7. Financing and support
Last update: November, 2020
All public cultural expenditures together (federal, regional and municipal) amounted to EUR 2.69 billion in 2018, the share of GDP was 0.7%. Federal expenditures amounted to EUR 893 million, the Bundesländer including Vienna spent EUR 1,052 million and the municipalities (without Vienna) EUR 863 million EUR (in each case before deduction of intergovernmental transfer payment). After deducting intergovernmental transfer payments, the share of GDP for the state was 0.23%, for the Bundesländer 0.26% and for the municipalities (except Vienna) 0.22%.
In 2018, cultural expenditure per capita in Austria amounted to EUR 304.
Last update: November, 2020
Table 5. Public cultural expenditure by level of government, 2018 (excluding intergovernmental transfer payments)
|Level of government||Total expenditure in m. EUR*||% of total|
|State (central, federal)||868.61||32.30|
|Regional (provincial, Länder, etc.)||988.89||36.78|
|Local (municipal, incl. counties)||831.59||30.93|
STATISTIK AUSTRIA, Kulturstatistik 2018 (table F1, p.167)
* At the date of expenditure
Compared to 2017, cultural expenditures increased slightly on average by +1.3%, in the Bundesländer by +1.4% and in municipalities by +1.5%. Federal cultural expenditure remained almost unchanged (+0.8%).
Last update: November, 2020
Table 6. Direct state cultural expenditure and transfers (federal, regional and municipal level*: by sector, according to the LIKUS system, 2018
|m. EUR||%||m. EUR||in %||m. EUR||%||m. EUR||%|
|I. Cultural Heritage|
|Historical Monuments/ Building Heritage||193.84||7.2||65.76||7.6||31.60||3.2||96.49||11.6|
|Museums, Archives, Science||345.33||12.8||126.72||14.6||141.43||14.3||77.18||9.3|
|Intangible Heritage / Folk Culture||40.42||1.5||0.51||0.1||7.48||0.8||32.44||3.9|
|II. Visual Arts||32.05||1.2||9.55||1.1||15.30||1.5||7.20||0.9|
|Fine Arts / Plastic Arts||-||-||-||-|
|Design / Applied Arts||-||-||-||-|
|III. Performing Arts|
|Theatre, Music Theatre, Dance||464.79||17.3||179.36||20.6||211.68||21.4||73.75||8.9|
|IV. Books and Press|
|Books / Literature||17.57||0.7||10.58||1.2||4.29||0.4||2.70||0.3|
|V. Audiovisual and Multimedia|
(in Austria: Film, Cinema, Video)
|Socio-culture/ Cultural Initiatives||192.25||7.1||6.79||0.8||25.85||2.6||159.62||19.2|
|Cultural Relations Abroad||27.29||1.0||27.29||3.1||-||-|
lifelong learning/adult education
|VII. Not covered by|
Source(s): STATISTIK AUSTRIA, Kulturstatistik 2018 (table F1, p.167)
Data on direct expenditure vs. transfers are not available.
Last update: November, 2020
In addition to direct public support for the arts and culture, Austrian legislation provides a number of important instruments of indirect support for the arts. These include grants, awards and scholarships as well as various legal provisions of social policy and fiscal policy, the system of social insurance for artists, measures taken in the field of labour market management, copyright legislation (both direct and indirect payments such as library royalties), the encouragement of private sector support for the arts by means of tax exemptions, tax deductions for private donations and for arts sponsorship, incentives to purchase artworks as well as promotion of art-works for buildings financed with public money. While such policies are welcome, surprisingly few sector-specific legal regulations have been formulated in areas such as orchestras or theatres.
Since 2011, the Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES’ mentoring programme has been a special programme for the promotion of female artists of all disciplines, a specialist mentoring programme by women for women, by female artists for female artists. The aim was to transfer expertise from experienced female artists or women established in the arts and culture sector to younger female artists, to pass on knowledge, to build networks and to recognise skills and potential. In numerous meetings and supporting events such as coaching sessions, supervision and a kick-off event, the Tandem mentoring groups developed projects over the course of a year which are presented at a closing event. In the seven years since the programme was established, more than 80 young female artists have been supported in the fields of architecture, visual arts, photography, fashion, media art, music, performing arts, performance, film, literature and literary translation. Unfortunately, the programme has been discontinued since 2018.
