Direct support to artists in the form of grants and subsidies is sporadic and is not part of a long-term programme. In most cases, support is granted upon specific request by the interested party and does not result from a policy in favour of local artists.
There are many grants available to promote the participation of San Marino artists in events abroad as well as to bring foreign artists to San Marino.
ASART, an artist association founded in 1978 (belonging to and financed by the Council of Cultural Associations and Cooperatives) offers financial assistance to a maximum of two San Marino artists per year, who wish to exhibit their works. It also provides travel and accommodation funds artists to participate in meetings, exhibitions and workshops organised in major European cities. However, these cannot be considered as real scholarships to attend special courses or nor as special subsidies to young artists or initiatives aimed at promoting local cultural programmes.
In the framework of the project “Promotion of talent in the art of dance”, the Ministry of Education and Culture, in cooperation with San Marino dance schools and the San Marino Music Institute, established a few scholarships for talented young people from San Marino in 2008. These scholarships are designed to allow them to take part in high level initiatives in Europe and outside Europe. This is a pilot project to be developed in the future, aimed at giving more opportunities to San Marino young people to express themselves in a sector which has been scarcely supported by the State so far. This initiative aims at developing art together with social and cultural elements to offer young people more opportunities in the framework of a comprehensive educational process enabling them to develop all their potential.
In 2005, the NUA Association, new contemporary art and research, composed of visual artists, musicians, theatre directors, political scientists, economists and cultural operators, launched and curated a project entitled “Going beyond the countries’ art – small States on un-certain stereotypes”. In this context, a first meeting gathering artists and institutions of contemporary art from small States of Europe was held in San Marino in November 2005. An observatory / network among the artists and the institutions of Andorra, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco and San Marino is being developed to support future cooperation. This network stems from the need to go beyond the countries’ art in order to promote transnational exchanges of experiences, methodologies and instruments and to support art production and its development throughout Europe. The association keeps contacts also with Icelandic artists and institutions, with the aim of inviting them to take part in the network. Moreover, it is working to create its own Internet website, a publication and an exhibition, to be held in Milan at the “Careof & Viafarini Documentation Centre for Visual Arts”, on the activity carried out during its first 2 years of life.
The project was realised in the context of ARTMIX 2005 download, a multidisciplinary exhibition curated by the Office for Social and Cultural Activities, in collaboration with the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, and sponsored by the San Marino Foundation. This initiative intends to favour the various forms of artistic creation, training and promotion, taking into account the best projects, also of international character, presented by associations and groups on the territory.
The International Centre for Contemporary Art also provides some support to facilitate exchange between San Marino and international artists. The Centre is expected to host – for a maximum period of two or three months – some international artists who are selected by a special committee, to work together with San Marino artists on an artistic project for the country. The Centre will offer some grants to participate in training courses abroad, will make some of its structures available for the organisation of exhibitions, performances, concerts and theatre events and will manage the participation of San Marino artists in the Art Biennials. Moreover, another important task of the Centre will be to become a point of reference for any information on courses, exhibition areas and training opportunities. The Centre is also expected to organise artistic and cultural events, such as readings, exhibitions, courses and meetings for schools, social groups and the public in general. Finally, through its workshops, the Centre will provide some services for internal artistic production, as well as for other activities such as the production and post-production of videos, graphic designs, web sites and multimedia products.
In 2006, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of the General Arengo (Assembly) of the Heads of Family (an event which marked in San Marino the beginning of modern parliamentary democracy), the Ministry responsible for Information and Cultural Institutes announced a competition for to artists, either San Marino citizens or residents, for the realisation of a commemorative work on paper or canvas in a free-form technique. The winning work, typographically reproduced on the information material of the celebration events, was exhibited in the Government Building. The winner received a cash award.
In the framework of the initiatives promoted by the San Marino Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe – characterised, in particular, by the support and enhancement of dialogue among cultures and religions – a competition was advertised for the project of a sculpture to be placed in a very symbolic place, at the foot of Mount Titano, a transit point for anyone going to the city centre of San Marino. The project winning the first prize is called “Different / Equal” and immediately suggests the message of dialogue and equality that the author wanted to convey (see also chapter 5.3.5 and chapter 1.3.3).
In 2007, the Minister responsible for Youth Policies launched a competition to create the logo and postcard to be used on the occasion of the initiatives addressed to San Marino young people. The competition was intended to give voice to the artistic expression of this group of society, recalling the concepts of participation, active citizenship, creativity, tendency to form associations, youth involvement, culture of young people, and cultural changes. The prize was presented on the occasion of the first Conference on Youth Policies, held in October 2007 and organised by the State, with the co-operation of the main San Marino Youth Associations.
In view of the Shanghai Universal Expo 2010, the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Government Commissioner for the Expo, launched a photographic competition entitled “San Marino City-State. The smallest and most ancient Republic in the world”. The aim was to acquire images representing the various aspects of San Marino in order to realise the official catalogue of the San Marino pavilion in China. The winners, 12 out of 658 works submitted, received a prize in money, besides having their works published. With the promotion of this competition, San Marino has further added significance to its participation in the Expo, which has been defined as an extraordinary event considering that after the Second World War the Republic participated only in two Expos: in Brussels in 1958 and in Lisbon in 1998. Another competition was launched in 2008, always by the Ministry of Tourism, for the project of the San Marino pavilion in Shanghai.
Following the inclusion in 2008 of San Marino in the UNESCO World Heritage List (see chapter 2.9 for the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value adopted by UNESCO), the Ministries of Territory and Tourism, with the support of the San Marino Foundation – Cassa di Risparmio – SUMS, launched a competition to design the signs for the “Historic Centre of San Marino and Mount Titano – World Heritage Site”. The aim of this competition, included among the initiatives envisaged by the Property Management Plan (see Law n. 133/2009 Framework Law on the Protection, Management, Enhancement and Promotion of the Property “Historic Centre of San Marino and Mount Titano”) for the World Heritage List of UNESCO was to continue to strengthen and protect the historical, architectural, landscape and cultural heritage, while respecting the values of authenticity and integrity recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
In San Marino there exists no Internet database or printed guide on the major cultural awards and grants, both for the public sector – at a national and municipal level – and for the private sector. Information is disseminated exclusively through the media: television, radio, web portals and newspapers. The website of Little Constellation (international network of contemporary art in geo-cultural micro areas and in the small States of Europe, see chapter 1.4.3) publishes announcements, awards and grants destined to the artists of the small States.