7. Financing and support
Last update: February, 2022
Expenditures allocated by the state in the field of culture shall be determined within the Law on the State Budget of Georgia.
The Law on the State Budget of Georgia for 2021 allocates the funds for culture, art, sport, youth policy and other activities through the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
GDP for 2021 is calculated as GEL 53 443 000 000. Public cultural expenditure is GEL 191 997 470.
In 2021, the public cultural expenditure in percentage of GDP is 0.35% respectively.
Table 5: Public cultural expenditure per capita in Georgia, in GEL, 2001, 2010 and 2021
|GDP||% of GDP||Population||Expenditure per capita|
|2001||29 435 600||6 647 100 000||0.44||4 401 400||6.68|
|2010||96 583 700||28 118 900 000||0.34||4 401 300||21.9|
|2021||191 997 470||53 443 000 000||0.35||3 728 600||51.49|
* In 2000-2003: Ministry of Culture. From 2004-2010: Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports. Since 2010: Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection. Since 2018: Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Since 2021: Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
In comparison to other European countries, public cultural expenditure per capita in Georgia is very low:
- GEL 51.99 (or 14.30 EUR) in 2021, respectively, or 0.35 % of GDP in 2021;
- GEL 21.9 (or 8.7 EUR) in 2010, respectively, or 0.46 % of GDP in 2010;
- GEL 6.68 (or 4 EUR) in 2001, respectively, or 0.44 % of GDP in 2001.
An increase in per capita expenditure is related to the general growth of GDP.
The total budget of Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia was:
- In 2018– GEL 149 379 900 (fact)
- In 2019 - GEL 170 378 400 (fact)
- In 2020 - GEL 104 746 400 (target)
However, only GEL 13 243 600 was spent on culture in 2020 (fact)
This was due to the crisis caused by Covid-19, whereupon the budget was significantly reduced.
Noteworthy is that from 2018 to March 2021, the cultural sector was a part of the joint Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. Information on the funds spent on culture individually is not available. The budget of the newly established Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia was defined only for 2021 - GEL 22 454 000 (target) and for 2022- GEL 41 374 000 (target).
Last update: September, 2018
Table 12: Public cultural expenditure: by level of government, 2010
|Level of government||Total expenditure in GEL||Total expenditure in EUR||
|State (central, federal)||96 583 700 GEL||40 243 208 EUR||100%|
|Regional (provincial, Länder, etc.)||N/A||---||------|
|Local (municipal, incl. counties)||N/A||---||-----|
|TOTAL||96 583 700 GEL||40 243 208 EUR||100%|
Source: Ministry of Finance.
Data for local budgets are not available.
Table 13: State budget funds earmarked for the programmes to be implemented by spending institutions, in thousand GEL, 2012-2015
|LINE ITEM||Total 2012||
|Ministry for Culture and Protection Monuments||95 067.6||81 500.0||98 775.00||85 000.0||99 430.5||85 000.0|
|Policy making and programme management in the field of culture and protection of monuments||3 569.0||3 569.0||4 569.0||4 569.0||4 569.0||4 569.0|
|Arts development and promotion in Georgia and overseas||54 698.0||49 819.7||54 629.0||49 821.0||54 689.0||49 821.0|
|Stimulation of the arts education system||16 619.6||10 143.5||18 403.5||11 903.5||18 855.5|
|Protection of cultural heritage and improvement of museum system||20 181.0||17 967.8||21 173.5||18 706.5||21 317.0||18 706.5|
Last update: February, 2022
Table 7: Direct state cultural expenditure and transfers (central level)*: by sector, 2021, in 1000 of national currency- GEL
|Field/Domain/Sub-domain||TOTAL||of which: Direct expenditure**|
(of government or its agencies)
|of which: Transfers**|
|in 1000||in %||to other|
levels of government
|to NGOs, companies, individuals|
|I. Cultural Heritage||42 724 500||22.28||42 724 500||N/A||N/A|
|Historical Monuments||19 825 000||10.37||19 825 000||N/A||N/A|
|Museums||12 239 000||6.37||12 239 000||N/A||N/A|
|Archives*||5 900 000||3.07||5 900 000||N/A||N/A|
|Libraries**||90 000||0.04||90 000||N/A||N/A|
|Intangible Heritage / Folk Culture||4 670 500||2.43||4 670 500||N/A||N/A|
|II. Visual Arts||450 900||0.22||-||N/A||450 900|
|Fine Arts / Plastic Arts||400 900||0.2||-||N/A||400 900|
|Photography||50 000||0.02||-||N/A||50 000|
|Design / Applied Arts||N/A||-||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|III. Performing Arts||44 018 500||23||44 018 500||N/A||N/A|
