Since 1999, six state cultural awards have been granted yearly “for outstanding artistic accomplishments” in different fields of culture by the Government of the Republic based on proposals made by a separate Committee chaired by the Minister of Culture. Twenty cultural grants are awarded yearly for artistic projects or professional studies by a directive of the Minister. Even legal persons and establishments are eligible for these grants.
Most of the existing grants are administered by state-run foundations – the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Council for Gambling Taxes (see also chapter 1.2.2). The larger of the two, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, is divided between departments for Architecture, Film, Fine Arts, Theatre, Music, Literature, Folk Art, Sports, and Inter-disciplinary Culture. The Councils of the different departments are free to decide how to allocate their share of the resources and have adopted different practices in dividing the grants. Among the activities supported are studies, travels, concrete projects, in the form of individual grants that are given four times per year. In addition, prizes for outstanding creative works have been given (from 2002, two prizes yearly), as well as additional pensions for retired artists. The Board of the Endowment is chaired by the Minister of Culture, but it lacks any other form of official subordination to the Ministry or to other political bodies. On the other hand, the Council for Gambling Taxes includes politically nominated representatives and its decisions are prepared by the relevant ministries.