There is almost not a single person on our planet, who has not been affected in this or that way in the current global crisis. If the term solidarity is to be understood as a sense of unity, belonging, sailing in the same boat, then now is the perfect time for this word to manifest its true essence.
Among those affected by the crisis, artists and cultural activists are the pioneers in experiencing severe economic consequences. Venues, museums, theaters, galeries etc have been shut down. Events have been canceled.
We all enjoy the fruits of art and culture. Some of us may even take it for granted. Others may think that this branch is less important than other sectors of socio-economic life of a country. I guess most of us heard stories of devoted artists who had to fight their way through. There are many stories of young people who are in conflict with their parents, just because their family deems Law or Business Administration a better prospect for their future. However, now that everything is closed, more than ever we feel how important culture is in our social life. It is as important as any other sector.
Luckily for German artists and culturally active, their government understands their value. At the moment Bundesregierung is preparing a general bailout campaign of around 500 billion Euro for various sectors of German state’s life. They say that this sum is not limited, if the further need be. Those who are active in cultural branches and media can also benefit from this “Hilfspaket”. At this point, the amount of 50 billion is planned as an aid for the cultural sector.
In her interview with Deutschlandfunk (German Radio) the Minister of Culture Monika Grütters explains the following:
“It is a very important group that needs our attention in this Corona-crisis. They work not just for themselves but make a valuable contribution to society. We have today an enormous ‘Rettungsschirm’ for the active in Culture, Creativity and Media”. https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/kulturstaatsministerin-monika-gruetters-kultur-ist-kein.691.de.html?dram:article_id=473130
At the moment around 90.000 cultural events have been canceled in Germany.
According to Frau Grütters, as an economic factor Culture comes before Energy in Germany. There are around 256.000 firms, companies and entrepreneurships in the cultural sector of Germany. A big portion of them are small or very small companies. This number does not include freelancers and self-employed.
“Culture is not a luxury that we can afford only at good times. It is indispensable. The moment it is not there, we notice it right away, how much we need it. What these artists create is a manifestation of Humanity, which we need now more than ever – this is why enormous helping programs. ” – Monika Grütters, Minister of Culture in Germany https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/kulturstaatsministerin-monika-gruetters-kultur-ist-kein.691.de.html?dram:article_id=473130
More detailed information about the process of granting the funds will be released on Monday, 30th of March. Stay tuned and share this info with your German friends who are engaged in arts.
We see here a great example of solidarity in action. This is how the relationship between state and society should look like. It is also a great example to follow for other European countries.