The Arts Decree is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts (see also section 3). It provides open and flexible support schemes for diverse artistic initiatives, which are granted funding on the basis of peer-assessed artistic quality. At the same time, primarily the individual qualities of funding applications are judged. There is no procedure for assessing a ‘right’ balance between qualified applications. This poses a problem in a context of pressure on public expenditure for the arts (see 7.1.3). If there is not enough funding for all artistic initiatives deemed deserving of subsidies, how to decide on who will eventually get funding? And which balances — between disciplines, between functions, between large, mid-large and small initiatives, between new and old organisations, etc. — should be taken into account when deciding?
The Strategic Vision Statement on the Arts of minister Jan Jambon (2019-2024) took up these questions and proposed a reform of the Arts Decree. Part of the reform is the plan to incorporate the assessment of balances in the procedures for evaluating funding applications. This should enable to evaluate the ratio between disciplines in arts funding and provide more opportunities for genres that have been previously ‘overlooked’, such as visual arts (see 3.4), design, or architecture (see 3.5.5).
Another part of the reform of the Arts Decree is a quadripartite division of funding schemes. The different types of project funding and grants will be subsumed in the category of ‘dynamic space’ (dynamische ruimte’) — for which a specific and possibly larger share of government expenditure on arts will be reserved. The existing category of major art institutions (see 1.3.3) will be maintained. The other funding category of multi-year-funding for arts organisations will be split in two. One part will be reserved for subsidies for the ‘broad field’ (‘brede veld’) — which will be similar to the existing multi-year support schemes — and another for ‘core institutions’ (‘kerninstellingen’) — which will receive longer term support than is currently the case. Similar to the major art institutions, the future core institutions will sign a management agreement with the Flemish government, which implies that these organisations can receive official assignments from the government (see also 2.3). This is (more implicitly) an answer to the question of balances between large, mid-large, and small initiatives — in which the small ones (funded within the ‘dynamic space’) and larger ones (funded as core or major arts institutions) will most likely get more options.
The latter has led to concern among arts professionals that (if the overall budget for the arts will not rise) a number of important initiatives (in the mid-large range) will no longer receive funding and that the gap between small and large players will become bigger — leaving fewer opportunities for innovation and for the development of artists’ careers. Another implication of the proposed reform relates to the core institutions signing a management agreement with the Flemish government. This means a larger part of the publicly funded arts field — which will also represent a substantial part of the overall budget for the arts — will come into a more direct relationship with their funding government.
 Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 195-208.
 Jambon, Jan. 2020. ‘Strategische Visienota Kunsten’, 6-12. This, in turn, followed the announcement of a number of changes to the regulations and legal frameworks in Jan Jambon’s policy memorandum on Culture (—. 2019. ‘Beleidsnota Cultuur 2019-2024’, 33-34), also including the Decree on Socio-Cultural Work for Adults (see 2.5.1).