The public cultural institutions can have various and heterogeneous legal status. However the activity of the institutions can determine which status is best suited:
- non-profit or charity institutions: associations (associations loi 1901) or foundations. The association loi 1901 is a recurrent type of cultural institution and in 2011 there were 267 000 cultural associations, which represents around one fifth of the associations (see chapter 1.2.5);
- commercial activity: different statuses exist like the société à responsabilité limitée (SARL), société anonyme (SA), sociétés coopératives et participatives (SCOP), sociétés coopératives d’intérêt collectif (SCIC), société d’économie mixte; and
- public companies: direct public management, public management with financial autonomy, communal or intercommunal syndicate, mixed syndicate, “public institution” (établissement public)…
Partnership between public authorities (ministries, DRAC, territorial authorities, institutions) is, in most cases, the basic operating mode of the majority of public cultural institutions (see chapter 1.2.6).