cultural institutions, most of them run by a public Consortium. These budget difficulties have jeopardised the viability of many flagship projects, as for example, the Liceu Opera House in Barcelona. Faced with this situation, the Ministry has proposed that cultural institutions under its responsibility cooperate, allowing the circulation of content and the distribution of efforts in projects likely to be shared.
Another strategy to contain public spending on culture has been the creation of the National Centre for Musical Diffusion (CNDM), presented in July 2010. The CNDM is responsible for the programming and management of the National Music Auditorium, the Centre for the Diffusion of Contemporary Music and the Centre for the Performing Arts and Historical Music of Leon (Castile-Leon), together with other public and private institutions. This pretends to rationalise the INAEM's policy in the fields of promotion and dissemination of music, integrating the human resources of each centre in the new CNDM, and unifying artistic budgets currently allocated to each of them.
The implementation of these reforms, together with the reduction of the budget allocated to culture in 2011 and the cessation of specific legislative initiatives in areas such as music, theatre, archives or heritage, led the Popular Party (major opposition party) to require a cultural change in government policy. With the aim of giving priority to culture in government action, in May 2010, the Popular Party presented a proposal that sets the foundation for a new paradigm in cultural policy. The lines of action have been established in the so-called Declaration of Cartagena (http://www.pp.es/actualidad-noticia/mariano-rajoy-propone-un-gran-pacto-nacional-por-cultura_2691.html). The November 2011 elections led the Popular Party to power and with it a reduction of 15% in the cultural budget.
The Spanish economic situation led, in November 2010, to the approval by the Sectoral Conference on Culture of a working group on a new model for managing cultural facilities. As a result of this work, the Ministry has developed a first paper (March 2011) for reflection and debate on the sustainability of programmes and rationalisation of cultural facilities. The new government of the Popular Party has announced the establishment of a new working group, within the framework of the Sectoral Conference of Culture, whose main objective will be to work on the integral sustainability of cultural infrastructures.