In the midst of Tallinn's year in the spotlight as the European Capital of Culture, the new Minister of Culture Rein Lang said in a talk to creative industries representatives that Estonia has too many cultural institutions.
Speaking to the recently founded Chamber of Culture at a deteriorating old military factory converted into a community center, the minister spent an hour justifying cuts and discussing health care for freelancers in the culture sector, reported Postimees.
The state needs to pull the plug from tax-funded institutions engaged in culture management, instead channeling the available funds into supporting creativity. Lang also said that he would gladly welcome more private sector sponsorship of culture, as is the case with sports. "It is actually a question of values. Estonian businesses are huge supporters of sports and they do it in all kinds of ways. Why this isn't the case with cultural events is a million dollar question," said Lang.
The Minister of Culture mentioned exemption from the fringe tax as a stimulus for potential corporate sponsors, but investment banker Indrek Kasela, who established the Sõprus art house cinema, said the government needs to do more, for example allow tax-free sponsorship of approved non-profits in the field of culture.
Lang also pointed to shabby salaries in publicly funded culture management jobs. "Only the generation retiring from those jobs is ready to work for that salary. The next generation will laugh at the Ministry of Culture," Lang said.