|Music||6 485 000||3.46||6 485 000||N/A||N/A|
|Theatre, Music Theatre, Dance||37 533 500||19.54||37 533 500||N/A||N/A|
|IV. Books and Press||2 610 000||1.2||2 610 000||N/A||N/A|
|Books***||2 610 000||1.2||2 610 000||N/A||N/A|
|V. Audiovisual and Multimedia||77 988 000||40.61||77 988 000||N/A||N/A|
|Cinema||8 788 000||4.57||8 788 000||N/A||N/A|
|Television||69 200 000||36.04||69 200 000||N/A||N/A|
|VI. Interdisciplinary||19 848 000||10.33||19 848 000||N/A||N/A|
|Socio-culture||2 027 940||1.05||2 027 940||N/A||N/A|
|Cultural Relations Abroad||1 710 190||0.89||1 710 190||N/A||N/A|
|Cultural Education****||16 110 400||8.39||16 110 400||N/A||N/A|
|VII. Not covered by domain I-VI||4 357 040||2.26||4 357 040||N/A||N/A|
|Research in the field of culture||148 000||0.07||148 000||N/A||N/A|
|Reduction of damage from Covid -19||3 423 100||1.78||3 423 100||N/A||N/A|
|Innovation projects||415 940||0.21||415 940||N/A||N/A|
|Creative Georgia||370 000||0.2||370 000||N/A||N/A|
|TOTAL||191 997 470||100||191 546 570||N/A||450 900|
Source: State Budget of Georgia, the Ministry of Finance. https://www.mof.ge/4536
Note: The data for sectors is only available for the national budget; the data for municipalities is not available.
*Archives (within the budget of the Ministry of Justice).
**Libraries (National) (within the budget of the Parliament of Georgia).
***Books (within the budget of the National Centre for Georgian Books)
****TV and Radio (direct financing from state budget).
The figures in the table reflect only the central budget expenditures.
Other information on cultural funding is sporadic; apart from individual large cities, information is not available at the local government level.
Information on cultural transfers by sector is also unavailable.
At the beginning of 2021, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia was divided into two - the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth. The latter has not made its budget public as of December 2021, and information on it is available only from the consolidated state budget.
Therefore, the funds according to the sectors are given mainly according to the consolidated state budget and some programmes announced by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
The data in the table are taken from the Law on the State Budget for 2021 published by the Ministry of Finance.
The ratio by sectors is mostly similar in recent years. The greater amount of funds in the audiovisual sector is due to the growing budget of the state broadcaster.
Last update: February, 2022
Until 2004, the state supported artists through art unions. During the Soviet period, indirect support to artists was available in the form of space for studios and low rent for shops, distribution of tools and materials, etc. This type of indirect support is no longer available.
At the state level, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection provided funds for competitions for professionals working in several fields (e.g. theatre, cinema, publishing, music, etc), for general cultural actions (reproduction, transmission, etc.) and extra-cultural actions (education, IT, etc.).
Up to 2012, the Presidential National Programme supported folklore, music seasons/events and ballet arts (in 2009 this programme amounted to 25 890 000 GEL).
There are no special programmes to provide pensions or health contributions for freelance artists.
The IV strategic area of the "Culture Strategy 2025", adopted in 2016, is devoted to increasing Funding of Culture.
"Strategic Goals: The sustainability of cultural funding is safeguarded, diverse and transparent funding mechanisms are introduced and employment in cultural sector is attractive.
4.1 Objective: Culture is funded from all budgetary levels; from diversified sources - innovative funding and stimulation measures are introduced, there is greater motivation for the private sector to allocate funds for culture; funds are distributed transparently and efficiently.
4.2 Objective: The State helps the creation of employment opportunities for the specialists of culture and the arts; supports the provision of convenient working conditions for them and, considering the specifics of cultural professions, respectively develops social protection mechanisms"
However, there are still no changes: social safeguarding mechanisms have not been introduced, there is no diversification of financing, and there is no improvement in working conditions. In 2021, the State programme "Reduction of damage from COVID-19" amounted to 3 423 100 GEL.
