San Marino artists do not benefit from specific measures which are part of a well-structured and long-term cultural policy framework. The only legislative provision promoting the artists work, is Law n. 6 of 1983, regulating arts in public buildings (see chapter 4.2.7).
While this void has created a great deal of uncertainly and lack of confidence within the arts community, it remains lively. One of their main demands was the creation of the International Centre for Contemporary Art, with the full support of government institutions, mainly those responsible for culture. The objective of this Centre is to develop and promote artistic research and creativity through meetings and exchanges among artists, the public and those operating in the contemporary art sector in San Marino and abroad (see also chapter 7.2.3).
A public rehearsal hall for music groups has been created within the Parco del Sorbo, a park in the locality of Ventoso, thanks to the interest and contribution of the Township Council of Borgo Maggiore (see chapter 1.2.4 for details on the Township Councils). In this hall, which has also an aggregating and socialising function, young people can meet and develop their artistic and creative sides.
Following input from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Culture in 2008, the Congress of State positively assessed the opportunity to resume San Marino’s participation in the Venice Biennale, which was interrupted in 1986. San Marino has taken part in the international architecture and art exhibition with a selection of experimental projects created in the framework of seminars and workshops at the University of San Marino. On the occasion of the 11th Biennale of Architecture, the San Marino exhibition entitled “South Out There” was organised in Palazzo Zorzi, seat of UNESCO in Venice, with the support of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation. The proposed theme included a study concerning objects useful in everyday life in countries of the South of the world. The participation of San Marino in the Venice Biennale after 22 years (its last participation dates back to 1986, with the project SANTACHIARA) was certainly an extremely important international event, also from a social point of view. The aims of the project were indeed in line with a tradition based on values such as respect for the rights of the weakest, solidarity and humanitarian interventions, which have always characterised the commitment of San Marino in the international community.
In 2009, with a view to enhancing the artistic ideal of its young people, San Marino participated again in the Venice Biennale by offering twelve artists the opportunity to represent the Republic at one of the most prestigious artistic events in the world. “43° 56′ 11.77″ North. Making Worlds” is the title of the specific project presented by San Marino, with the geographic coordinates of the parallel passing through the Statue of Liberty (one of the San Marino symbols) and symbolically rotating around the planet. This testifies to the commitment of San Marino to participate, as a protagonist, in the making of worlds, the theme of the 53rd International Arts Exhibition. Also in this case, the contribution of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation was fundamental to export the image of the Republic outside its territorial borders and to present qualitative initiatives. “Project 43” was created in 2011: the artists’ association A.S.A.R.T. took the Venetian idea and extended it, through some adjustments, to all San Marino artists, by providing this idea with a renewed impetus. This project involves the display of San Marino artists’ works all over the world, through exhibitions in cities located on the 43rd parallel north. The project is based on the enhancement of the freedom of expression, formal and informal, and of artistic research, as well as on the interaction and social integration of “new States of art”.
In 2010, San Marino participated in the 12th Biennale of Architecture in Venice, with a research project on arts in San Marino, ranging from the most prestigious international names to San Marino architects, as seen through the lenses of selected photographers. This research also raised the important question of architectural quality in San Marino. The government continues to guarantee San Marino participation in the prestigious Biennale of Venice, which is considered an excellent international occasion to promote the cultural, artistic and architectural aspects of the Country.
Also in 2011, the 54th edition of the International Art Exhibition in Venice entitled “ILLUMINAZIONI” hosted a San Marino pavilion with the participation of 13 artists. Four art forms were proposed – painting, sculpture, installations and videos – all based on “Light in action”, the theme chosen by San Marino.
After four years, in 2015 San Marino participated again in the Venice Biennale (56th edition). The “San Marino – China Friendship Project” offered a group of artists from San Marino the chance to exchange views on topical issues with Chinese artists from different tendencies and experiences within four ancient Venetian palaces. The project, which was inspired by modern conflicts, aimed at providing a new idea of friendship and cooperation between peoples, combining the Republic of San Marino and the People’s Republic of China which are bound by a strong tie of friendship (see also chapter 2.5.1).
Since 1992, the Republic of San Marino has always participated in the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, the most important Mediterranean event concerning young people’s creativity, which every two years hosts young artists in visual and plastic arts, architecture, strip cartoons, music, dance theatre, design, literature, cinema, video, performance, town planning and gastronomy. This event is promoted by the BJCM, International Association of the Biennale, a network made up of Ministries, local bodies, public administrations and private associations, of which San Marino is also a founding member. Since the early 1990s, the Republic has enabled several San Marino young artists to participate in the selections and about one hundred of them have been admitted to the various editions. Moreover, San Marino has offered them the opportunity to create and propose special projects (such as the Sanmarinosarajevo Project) and to participate in international events like the Biennale Big Torino or the Sarajevo Winter Festival. Through the Biennale, San Marino artists have had the opportunity to show their talent in an international context and to participate in exchange, reflection and training circuits concerning the contemporary artistic world (for further information on the Biennale, see chapter 2.5.1). In all cases, these are international events boasting a long tradition and great relevance. The participation of San Marino is undoubtedly prestigious for the Country and enables it to show its specific features and promote its international image and visibility beyond the arts sector.
With regard to music, in 2010 an Italian singer of Eritrean origins, Senit, was designated to represent the Republic of San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest – Eurofestival, the singing event most followed by the European public. The decision to choose a singer without any connection with our State raised criticism and debate among the San Marino population and this issue was also discussed in Parliament. The committee explained that sponsorship was difficult to obtain for unknown artists. San Marino RTV has guaranteed that the objective in the next years will be to make an internal selection among San Marino artists and to be able to support the selected singer with a huge production and communication structure, so as to ensure the best possible presentation during the contest. And so it was: for 2012 the country will be represented by a San Marino citizen, Valentina Monetta, as it was the case in 2008 with the band Miodio; the 2008 edition also marked the debut of San Marino in this music event. The 2012 choice has been warmly welcomed in the country, where this artist is already known.
In 2013 San Marino participated for the first time in the JESC (Junior Eurovision Song Contest), the Eurovision Song Contest of young artists, now in its 12th year. The music of the participating song was written, among others, by Massimiliano Messieri, a San Marino citizen. The State television was the only one to broadcast the event in Italian.
“Supporting art”, in particular San Marino art and its roles in the Republic, is the motto of the “Art Gallery 0-24”. This project, promoted by a San Marino editor with the support of the Ministry of Culture, was launched in 2014 with the aim of creating a network of San Marino artists, compensating for the absence of projects dedicated to them and highlighting the San Marino artistic context. The first step was to offer artists, who often have difficulties in exhibiting their works, a virtual exhibition centre inside the magazine “Sorpresa!”; the second step was the group exhibition organised at the end of a charity auction, linking artists and citizens; and the third step was the publication of a catalogue, in order to create a collection of San Marino contemporary artists. This project, which gathered 32 local artists, encouraged, promoted and integrated artistic production in the local system.