Professional arts organisations are founded mostly in the form of associations that are able to execute their own activities in the Czech Republic (CR). Some of them are supported by grants from the Ministry of Culture. The majority (except for writers’ associations) are financed only on a project basis. The Czech Writers’ Guild and some other associations in the field of literature are rarely financed on an annual basis. There is no special endowment instrument for their support in general and their survival is dependent on the contributions of their members.
There are fifty different professional organisations in the Czech Republic in every branch and area of the arts. A number of new such organisations have been established in recent years – for example, the Czech Association of Festivals, the Association of Independent Theatres, and the Music Managers Forum in the field of non-classical music.
There are also branches of UNESCO’s international NGOs operating in the Czech Republic, such as ITI in theatre, UNIMA in puppetry, and ICOM in the museum sector, etc. These centres largely function as platforms for the particular cultural or professional sphere they are focused on, bringing together representatives of other professional organisations and individuals.
A specific shift occurred in connection with the COVID-19 crisis in terms of how professional artists organise themselves in associations and platforms, as the crisis immediately gave rise to several new professional associations that are largely devoted to the work of cultural advocacy. These include, most notably, the Czech Music Community, the ambition of which is to unite the music industry, which has been rather disunited up to now, and there are also some associations on the regional level, such as the Moravian-Silesian Association for the Culture Sector.
Some professional organisations are also members of what are known as ‘cultural tripartites’ (the state, employers, and professional organisations in the culture sector). These are primarily found in the areas of theatre and classical music.
Although improvements have been observed in recent years in how well organised artists are into professional associations, there remain gaps, and these are especially noticeable in the area of the visual arts. This negatively impacts the ability of visual artists to secure support and protection in their profession.