According to the Initiativen Wirtschaft für Kunst (IWK, Austrian Business Committee for the Arts) – which has launched several incentives to promote arts sponsorship in Austria, for example the Maecenas sponsorship award, and also conducts studies in the field – the estimated private sponsorship potential in Austria amounts to about EUR 60 million. According to a survey of the top 500 companies by the IWK, 43% of Austrian companies engage in arts sponsoring, with energy providers at the top, followed by the banking and insurance sector. Altogether, the private investment in the field of art and culture has increased seven-fold since 1989. A considerable part of the sponsoring takes place through sponsoring in kind or transfer of expertise. Further figures on private financial commitment in the art and culture sector are unfortunately not available.
Since 1989, in cooperation with ORF (the state broadcaster), the Business for Art Initiatives have awarded the MAECENAS Austrian Art Sponsoring Prize to companies for the promotion of art projects. For some years now, MAECENAS prizes have also been awarded in the provinces to highlight the importance of business enterprises in the field of art and cultural sponsoring in the regional area, in Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Vorarlberg – in each case in cooperation with the provincial governments, various media partners and companies, the Federation of Austrian Industries or the chambers of commerce.
The improvement of the general conditions for sponsoring has been under discussion for several years and the Non-Profit Status Act passed in 2015 has since created legal incentives to enable additional funds from the private sector for art and culture. The donation activity of foundations is promoted and tax relief on donations has since been extended to corporations that develop artistic activities serving Austrian art and culture. With an amendment to the Income Tax Act (2016), the donation tax relief also includes institutions whose purpose is the generally accessible presentation of works of art.