Last update: February, 2022
Georgia does not have special funds or public procurement programmes for artists.
Other information is currently not available.
Last update: February, 2022
A special programme of state awards in literature, art and architecture, as well as a programme for the support of gifted youth, now operates in Georgia.
Art workers' awards are as follows:
- Order of Honor; and
- Medal of Honor.
These awards are given for exclusive achievements in various fields of culture and art. The candidates are nominated by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
The following awards are given by the Committee for State Awards in literature, art and architecture:
- Shota Rustaveli State Award (once in three years); and
- State Award of Georgia (annually).
Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth gives the following awards in drama and music – for vocal ensembles, opera and Estrada singers and folklorists.
In addition to the State Awards, there are awards given by the Union of Theatre Workers, by the Artists' Union; by the Music Society.
Notable awards instituted by private organizations
- “Saba” - an annual literary award was founded in 2003. The founders of the award are TBC Bank and the Pen Centre. “The winners of the “Saba” prizes are awarded for their special contribution to the development of literature. The award fund amounts to 52 thousand GEL, which is awarded to the winners by TBC Bank.
- “Duruji” – this annual theatre prize was initiated and supported by businessman Lasha Papashvili in 2008. The number of nominations varies.
A special prize is awarded to the best young director by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia. The age nominees must not exceed 35 years.
The legislative basis of the grant support system is the Law on Grants (331. 19-20, 30/07/1996) which regulates economic and legal relations connected to the issue, receipt and use of grants.
Mobility supporting state structures
- Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth has a small travel grant programme for artists.
- Ministry of Education and Science – in 2014 the International Centre for Education was established, which awarded academic scholarships for Georgian citizens willing to study abroad.
Strategic documents supporting entrepreneurship
- “Culture Strategy 2025” - Goal 1.1 in the context of awareness raising and assessment development, as an example of an instrumental approach, envisages 'the elaboration of mechanisms for promotion of the creative industries', such as “creative incubators” and start-ups. Goal 6.2. determined the foundation of the State Promotion Programme “Creative Georgia”, also 'implementing special programmes for development of business skills in the culture sector and creative skills', and in the business sector: support for creation of “creative incubators”, which will offer a special space and relevant services to creative industries, including start-up businesses.
Top National Organizations to support startups are:
- LEPL Creative Georgia established in 2017, a legal entity of public law (LEPL) under the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.
- LEPL Georgia’s Innovations and Technologies Agency https://gita.gov.ge/, Technology park https://gita.gov.ge/geo/static/45/teknoparki-tbilisi; Founded in 2014. Among other directions it promotes the development of creative industries.
“Startup Georgia” – the Innovative Business Promotion Programme was founded by JSC Partnership Fund in 2016. Its purpose is to support the development of startup businesses in Georgia.
Last update: February, 2022
The Law on Creative Workers and Creative Unions regulates relations between artists' unions and the government, provides governmental subsidies for support of those organizations as legal entities under public law and guarantees their participation in the development of cultural programmes and decision-making. However, it was only until 2000 (prior to the Rose Revolution) that the state budget of Georgia assigned governmental funding to the main cultural unions of national significance – the Artists' Union, Writers' Union, Composers' Union, and Theatre Workers' Union. From 2001 until 2003, governmental funding was assigned to the Writers' Union only and, since 2004, state subsidies to art unions have been stopped. However, the state and municipalities support associations and organizations indirectly by financing events, festivals and exhibitions which are arranged by the unions.
Georgian art unions are:
- Artists' Union of Georgia;
- Designers' Union of Georgia;
- Writers' Union of Georgia;
- Composers' Union of Georgia;
- Architects' Union of Georgia;
- Union of Cinema Workers of Georgia; and
- Union of Theatre Workers of Georgia.
After the Rose Revolution the art unions, which represented a rather powerful authority in the Soviet period, found themselves almost on the level of newly established NGOs, though they still obtain some capital and human resources to maintain and rehabilitate their function of support to artists. Legislative amendments have enabled this once powerful ideological structure to change in order to meet the needs of the contemporary free community. However, these unions need some indirect but effective measures for state support and, through the unions, for support of artists.
Under Georgian law, art unions are trade associations, with the status of a legal entity under public law, which unite at least 5 creative workers in literature or art.
