Nordic Artists Speak Out Against Drastic Icelandic Budget Cuts - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Nordic Artists Speak Out Against Drastic Icelandic Budget Cuts

Published December 16, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Wikimedia Commons

Billedkunstnernes Forbund (Danish Visual Artists) and Konstnärernas Riksorganisation (Swedish Artist’s Organisation) have sent requests to the Icelandic parliament, urging them not to further reduce funding for Icelandic artists.

“Research has shown that the possibilities for [Icelandic] artists to promote their work have decreased considerably in the last two years,” wrote DVA Chairman, Bjarne Werner Sørensen. “In spite of grand declarations, there are no proposals for mending the discrepancy between [creative] sectors and the visual arts are left with only two thirds of the funding in comparison to 2013.”

Currently the parliament’s budget proposal has cut Visual Arts funding by almost half compared to last year, with 25 million ISK set aside compared to last year’s 45 million ISK.

Read the request from the DVA and SAO in full here:

Honourable Member of Parliament,

In a budget proposal currently pending in parliament, only 25 million ISK will be set aside as a contribution to the Icelandic Visual Arts Fund, which is 20 million ISK lower than was set aside to the fund in the budget for the year 2013.

The professional bodies of the visual arts in Iceland have pointed out that reduced funding has already affected the vulnerable work conditions of visual artists in Iceland. Research has shown that the possibilities for artists to promote their work have decreased considerably in the last two years. Ambitious ideas for the Icelandic government to participate in the Icelandic Visual Arts Fund were meant to be an important factor in turning this situation around. However, continuing reductions in contributions to the fund will place the development of the Icelandic Visual Arts Fund in danger.

The authorities have claimed to have an understanding of the vulnerable state of the visual arts in Iceland, and officials have pointed out that the professional environment of the visual arts in Iceland has not benefited from subsidies and grants towards production and projects to the same degree as other creative industries. But in spite of such grand declarations, there are no proposals for mending this discrepancy between sectors and the visual arts are left with only two thirds of the funding in comparison to 2013.

We therefore challenge the members of parliament to change course and increase the funding for the Icelandic Visual Arts Fund in the budget proposal for the year 2015. To rectify those reductions that the fund suffered in the year 2013, the contribution to visual arts’ funds now has to be 50 million ISK, or an increase of 25 million ISK from the proposals at hand, at the second reading of the budget proposal for the year 2015.

We urge you, honourable Member of Parliament, to do your part in rectifying this discrepancy between the creative industries in the budget proposal for the year 2015, and thereby securing the work environment of the visual arts in Iceland for the next year.


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