Like everywhere in Europe, the most decisive element of private funding to culture is through citizens’ spending on cultural goods and events – see household expenditure in chapter 6.3. Individual citizens’ donations and patronage are sporadic and peripheral.
Citizens can express their choice through the 1% scheme, by channelling 1% of their income tax to selected non profit making bodies. Less than 5% is allocated year by year to culture, yet most of this is addressed to groups that are little favoured by public resources. Crowdfunding shows a similar leaning but generates insignificant sums.
Intermediate cases are private investments in culture, especially when they generate impressive values. An exemplary instance is BMC, the Budapest Music Centre, legally a limited company, and financed from public and private sources. A regular exhibitor at the MIDEM in Cannes, BMC mainly focuses on contemporary music and jazz. The government contributed both to the construction and the operation of the institution. The new BMC building in the centre of Budapest has a concert hall, a smaller stage for jazz events, combined with a restaurant, residence area, music archive and offices.
Another case is Orlai Productions, a private theatre enterprise with a respectable scale of performances. Art galleries, concert and festival organisers, and book publishers are almost all private businesses.
Conventional sponsorship is dominated by state companies, with Szerencsejáték Rt (lottery and betting), MVM (electricity), and Hungarian Development Bank the main contributors, run with little or no transparency and with tangible political bias.
Most cultural projects display impressive lists of sponsors’ and donors’ names, with contributions not statistically detectable as they are mainly in-kind and have not necessarily entered the budgets of the organisations. The tax regulations contain certain incentive measures, but this exerts negligible effect.
A peculiar project is the Prima Primissima Award, initiated in 2003 by wealthy entrepreneurs and their companies. It includes ten categories: next to science, sport, or media there are art categories as well. Winners – mostly individuals but also organisations – are selected by juries and popular votes, and get important amounts, up to 20 million HUF.
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