The Federal Arts Promotion Act, adopted in 1988, includes the provision that the federal budget must include the requisite funds for public arts promotion and that the social situation of artists and the framework for private sponsoring need to be improved. The law stipulates that promotion has to be directed mainly at “contemporary art, its spiritual changes and its variety” and lists the fields to be supported by way of production, presentation, dissemination and preservation of works and documents. Facilities that serve this purpose have to be similarly supported. The law also lists individual measures that may be taken (e.g. funds, grants, acquisitions, loans, commissions andprizes awarded).
An advisory system has been operating since 1973 and includes specialised bodies such as juries to make decisions on the granting of funds. In the Arts Promotion Act, it is also mentioned that potential conflicts of responsibility need to be avoided between the federal and state governments, stating that the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ must be employed. The federal government, nevertheless, supports activities and projects at regional or local levels that are “of supra-regional interest or suitable to be exemplary, of an innovative character or which are promoted within the scope of a single promotion programme”.
The guidelines for awarding subsidies under the Arts Promotion Act regulate the type of subsidy and the equality of men and women in the granting of subsidies. They contain regulations on the preconditions for subsidies, application and proof modalities as well as regulations on multi-year subsidies for institutions, for purchases, commissions and scholarships.
With the exception of Vienna, every Bundesland has its own cultural promotion act, most of which were implemented during the 1980s (see chapter 1.2.3).
The Arts Support Act (1981) states that in addition to the monthly radio and television fees, an appropriate contribution (monthly EUR 0.48) to support contemporary arts is to be raised and distributed between the state and the Bundesländer (provinces) on a 70:30 basis. 85 percent of the state share is given to the Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery; the rest is spent on heritage protection and museums. Since 2000, further contributions have been dedicated to the social security insurance fund (see chapter 4.1.3).