Denmark has separate state support systems for individual creative and practising artists, just as in the other Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland). This is an exceptional dimension in the so-called Nordic Cultural Model.
The role of The Danish Arts Foundation (Statens Kunstfond) is to promote Danish creative artists. By use of the arms-length principle, the Danish Arts Foundation distributes funding and grants to individual artists in the form of scholarships, bursaries, commission honoraria and prizes, purchases of works of visual art, crafts and design for depositing in state institutions and providing visual artworks in public buildings and facilities. The Danish Arts Foundation was established by the Danish government in 1964. The Foundation’s sphere of activity is defined by the Arts Foundation Act passed by the Parliament in 1964. The Foundation’s appropriation is determined by the annual government budget.
Since 2003, the secretariat of The Danish Arts Foundation has been administered by The Danish Arts Agency (now the Danish Cultural Agency).
The role of the Danish Arts Council (Kunstrådet) is to promote the development of art in Denmark and Danish art abroad. The Council has two principal tasks:
- to provide support for artistic endeavours within the fields of literature, performing arts, visual arts and music; and
- to counsel public authorities regarding matters within the Council’s sphere of activity.
The Danish Arts Council may take independent initiatives and express itself on matters that fall within its area of competence. The Council’s sphere of activity and tasks are defined by the Arts Council Act (Law on the Danish Arts Council, No 230 of 2 April 2003. The scope of the Council’s grants is determined by the annual Finance Act. The Danish Arts Council was established on 1 July 2003 to replace a list of independent councils on individual cultural areas.
The Danish Arts Agency, which from 1 January 2012 is called the Danish Agency for Culture, is an administrative unit under the Danish Ministry of Culture. The agency administers the financial support provided for artists and artistic activities by the Danish state, which is mainly granted by the two arms-length bodies: the Danish Arts Council and the Danish Arts Foundation. The Danish Arts Agency is also responsible for the international cultural exchange programmes of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and facilitates continuous cultural exchange between Denmark and foreign countries in the fields of literature, music, the performing arts and the visual arts.
See also chapter 4.2.1 on legislation for culture and chapter 4.1.6 on copyright.