Amateur arts and folk culture
Amateur arts have always played an important role in the cultural life of the country. Amateurism is mainly developed through the formation of clubs in the field of music, theatre, film, literature, folklore, fine arts, etc. The Ministry of Culture provides modest financial support for some of their activities.
The Cinema Union is comprised of 19 amateur film clubs from several towns. Since 1996, it has been a legitimate member of the International Union of Amateur Film whose head office is in the Netherlands. During the period 1956 and 2000, it is estimated that 1 353 amateur films have been made in the country.
According to the latest data (2017), there are 8 amateur theatres, with 138 active members. In 2017, they organized 99 performances attended by 19 287 visitors (in 2010, there were 67 performances, attended by 9 262 visitors).
Until December 2000, 15 amateur clubs were designated the status of national cultural institution which meant that the Ministry of Culture provided salaries for approximately thirty employees. Since the beginning of 2001, these clubs have been receiving funds only for programme activities.
Cultural houses and community cultural clubs
The primary mission of cultural houses and cultural centres is to conduct activities in the field of culture and to facilitate cultural life on the local level. In addition to professional programmes, amateurism is a special target of these institutions, through the establishment of amateur clubs in the field of music, theatre, film, literature, folklore, fine arts, etc.
Some of these cultural houses did function on a satisfactory level, performing continuous and varied activities, while there were some whose existence was noticeable only in the payrolls of the Ministry of Culture. Until the 1990s, there were around 50 cultural houses located throughout the country.
According to the Government’s Decision on the Network of National Institutions in the Field of Culture (December 2003), cultural houses have become local institutions financed by the local government. Very few of them, located in Bitola, Prilep, Strumica, Stip etc., were transformed into cultural centres, thus unifying several institutions into one including professional theatres, libraries, art galleries etc.