In the framework of the gallery support through museum acquisitions, three stakeholders in the area of art are supported: museums, galleries and contemporary artists. The Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES grants subsidies of EUR 36 500, this sum is to be increased to at least EUR 54 000 by the museums and to be used in Austrian galleries for purchases from Austrian artists or artists living in Austria. At least one third of this sum, i.e. EUR 18 000, is designated for the purchase of artworks from artists under the age of 40. The goal is a sustainable development for the artists, on the part of the participating museums as well as the galleries, with special attention being paid to emerging artists and emerging galleries. The museums have to present the purchased artwork in exhibitions and on their websites.
Another support programme is the promotion of the participation of Austrian commercial galleries in art fairs abroad, to improve the opportunities for fine artists in the Austrian and international art market and to strengthen the international presence, reception and dissemination of contemporary Austrian art. With a budget of EUR 300 000, two types of art fairs are subsidised. There are nine renowned fairs and each gallery can receive support for two participations each year, and there are eleven off- or less reputed fairs for engaged, but financially weaker galleries. Galleries are supported with a sum of EUR 4 000 for participation at two fairs per year. Due to the fact that applications are possible in both funding programmes, participation at four fairs per year can be subsidised. The support of participation at art fairs abroad intends an indirect support for Austrian or in Austria living artists.
Last update: November, 2020
The Austrian Music Fund, founded in 2005, is an initiative for the support of professional Austrian music production in Austria and the dissemination and marketing of Austrian music at home and abroad. The Music Fund, which is funded with a budget of EUR 950 000 annually, is open to all music-creating authors, interpreters, music producers, music publishing houses and labels and is jointly financed by the Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES and institutions of Austrian musical life (AKM / GFÖM, Austro-Mechana / SKE, IFPI Austria, OESTIG, WKÖ / trade association of the audiovisual and film industry FAMA, and the Austrian Events-Organisers' Association).
The Austrian Film Institute (ÖFI) (previously Austrian Film Promotion Fund) was established with a separate legal personality, according to amendments made to the Film Promotion Act in 1998. It is responsible for structural changes to the Austrian film industry, support to film production, and stimulation and improving the quality of Austrian film culture. The institute operates like a fund as it receives its money directly from the federal level according to the legal provisions. The Austrian Film Institute supports films as cultural goods and Austrian filmmaking by allocating subsidies for Austrian films, e.g. for filmmakers and film producers, as well as international co-productions. The ÖFI also supports film distribution and cinemas. 15% of the annual budget (amounting to a total of EUR 20 million) is dedicated to the promotion of young film makers and producers. The Secretary of State for Art and Culture 2020 has announced a budget increase of 2 million EUR to provide a more stable framework for domestic film production during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second-largest support body for film is the Vienna Film Fund, which provides around EUR 11 million for the production of Austrian films every year.
The Austrian collecting societies contribute to artists’ income by collecting royalties from copyrights and related rights and distributing them to the artists. In addition to their main task of collecting and distributing royalties, the collecting societies also perform social and cultural functions for their beneficiaries. Part of the income is dedicated to the social and cultural purposes of the beneficiaries.
Overview of generated royalties
in m. EUR
in m. EUR
|Beneficiaries||Social and Culture Subsidies (SKE) in EUR|
|AKM (2019)||121.86||106.66||25 984||music 829,000 EUR social (AQUAS)* as of 2019|
|austro mechana (2019)||29.24||20.10||28 301||culture 1.13 m. EUR|
|LSG (2019)||30.3||25.3||23 949||social: 348,000 EUR|
(nine times as much as 2017) culture: 1,154,000 EUR
(two and a half times as much as 2017)
|Literar Mechana (2019)||43.1||37.93||22 157||SKE 1.7 m. EUR|
|VAM (2019)||10.3||9.9||324||SKE 1.9 m. EUR|
|VdFS (2018)||10.7||1.2||2 823||1.2 m. EUR|
|Bildrecht (2019)||4.03||2.63||5 018||1.41 m. EUR|
|VGR (2019)||13.5||13.5||66||2.7 m. EUR|
Transparenzberichte, see hyperlinks.
* The AQUAS (Altersquoten und andere soziale Leistungen GmbH) was founded in November 2018 and commenced operations at the beginning of 2019. Its task is to provide retirement benefits and support to beneficiaries of both companies who are in need through no fault of their own. Funding is provided by the storage media payments (social benefits) of Austro-Mechnica and the social security deductions of the AKM.
