Cultural Endowment grants only to go to natural persons, not legal entities

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Kertu Saks. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Whereas previously the Estonian Cultural Endowment (Kulka) paid subsidies to both natural and legal persons, from August only natural persons, i.e. private individuals, can apply for subsidies.

Kulka points out on its website that changes in the distribution of creative work grants and scholarships are necessary to ensure fair remuneration for creative people.

"The purpose of allocating cultural endowment grants is to enable commitment to creative or scientific activities that result in a creative or artistic work subject to copyright or performer rights," the cultural endowment representative said.

In addition, similar changes will apply to applications for creative, performer and professional scholarships. It is important to note that the scholarships and grants are tax-free.

"In all areas of the Cultural Endowment today, there is a concern that it is difficult for the institution to fulfill the role for which it was created, i.e. mainly to fund bright ideas, because a large number of state agencies or other institutions also depend on the Cultural Endowment," Director Kertu Saks told ERR.

This means that grants are requested each year for operating and permanent activities, but Saks said that Kulka cannot be a permanent supporter of the institutions because its budget is also limited.

Public authorities and companies continue to receive support, but only for projects

"If a piece of creative work is considered to be a work, an application must be submitted to receive the grant. In particular, the changes in procedures concern that institutions/organizations can no longer ask for a scholarship or creative support, the creator can ask it for himself," Saks said.

In doing so, it seeks to ensure that a person receives a tax-free scholarship or creative work allowance only for personal creative development or the development of a personal idea. "If an institution wants someone to do creative work for it, it has to pay a salary including taxes," Saks stressed.

She said that the new principles don't mean that public authorities are no longer supported at all. In addition, companies will also continue to receive subsidies.

"Experts are now considering these applications more thoroughly, as there was a growing need in all cultural sectors for the creative work supported by Kulka to provide social guarantees. However, the resources of cultural capital are limited and so choices must be made," Saks said.

Saks stressed that creators must be able to claim a share of payroll taxes in addition to earnings. "That they do not remain in an unequal position when they need medical care, child benefit, unemployment benefit, a bank loan or when they reach retirement age," she said.

The first concern with the new money-sharing system has already arisen

The new system is causing difficulties to the Literary Museum because one of the museum's project application was not satisfied.

The director of the museum, former culture minister Tõnis Lukas, asked the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research to keep the old system in force or to create a separate state project reserve. Lukas points out that the change will also affect the museum's budget.

"The state funding model of the Literary Museum does not ensure sufficient funding for all developments and archival works, and for years the museum's task has been to procure additional funding for the state budget by submitting various project applications," Lukas said.

The problem became apparent with the wish of Marin Laag, a senior researcher at the museum, to organize the archives of Ilmar Laaban. However, Kulka refused to allocate the funding.

"The application was not granted for substantive reasons but because the support of institutions has been abandoned during the auditors' precepts, because the original idea of the Cultural Endowment is still to support creative people," Lukas wrote.

Saks noted that the applications of the Literary Museum will continue to be on the same basis as other applications made to the Kulka.

"The Literature Endowment decided not to support the museum this time and this project, which only asked for salary money, because it is a state museum," Saks said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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