In Denmark support schemes for pictorial art and art in the wider sense have existed for a very long time, from the church, the absolute monarchs and the nobility to the modern democratic state.
It has long been acknowledged that many highly qualified artists cannot live from their art. The Danish support system for the arts has grown gradually. From the time the Danish constitution was adopted (1849), individual artists and cultural institutions have been supported by means of appropriations on the Finance Act.
Principles for support today
Today state support for creative art is allocated according to the so-called arm’s length principle – the principle that the allocation of support is not based on political priorities but according to a specialist evaluation of the applicant’s artistic quality.
The evaluation is carried out by independent councils and committees of experts. The various councils and committees are under the arm’s length body, the Danish Arts Foundation.
In Denmark the development and dissemination of art is supported by state funds in a number of sub-areas:
- Work and travelling scholarships
- 3-year grants
- Awarding of prizes
- Production of works of pictorial art
- Exhibitions and dissemination
- Artists’ associations and censored exhibitions
- Operational grants for art galleries and other exhibition institutions
- Municipal pictorial art
- Travel and accommodation in connection with exhibitions abroad
- Travel and accommodation in connection with non-Danish artists’ exhibitions in Denmark
- Dissemination of Danish art abroad and non-Danish art in Denmark
- Conferences, seminars, research etc. abroad
- Galleries’ participation in trade fairs
- Residencies in Denmark and abroad
- Experiments with schools of culture and basic courses
- Children and young people’s encounter with art (the house art scheme)