The Arts Decree (see also 4.2.4) is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts. This includes artists and organisations in contemporary visual arts (sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, multimedia, sound art, etc.) and audiovisual work for multiple screens (which is usually shown in the exhibition circuit). Single screen audiovisual production and the production of television series is supported through a separate fund (see 3.5.2). The Arts Decree also arranges the support for Flanders Arts Institute — in which the former organisation BAM merged — as the independent centre of expertise for professional performing arts, visual arts and (classical) music in Flanders. Flanders Arts Institute (see 5.5 and 7.2.1) provides support and networking opportunities for and shares expertise and data with artists, curators and arts organisations. It also organises international promotion of arts from Flanders (see also 1.4.3). Kunst in Huis is a funded organisation with a collection of 5 000 contemporary works of art that can be given on loan (and sold) to private persons and companies.
Both museums for fine arts and contemporary art — as institutions maintaining a collection, contrary to exhibition halls — receive support through the Cultural Heritage Decree. This is also the case for the Flemish Centre for Art Archives (CKV), which provides expertise to (private) archives and legacies of contemporary artists. CKV collaborates with Flanders Arts Institute and others in TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts.
A separate Decree (‘Topstukkendecreet’) regulates the protection and trafficking of rare and valuable artistic and cultural assets from Flanders. The Flemish government itself owns — together with the Federal State — a collection of 18 000 works of art of different periods (‘Collectie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap’) and has an annual budget for further acquisitions. There is also regulation on the Flemish level that governs art in public space. The Decree on Public Art Commissions (formerly known as the ‘Percentage Decree’) stipulates that, when building or renovating a public building, a specific share of the building costs should be invested in a commission for a work of art.
The Federal level harbours some major institutions for fine arts (with a range until the twentieth century), such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, dedicated to the study and conservation of artistic and cultural assets of Belgium).
Local governments are important in stimulating local contemporary art scenes (for example by investing in workshop facilities). With regard to the visual arts, however, these are primarily the governments of larger cities in Flanders. These city governments have been the historic drivers of establishing some of the main museums for visual arts in Flanders. Nonetheless, professional visual arts have had a rather marginal role in local cultural policy — contrary to the performing arts and music, which have benefitted from the establishment of culture centres throughout Flanders. The distribution of exhibitions in Flanders is largely centred in Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent. There are some interesting visual arts initiatives, though, by culture centres and local authorities outside the larger cities, which might foster a new dynamic.
Other issues on the agenda of the visual arts sector and arts policy include the precarious position of artists (which is aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis) and fair practices (see 2.3 and 2.5.5), the role of art awards (see 7.2.3), and the development of visual arts policy and professionalism in the sector in general — which had a different historical trajectory than other disciplines. In his recent Strategic Vision Statement on the Arts, current Minister of Culture Jan Jambon (2019-2024) remarked that visual arts have been rather overlooked in funding for the arts.
Next to public authorities, private collections, art galleries and (non-)profit project rooms take on an important role in Flanders and Brussels, for example by providing support to exhibition spaces, lending out art works, and contributing to the development of artists’ careers. (See 3.5.1 and 7.3 for policy initiatives directed at private players in the cultural sector.) Current Minister Jambon has announced that he would look into the possibilities of stimulating collaboration between public authorities and private collectors.
The Decree on Amateur Arts (see 6.4) is the policy framework for amateur visual arts on the level of the Flemish Community. It arranges funding for KUNSTWERKT (visual arts) and BREEDBEELD (photography, audiovisual and multimedia arts), which in turn provide support for amateur artists and associations.
 Janssens, Joris, Dirk De Wit, and An Seurinck. 2018. ‘Actuele beeldende kunst in Vlaanderen. Tentoonstellingsaanbod in kaart (2013-2014)’. In Cijferboek Kunsten 2018, Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 279–98.
 For a more detailed discussion of issues in the contemporary visual arts field in Flanders and Brussels, see Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 24-35.