The Social Security Insurance Fund for Artists grants benefits for all artists. For artists in social need, additional support is given by the Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES within the framework of the Arts Support Act (KünstlerInnenhilfe, approximately EUR 138 000 since 2014). Since 2015, these support payments are financed by a "support fund for artists" that has been established within the artists social insurance fund. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the aid fund for artists was endowed with 90 million euros.
There is a statutory fund in the literary field guaranteeing income supplements for writers and authors in social need (e.g. pensions, incapacity to work, care of dependants, support in special cases).
Last update: November, 2020
The Austrian arts promotion system includes various measures of direct support for creativity. The main measures are awards, prizes, scholarships, purchase of art works, grants such as contributions to printing costs of catalogues, running studios (federal studio house in Vienna and various studios abroad), productions, travelling expenses; and commissioning art works. Various artist-in-residence programmes have been established by the government, the provinces, the municipalities and various institutions in recent years for Austrian and international artists at home and abroad.
Every year, 95 interdisciplinary scholarships for young artists are awarded by the Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES, 35 for music, performing arts and dance, 15 for literature, 10 for fine art, 10 for architecture and design and 5 each for artistic photography, video and media art, fashion, film and cultural management, with a support amount of 7 800 EUR per scholarship. In addition, work- and project-scholarships for fine art, architecture, design, photography, video and media art and more than 60 scholarships abroad are awarded in various branches: there are scholarships for studios abroad for fine artists in Beijing, Chengdu, Chicago, Istanbul, Krumau, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Tokyo and Yogyakarta; and scholarships abroad for photographers in Rome, London, Paris and New York. Trainee scholarships for cultural managers and post-graduate further education scholarships abroad for dancers are designated for young artists from these branches. TISCHE, a six-month scholarship programme, promotes the professional and practical experience of young architects with a stay in a well-known architect's office abroad.
Since 2016, AWAY – a project around residencies for artists – has put the spotlight on the renowned international residency programme under which the Division of Art and Culture of the BMKOES has sent Austrian artists all over the world since the 1970s. In addition to providing a documentary analysis of the programme, AWAY and its extensive website have become a well-established information and participation platform on the topic of artist residencies.
The Arts and Culture Division of the BMKOES awards prizes annually or biennial – following a rotation system – in different categories. The Outstanding Artist Awards are awarded annually (or biennial), with prize money of EUR 10 000 each, to artists from the branches of visual arts, photography, video and media arts, performing arts, music, film, literature and ‘current annual matters’; biennial from the branches cartoon and comics, experimental trends in architecture, experimental design, and children's and youth literature.
The Outstanding Artist Award for Women's Culture honours art and cultural work that contributes to strengthening the position of women in public life.
The Outstanding Artist Award for Intercultural Dialogue for artistic and cultural achievements that contribute to the understanding of people living in Austria from different countries of origin.
The Austrian Art Award (Österreichischer Kunstpreis) is a lifetime achievement award, allocated with 15 000 EUR and awards in the following categories: visual arts, photography, video- and media-arts, music, film, literature, children and youth literature as well ‘current annual matters’. The Outstanding Artist Awards are partly judged by a special jury; the Austrian Art Awards are always awarded on the basis of a jury-recommendation.
Special prizes are awarded in the field of literature and journalism, among others the Erich-Fried Prize for Literature and Language, the Ernst-Jandl Prize for Lyrics, the Manes-Sperber Prize for Literature, the Austrian State Prize in the categories artistic photography, European literature, cultural journalism, literary criticism, literary translation, children's and youth literature, children's lyrics and Austria's most beautiful books. Every two years, in cooperation with the s-Bausparkasse and the Vienna Architectural Centre, the architecture prize The Best House is awarded for the best architectural design of a detached house. In the field of photography, the Birgit-Jürgenssen Prize is awarded annually by the Vienna Academy of Fine Art, and in film, the Thomas-Pluch Screenplay Prize is awarded. The Grand Austrian State Prize of EUR 30 000 is awarded on the proposal of the Austrian Arts Senate without a fixed rotation principle within the fields of architecture, fine art, literature and music for an artistic life work. Since 1988, the government has also been awarding an Austrian Museum Prize with the aim of encouraging Austrian museums of different legal entities to design their content, presentation and communication in an appealing and contemporary way.
The federal provinces also award various arts prizes in support of Austrian artists, for example the Salzburg Art Prize, the Salzburg Music Prize and the Salzburg People's Sculpture Prize.