The entrepreneurship aimed at profit-making in concrete cases specified by the law (Law on Nonprofit Organizations) may be subsidiary in the support of the activities of nonprofit organizations. However, this provision is idle and creative unions are suffering a financial crisis.
The legislation in this sphere is adequate however there are some problems in the execution of the acts of legislation and their administration. The Tax Code provides no benefits for art unions.
Recently, Georgian real estate has become the object of active interest from investors. This interest has led the state to sell the assets of some creative unions. In spite of their protests and attempts to restitute their property through the court, the unions have not been successful. One example is the sale, by the Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia, of the holiday home for composers located in the resort-city of Borjomi (reported by the news agency Reuters), with a starting price of 4.5 million USD.
There has been no major change in recent years. Despite the new Culture Strategy 2025, the situation remains the same.
Last update: February, 2022
It should be noted that there are currently no private funding statistics and it is not possible to provide data and trends of financial donations to culture.
The only major charity fund is the Cartu Foundation. The independent foundation Cartu Group (the owner is Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili) has published its expenses for charitable activities it supported from 2005 to 2010. Ivanishvili allocated a total of 1 156 081 151 GEL through the charitable funds "Cartu", "Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments" and the Association "Atus". The areas supported were culture, art, sport, medicine, science, education, agriculture and socially vulnerable people.
Table 8: Expenses of charitable institutions, in GEL, 2005-2010
|2005||International charitable fund "Cartu"||Culture sphere||16 585 793||27 095 202|
|Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments||Construction of churches||10 090 382|
|Restoration of 15 monuments and churches||419 027|
|2006||International charitable fund "Cartu"||Construction of St. Trinity Cathedral||9 280 000||157 768 892|
|Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments||Construction of 69 historical monuments and churches||2 349 883|
|Association "Atu"||Construction and rehabilitation of recreation and cultural-entertainment objects, construction of education objects||146 139 009|
|2007||International charitable fund "Cartu"||Construction of St. Trinity Cathedral, charitable financing of culture and art spheres||181 916 475||184 734 569|
|Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments||Restoration of historical and cultural monuments, 81 churches||2 818 094|
|2008||International charitable fund "Cartu"||Charitable financing of culture||170 223 837||174 421 999|
|Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments||Restoration of 113 churches||4 198 162|
|2009||International charitable fund "Cartu"||Social aid to the honoured art workers||4 438 065||25 660 774|
|Reconstruction of J. Kakhidze Music Centre||4 681 100|
|Reconstruction of S. Janashia State Museum of History||1 431 400|
|Reconstruction of Al. Griboedov Russian Drama theatre||1 338 300|
|Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments||Rehabilitation of 133 historical monuments||4 340 403|
|Complex restoration of medieval architecture and painting monuments||4 480 606|
|Construction of Natanebi concert hall||4 950 900|
|2010||International charitable fund "Cartu"||Financing of culture and art sphere||18 089 169||22 335 673|
|Foundation for Protection and Rescue of Historical Monuments||Restoration-rehabilitation of 212 historical churches||4 246 504|
Most cultural activities (e.g. exhibitions, publications, concerts, festivals, creation of performing arts etc.) are conducted with funds allocated from state and municipal budgets, and a large share from Georgian private funds is allocated for cultural heritage (e.g. with the support of the International Charity Foundation “Cartu” a large number of monuments of cultural heritage have been restored. In particular, according to the 2017 report of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, the Cartu Foundation allocated 7 593 324 GEL for 15 monuments of cultural heritage, while in the same period the Ministry spent 3 562 000 GEL on 46 monuments. In 2017, the restoration-rehabilitation of 24 monuments was completed, and out of a total of 36 700 000 GEL spent on this activity, only 7 000 000 GEL was allocated from state funds and 29 700 000 GEL was allocated by the Cartu Foundation).
The information about the forms of cooperation between the state institutions and the Cartu Group (any official agreements or project contracts) is not available. No other information is currently available about Cartu donations.
Also, there are small donations for specific projects from banks and businessmen such as the “Saba” awards by TBC bank and “Duruji” awards by businessman Lasha Papashvili.
Georgian legislation has not yet developed sponsorship and charitable funding concepts and only church construction is exempted from tax.
The current state subsidy system is insufficient for the development-oriented cultural activities. Financial sources are not diversified; there is no sound strategy for a new financial model.