Law n. 6 of 1983 is the only provision regulating arts in public buildings. Whenever San Marino public bodies decide to construct new public buildings or restore old buildings, 2% of the total projected expenditure must be allocated to works of art. In case the inclusion of paintings and sculptures is not possible, the 2% allocation will be destined to movable works of art to supplement internal furnishings.
In practice, however, this Law has not always been fully complied with in the construction of new buildings, which, over the last twenty years, has considerably increased. The newly established International Centre for Contemporary Art NUA, promoted by local artists and cultural operators, is striving for the application of this law and for the definition of artists’ professional status. In the last years, also ASART, the San Marino Association of Artists, turned to government bodies to make them aware of this need. So far, however, the numerous promises have not translated into reality.
In September 2013 two popular petitions (Istanze d’Arengo), both submitted in April of the same year, were approved by the Great and General Council (Parliament of San Marino). With reference to the first petition, in favour of the implementation of Law no. 6/1983 on art in public buildings, the majority of Parliament noted that “despite the spending review under way, art and culture cannot be renounced”; the objective is to “implement and enforce a law that has positive intents and which already exists”, so as to respond to the “heartfelt call of citizens for the promotion of arts in the country. Parliamentary debate was followed by the report made by the Minister of Culture in the Commission, who stressed the need that “part of the sums allocated to public works be destined to this purpose and ensure that future artistic work may immediately benefit from this type of support”.
The other petition involved the recognition of street art in its various forms, understood as a cultural phenomenon that contributes to the promotion of the territory. The Parliament welcomed the petition, noting unanimously the importance of recognising these forms of art, which today run the risk of being assimilated to other forms of begging, due to the lack of appropriate legislation. For this form of artistic expression to become a resource for the country, it is necessary to regulate “activities which are of strategic advantage, because they increase the cultural offer of the city, without any special charges for the public administration.” The proposal has already received the approval of the Township Councils (local government, see chapter 1.2.4). Indeed, the approval of the petition has an impact on the management of public spaces in the various Castles.
In drafting a law on this issue, the Ministry of Culture intends, above all, to repeal the specific provision in the criminal code according to which street artists (when “asking for the hat”, i.e. asking for money in exchange for their artistic performance) are similar to beggars, and thus punishable by law. In addition, there is the intention to designate a specific outdoor space for such activities, to be assigned through a booking system, together with the necessary facilities.
The following legislation has been categorised according to (a) its scope of application; (b) the role and functions of bodies operating within that scope:
(a) Law n. 87 of 19 July 1995 – Single text of Town Planning and Building Laws.
Law n. 30 of 18 February 1998 – General rules on the State Accounting System.
Law n. 133 of 22 September 2009 – Framework Law on the protection, management, enhancement and promotion of the property “Historic Centre of San Marino and Mount Titano”, included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
(b) Law n. 35 of 27 October 1972 – Provisions for the Conservative and Restoration of Historical Centres.
Law n. 98 of 11 December 1980 – Reestablishment of the Commission referred to in Title II of Law n. 17 of 10 June 1919.
Law n. 58 of 8 July 1981 – Protection of Rural Buildings of particular Historical, Environmental and Cultural Interest.