The state continues to be the primary sponsor of culture and the arts; however private foundations have been gaining an increasing role in this direction lately. A contemporary cultural venue established by the Onassis Foundation opened its doors to the public at the end of 2010 offering a wide variety of cultural programming, while the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is funding the construction and complete outfitting of the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera, as well as the development of the educational and cultural Stavros Niarchos Park at the Faliron region in Athens, which will be completed in 2015 when the Greek State will take over its full control and operation .
Private sponsorship of the arts decreased after an early 1990s tax exemption was withdrawn (in 1997); new provisions (2007) re-introduced establishing extensive tax exemptions for arts sponsorship, are to be approved if bona fidae by a bureau under the authority of the Ministry of Culture.
In the field of cinema, the Greek Film Centre, a corporation supervised by the Ministry of Culture, has re-focussed itself firmly as a development agency for Greek film. It now co-finances on average 15 feature films, 15 shorts and 5 documentaries yearly (films in the Greek language and/or made by people of Greek nationality or origin), supports a regional network of movie theatres screening Greek and European Union films, encourages synergies between private and public sector and supports the development of Greek cinema.
Independent (private) theatre and dance companies are supported by a subsidy scheme, which was recently rationalised through the establishment of a Register of cultural organisations in order to follow a more consistent set of criteria for funding.
Earlier cultural policy, based on the integration and synergy between cultural heritage and cultural action, and the state and local government, is gradually replaced by a shift towards accountability and financial exploitation of cultural goods using private sector criteria, encouraged through the establishment of “showcase” events for the promotion of Greek performing arts abroad, and supporting measures for the cultural sector.
There is no single comprehensive law for the culture industries as a whole, as they are not really considered to be a cohesive field of activity (broadcast media, in particular, being considered as a separate field and regulated by a separate Law, 2328/1995). A separate Law on the Support and Development of the Art of Cinema (Law, 3905/2010) regulates the film industry, overseen by the arms-length Greek Film Centre.