Catalan culture revolts. For the first time and regardless of political colors, entrepreneurs and producers from all sectors have joined the Actúa Cultura platform to say enough . Enough of cuts and precariousness. Your request? Nothing new: that the Generalitat devote 2% of its budget to Culture (it is the European average) and launch public policies to activate cultural consumption and the creation of new audiences. What seems logical turns into alarm at figures that have not stopped falling: the Generalitat only devotes 0.6% of its budget to Culture and, in the last decade, has cut its spending in a bleeding way (390 million in 2009 to 240 in 2019).
“We claim a paradigm shift or, in the next 10 years, the situation will be irreversible. That leaving culture as a last budget priority is very dangerous: it can lead us to a polarized and elitist society, ”says Actúa Cultura spokeswoman Isabel Vidal , Focus manager (the group that concentrates the most important theaters in Barcelona: Romea al Goya) and president of the Association of Theater Companies of Catalonia (Adetca). At his side, veteran Joan Anton Maragall, director of the historic Sala Parés (the first gallery that opened in Spain), launches: «Culture is in the ICU. Everyone, from the performing arts to music, goes through a very critical situation ».
They speak from Catalonia, but the message is for all of Spain (the state figures are even more scandalous: although the powers are transferred, Moncloa allocates a rickety 0.3% of its budget to the Ministry of Culture). «The other autonomous communities live a similar and even worse situation. We are a transversal platform and the more agents join, the better. We hope our example extends like an oil stain. We have started with our immediate surroundings, which is Catalonia, ”says Vidal. In fact, it speaks throughout Catalonia: Actúa Cultura groups 95% of Catalan cultural companies, which represent 98% of the turnover of the sector and with an economic impact of 3.5% of Catalan GDP. «The platform has emerged from promoters and entrepreneurs. But we hope that artists, writers and creators will join individually, ”says Maragall, who criticizes the“ myopia of some politicians. ” «The culture is addictive: the more you consume, the more you want. But it also happens the other way around: the less culture you consume, the less you need. And we are getting used to do without culture. The first, the Government », laments.
In their road map, they contemplate taking their requests to the Ministry. But step by step. His first battle is in the Generalitat, where they have already met with the Minister of Culture, Mariàngela Vilallonga, and the Vice President of Economy, Pere Aragonès, who is finalizing the budgets. Only a few hours after publicly presenting her manifesto, the Minister Vilallonga celebrated the "union of the sector" and said she shared her demands, but tried to neutralize the message with the recurring song of sovereignty: "The historical fiscal deficit suffered by Catalonia punishes investment in Culture and generates social deficit ».
«0.65% is a declaration of intent. When the Generalitat dedicates 2% of its budget to Culture, come and tell us about the fiscal deficit. We are all managers, we know how to manage a company and distribute resources, ”Vidal responds forcefully. Waiting for the Generalitat to present its budgets for 2020 (the minister already said yes, that the Culture item will be increased, but "not everything we would like"), the members of Actúa Cultura continue with their meetings and planning actions . «They expect us to get tired, that in a while the platform will be deactivated and will not have more travel. But they are wrong. This is long term. And we will carry out imaginative actions to give visibility to our demands, ”says Vidal. Theaters, concerts and exhibition halls will showcase the cry of a culture that resists drowning.
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