The Italian Ministry of Culture has a specific General Direction for Contemporary Creativity, (DG Creatività Contemporanea), supporting arts and contemporary architecture – urban planning, photography, video-art, design and fashion, and the creative and cultural industries.
One of the most important policy tools is the Pact for Contemporary Art (PAC) established in 2001, focused on implementing the public stock of contemporary arts through a policy of purchasing artwork from Italian and international artists (see chapter 7.2.1). The PAC also supports museums and public institutions to enlarge and increase their collections. One of the important goals of the PAC is increasing the public commissioning of artworks for emerging and established artists, also for site specific works.
Another domain of intervention is represented by the promotion of comics at national and international level, helping network strategies at national level to get the critical mass for better communication.
PAC sustains museums, non profit associations, foundations, and cultural institutions promoting comics in Italy and abroad through festivals, exhibitions and other initiatives.
The Photography Strategy, 2020 (Strategia Fotografia 2020) aims to exploit the potential of contemporary photography as a tool for preserving memories and understanding society, nurturing a critical look at contemporary times. It supports four axes of different actions: purchasing, commissioning, conservation and displaying Italian and international photography: they are addressed to non-profit organisations and cultural institutions active in promoting photography.
A big player in the field of contemporary visual arts is represented by the MAXXI Museum in Rome, which is a large campus for culture in the fields of contemporary architecture and visual arts, with the mission of bridging past forms of art with contemporary creativity, being a laboratory of innovation, and experimentation of new languages.
The MAXXI Foundation as a National Museum, created directly by the Ministry of Culture, is not a standing alone institution: a large number of contemporary visual arts museums is diffused in all the territories, underlying the important role of the regions and local government in promoting the contemporary visual arts, starting from the pioneering experiences of the Rivoli Museum in Piedmont (1984) and the Pecci museum in Tuscany (1988).
Departments of culture of cities and regions are active not only as funding museums but also in promoting a large number of temporary exhibitions of visual art, as one of the most important axes of activity, notwithstanding a sensible decrease in the last decade due to the huge cutbacks to public funds for culture.
Visual arts represents also a domain in which the banking foundations are particularly active, whether increasing their private collections or sustaining foundations, museums and cultural institutions. Adding to this also, the financial institutions can play a key role in the visual arts, as in the case of the cultural Pole of Gallerie d’Italia, three museums and exhibition centres located in Milano, Napoli and Vicenza managed by Intesa San Paolo, the biggest banking group in Italy, with a network of partnerships within prestigious institutions active in the visual arts domain. A new venue devoted to photography will be opened on 2022 in the centre of Turin.
As far as artistic crafts are concerned, actions of promotion, exhibitions and different forms of support are more relevant at the local level (not always involving cultural departments) rather than at the national level. In this field the main stakeholders and actors are trade unions, professional organisations, Chambers of Commerce, and the CNA National Confederation of Craftsmanship, (Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola Industria).
Anyway, at national level, starting from 2022 the Ministry of Culture established a measure of some tax exemption for those crafts activities that move toward small centres, contributing to preserving the vitality of the internal areas of the country.