Since 2010/11, the International Culture Department of the Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs has had a special support programme called The New Austrian Sound of Music (NASOM), which supports young musicians in appearances abroad. Every year, about 25 young musicians from classical music, jazz, new folk music/world music and pop are being supported.
Last update: November, 2020
Professional associations and interest groups are associations with restricted membership, aiming at representing the common interests of their members vis-à-vis the general public, other professional associations or the state. They regard themselves as lobbyists for creative artists and cultural workers and/or operators and assist their members in professional questions and conduct. Traditionally, they are involved in many decisions, including consultations on bills and other issues, and frequently serve as negotiating partners in policy decisions.
The Austrian Council for Culture (Kulturrat Österreich) is a union of interest groups of artists and creators of culture. It is a platform for shared cultural-policy issues and objectives, and it represents these to politics, media and administrations. The Council promotes cultural, educational, media and socio-political debates.
The members are:
- ASSITEJ Austria (Association of Children’s/Youth Theatre)
- Professional Association of Austrian Visual Artists (Berufsverband der bildenden Künstler)
- Austrian Filmmakers Association (Dachverband der Filmschaffenden)
- IG Bildende Kunst (Association of Visual Artists)
- IG Freie Theaterarbeit (Association of Independent Theatre)
- IG Kultur Österreich (network and lobby for the autonomous cultural initiatives in Austria with 824 members and nine provincial offices)
- Konsortium Netzkultur
- Austrian Music Council (Österreichischer Musikrat)
- IG Übersetzerinnen Übersetzer (Association of Translators)
- Verband Freier Radios (Association of free radio broadcasters)
- VOICE (Guild of Announcers and Voice Artists)
In addition to these and the Austrian copyright collecting societies (see chapter 4.1.6, 7.2.1), there are professional associations active in the fields of arts and culture, for example:
- IG Autorinnen / Autoren (Association of Authors), including the association of playwrights
- Austrian Composers' Society (Österreichischer Komponistenbund)
- mica (Music Information Centre Austria)
- Central Association of Austrian Architects Österreichs (Zentralvereinigung der Architekten Österreichs)
- IG Architektur
- Austrian Society for Architecture (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Architektur ÖGFA)
- Design Austria
Moreover, artists have the possibility of joining the Younion (Gewerkschaft Kunst, Medien, Sport, freie Berufe), a trade union representing professional and social interests of self-employed and/or employed creative artists, journalists, art educators, art administrators, event organisers and related professions in the areas of art, the media, education and sports.
In 2014, Smart (Société Mutuelle Pour Artists) was established in Austria. This non-profit organisation was developed in Belgium 1998 and currently is also established in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Hungary. Smart operates autonomously in accordance with the national framework conditions. Smart takes over administrative tasks for artists and creative workers with the aim of achieving improved framework conditions and minimising risks. Smart offers sustainable solutions for the supervision of projects and activities, artists' involvement in social-security issues and permanent employment and the professionalisation of their work.
Last update: October, 2019
According to the Initiativen Wirtschaft für Kunst (IWK, Austrian Business Committee for the Arts) – which has launched several incentives to promote arts sponsorship in Austria, for example the Maecenas sponsorship award, and also conducts studies in the field – the estimated private sponsorship potential in Austria amounts to about EUR 60 million. According to a survey of the top 500 companies by the IWK, 43% of Austrian companies engage in arts sponsoring, with energy providers at the top, followed by the banking and insurance sector. Altogether, the private investment in the field of art and culture has increased seven-fold since 1989. A considerable part of the sponsoring takes place through sponsoring in kind or transfer of expertise. Further figures on private financial commitment in the art and culture sector are unfortunately not available.
Since 1989, in cooperation with ORF (the state broadcaster), the Business for Art Initiatives have awarded the MAECENAS Austrian Art Sponsoring Prize to companies for the promotion of art projects. For some years now, MAECENAS prizes have also been awarded in the provinces to highlight the importance of business enterprises in the field of art and cultural sponsoring in the regional area, in Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Vorarlberg – in each case in cooperation with the provincial governments, various media partners and companies, the Federation of Austrian Industries or the chambers of commerce.
The improvement of the general conditions for sponsoring has been under discussion for several years and the Non-Profit Status Act passed in 2015 has since created legal incentives to enable additional funds from the private sector for art and culture. The donation activity of foundations is promoted and tax relief on donations has since been extended to corporations that develop artistic activities serving Austrian art and culture. With an amendment to the Income Tax Act (2016), the donation tax relief also includes institutions whose purpose is the generally accessible presentation of works of art.