The art and culture budget for 2022 will increase from 496.1 million euros in 2021 to 557.1 million euros and thus by 61.1 million euros. The basic payments for the federal theaters and the federal museums will be increased significantly. The federal museums will receive 122.4 million euros (most recently 114.4 million euros) and thus 8 million euros more, the compensation for the federal theaters will increase by 13 million euros from 162.9 million euros to 175.9 million Million Euro. Overall, it is an increase of 21 million euros.
Further additional funds are available for investments, including the planned children’s play area of the State Opera in the Künstlerhaus (5 million euros) as well as additional payments for the renovation projects of the festival halls in Salzburg and Bregenz (14 million euros).
Projects within the framework of the EU development plan (“European development and resilience facility”) account for 11.4 million euros. This includes the development of a building culture program, the elaboration of a national digitization strategy for the cultural heritage as well as the renovation of the Folklore Museum Vienna and the Prater studios. An investment fund “Klimafitte Kulturbetriebe” is also planned. In addition, there are additional payments for various subsidies amounting to 10 million euros compared to the previous year.
In recent years there have been major changes in the budget proposals for art and culture, especially from 2016 to 2017, when the budget increased by 13.1 million euros – from 441.2 million to 454.3 million euros. The budget estimate for 2020, which exceeded that of 2019 by 11 million euros, was mainly due to additional payments due to the general renovation of the Volkstheater, grants for the independent scene and the anniversary of the Salzburg Festival, as well as monument protection. Finally, in 2021, the budget increased by 30 million euros.
The art and culture sector makes an essential contribution to society, which has just been shown in the pandemic. “It was also important for the federal government to honor this fact by increasing the funds,” explained State Secretary for Culture Andrea Mayer, who described the increase in the basic payments for federal museums and theaters as “sustainable for the coming years”. It is now possible to do justice to the ongoing wage and price increases. An automatic valorization of the same is still not an option, however.
With an additional ten million euros for cultural funding, Mayer wants to close the “fair pay gap” in the coming year, and the associated study will quantify the exact need at the beginning of next year. However, “fair pay” will also be reflected in the basic payment increase for the federal museums, as fair payment will be made in the course of the upcoming implementation of a collective agreement. Negotiations between the museums and the union are currently underway, and a result is being “worked very intensively”. The promotion of contemporary art could also be continued through the increase in funds.
Mayer did not want to make any concrete commitments for the “Film Preservation Center”, which had been in suspension for years. The plans are “still up to date” and the budget reserved for a film archive location in Laxenburg is being kept. There are no changes at the House of History Austria (hdgö), a new location is currently not being considered. “The house will continue to be financed as before, with 1.5 million euros,” Mayer said when asked. As for the budget gap in the theater in der Josefstadt, Mayer was waiting. “The special audit is in progress, I look forward to the result with great anticipation.” Once it is available, the theater and the city of Vienna will “come to a solution” together.