The artistic and cultural creativity is supported on the state level in several ways:
- direct budgetary support for projects of national interest through annual public competition in all cultural fields, regardless of the status of the institution or the artist;
- direct budgetary contributions for independent artists (retirement, health insurance etc.);
- indirect support through tax and customs deductions and
- ad hoc support from the reserve budgetary funds for projects outside the competition procedure.
Through public competition, the Ministry of Culture also supports the professional development of talented young artists and professionals in the area of film, theatre, music, dance, literature, visual arts, and protection of movable and immovable cultural heritage. The priority is given to studies that do not exist within the Macedonian educational system.
Other examples of direct support include: an annual open competition for artists to spend time at Cité International des Arts in Paris, and several state awards (“11th October” Award which is the most important national award; “St, Kliment Award” etc.) given to artists (on public competition) as a recognition for their life-time achievement.
The Ministry of Culture provides funding for the annual awards given by professional artists association to their members for special achievements.
In 2008, the Ministry of Culture announced the introduction of a new category / position of “national artist”. The title was reserved for the most significant artists as a recognition of their contribution to the development and popularisation of Macedonian art and culture. The Law on National Artists was approved in 2011. The title was awarded by the President of the Republic, based on the proposal from the Minister of Culture. The title provided a lifelong monthly payment of 1 000 EUR and a monograph of his / her work to be published by the Ministry of Culture. Another form of direct support to artists was the so called “national pension”, which was awarded to significant artists and experts in the protection of cultural heritage. The artists and experts who were awarded this lifelong national pension actually got the difference between their pension and the highest pension in the country.
However, having in mind the actual practice within the last decade, the new Government determined that these two new categories were a kind of political corruption to the artists and cultural workers enforced by the former government. The Ministry of Culture consequently annulled the laws in 2018.
Until the end of 2000, professional artists associations were treated as national institutions and were completely financed (salaries, running costs, annual programmes etc.) by the Ministry of Culture. Pursuant to the government policy of reducing the number of employees in public administration and in accordance with the Law on Citizens’ Associations and Foundations, professional artists associations are now treated as civil associations i.e. only their projects are funded.
Through an open yearly competition, the Ministry of Culture provides international membership fee costs for the professional associations (ICOM, ICOMOS, AICA, FREEPRESCI, BLUE SHIELD etc.).
(See also chapter 4.1.3)