Art and culture are recognised as essential factors for the high quality of life in Austrian society. The Art Promotion Act states that art makes a contribution to improving the quality of life and the mission statement for the current Federal Budget 2020 states that art and culture are important elements of social cohesion and that artistic positions on issues of our time are important contributions to the diagnosis of social challenges. The importance is emphasized to safeguarding the cultural heritage and state cultural institutions and ensuring broad public access to art and cultural assets and the development of an “Art and Culture Strategy” is announced.
In all art and culture strategies or cultural guidelines – at regional, local or national level – the role of art and culture is understood as promoting democracy and strengthening social cohesion, and the promotion of art and culture is oriented towards impact goals that are intended to ensure the sustainable anchoring of art and culture in society. The public sector is therefore committed to promoting and supporting art and culture at all levels, and all government programmes in recent decades confirm this value of art and culture.
The role of art and culture for society has most recently been discussed in connection with the Faro Convention of the Council of Europe ratified by Austria in 2015. Numerous publications and events have highlighted the importance of cultural heritage for society and its social value for people. The social relevance of contemporary art and cultural creation was also discussed.
There are no overarching programmes, but there are various actors who use and promote the social impact of art and culture. The Büro für Transfer, for example, develops programmes and activities to promote and shape social change through art, design and creativity. The numerous regional cultural initiatives in Austria (see chapter 6.4) also have a far-reaching social impact in terms of participation and involvement in the country’s art and cultural events.