Currently, there are seventeen national associations for creative artists. The associations have been officially recognised by the Ministry of Culture. The newest among them are the associations for dance artists, arts scholars / curators and landscape architects, recognised in 2012-2014:
- Eesti Kirjanike Liit (writers);
- Eesti Kunstnike Liit (visual artists);
- Eesti Lavastajate Liit (theatre directors);
- Eesti Kinoliit (cinema workers);
- Eesti Lavastuskunstnike Liit (scenographers);
- Eesti Näitlejate Liit (professional actors);
- Eesti Heliloojate Liit (composers);
- Eesti Esitajate Liit (performing musicians, copyright issues);
- Eesti Interpreetide Liit (professional musicians);
- Eesti Arhitektide Liit (architects);
- Eesti Sisearhitektide Liit (interior decorators);
- Eesti Kujundusgraafikute Liit (graphic designers);
- Eesti Kutseliste Tantsijate Loomeliit (professional dancers);
- Eesti Disainerite Liit (designers);
- Eesti Tantsukunstnike Liit (dance artists);
- Eesti Kunstiteadlaste ja Kuraatorite Ühing (arts scholars and curators); and
- Eesti Maastikuarhitektide Liit (landscape architects).
During recent years, the unions have increasingly started to act as trade unions guarding the economic and political interests of their profession.
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia is the main body that distributes public subsidies to professional artists’ unions. The Act on Creative Artists and Creative Artists’ Unions which entered into force on 1 January 2005 introduces an additional source of government funding. It sets the yearly subsidies for the unions to be calculated by multiplying one average monthly wage in Estonia by the number of the members of the respective union. However, the income support for freelance artists provided for by the same Act has to be paid from the same amount; the subsidies then remaining can be used by the union for the financing of other types of grants for study and creative work. The legislation provides tax benefits, a guaranteed minimum income, and social and health insurance for freelance artists for a limited period.