‘Artists, act now, because funds will come and go’ – Toni Attard

Arts Council Malta's director of strategy calls for a 'subsidy model' for public arts funding, suggesting that a collaboration between government and private entities is the best way forward.

Toni Attard
Toni Attard

A time may come when public funds for artists may dry up, the Arts Council Malta’s director of strategy Toni Attard warned.

“Artists need financial aid in order to survive, and there are still large gaps in this regard,” Attard said. “It’s also problematic because the ‘sponsorship culture’ isn’t particularly strong in Malta.

“Luckily, where other countries are cutting back public funding of the arts, in Malta it’s only increased over the past couple of years. However, just because we’re going through this excitement right now, doesn’t mean this excitement will go on forever.

“The fact remains that you can’t just rely on public funds all the time.”

Attard added that for the Maltese context, “public and private need to share the same space.”

“There should be input from other entities, even NGOs, apart from government,” he said. “But you need to incentivise this. No individual is going to want to open a gallery, say, unless they know they have a shot at turning it into a viable venture.

“We need to consider a model which will allow us to engage in a partnership with a number of organisations – a ‘subsidy model’ which I think is very much needed. Bearing in mind, of course, that funds will come and go…”

Read the full interview in today's print edition of MaltaToday