Public debate Capital City Council supports 282 million lei for its 28 affiliated cultural institutions. Is it more or less?

The 28 cultural institutions of the Capital Hall, including 14 theaters and 8 cultural centers, in 2021 received a subsidy of 289 million lei to which their own revenue of about 14 million lei was added, less than 5% of the budget.

Dan Nicosur, Mayor of BucharestPhoto: AGERPRES

In 2022, the approved subsidy is about 282 million lei, and its revenue is estimated at 19 million lei, less than 7%. By comparison, in 2022, 19 hospitals in the Capital Hall received 477 million lei, the Department of Recreational Parks and Lakes, which manages parks – 93 million lei, and the Street Department – 135 million lei.

  • What do you think? Many? Is it little? Do we need all these cultural institutions? How much should the city council support? Can cultural institutions deliver high-quality performances but also bring in money?

The Capital Hall supports 28 cultural institutions: 14 theaters, children’s comic operas, 2 museums, the Metropolitan Library, the Metropolitan Circus, the Bucharest School of Art, and 8 cultural centers.

In 2022, the budget of these cultural institutions was estimated at 301 million lei, of which 282 million lei was approved by the municipality, according to central data from

In 2021, the approved budget is about 303 million lei, and the subsidy is about 289 million lei.

In 2020, the approved budget is about 340 million lei, of which it has revenue of about 19 million lei.

Will Capital Hall allow itself to give too much money to cultural institutions?

Manuela Morrigan, General Counsel of the USSR and Chairman of the Committee on Culture of the General Counselors, is of the opinion that the Capital Hall cannot allocate such great support.

“I don’t think the Capital Hall can pay that money. But I don’t think it should be cut off from all institutions, in order to get to an amount that the Capital Hall can afford, but we need big cuts in the number of cultural subordinates without touching theaters with past and value,” Manuela explained. Morrigan.

You think we have a lot of cultural centers, for example, and we can save money by incorporating them.

“If we ask the people of Bucharest, I don’t think they know how to say three cultural centers. Some of them should not exist, especially the recently established ones. Others can be combined. The Lipati House, for example, would have been a memorial house under a museum Bucharest, which I proposed at the beginning of 2021. From here will come a great economy, because every cultural subordinate comes with a technical director, deputy director, human resources director, director of accounting and auditors. There are high salary figures because they all have mandatory employees. You can’t hire an accountant, on example, because you are required by law to do so, explained Manuela Morrigan.

On the other hand, many of these establishments rent out their buildings, and then a lot of the money goes to the rent, says Manuela Morrigan.

“For example, the theater of Romanian playwrights is absolutely useless, and Roman drama can be shown on any stage, they do not need a specific theater. It is a theater that does not have its own hall and its own premises, everything is rented,” explained Manuela Morrigan.

Cătălin Deaconescu, General Counsel of the PNL, is of the opinion that it should at least discuss what support cultural institutions should receive and how it should be given.

“It’s a whole discussion, I’m waiting a while and a half to start at the general council and community level. It’s clear that the capital hall must support the cultural act, but at the same time, the intensity of the support must vary from one theater to another, from one cultural institution to another, depending on on the results obtained. I am waiting for someone to open this discussion and with the cultural environment to find the best formula, on the one hand to encourage them to earn their income, on the other hand to encourage them to do cultural work at a high level and to be honest and balanced in support”, this It is the opinion of Cătălin Deaconescu.

He says that giving such a large subsidy without standards can lead to careless spending of public funds.

“I’m afraid that difference of 300 and a few million to 20 million lei is too big and we end up in situations where 95% of the income of a cultural institution is a subsidy from the budget, which shows me that the years in turn, while exercising this system of distributing support on all cultural institutions, without requiring performance, encourage those institutions not to be too careful with their own revenue, and not to look for ways to increase their revenue. We know the discussion with invitations, with cultural events organized in a small circle,” Deconescu explained.

Money for the quality of the presentation

Cătălin Deaconescu says that subsidies can be awarded based on performance, but you cannot force cultural institutions to make a certain percentage of their income.

“If we put all that subsidy of 300 lei and some millions of lei, into two different baskets, that means normal operating expenses, which come without any conditioning, and the second basket, support for display, for performance, for things that need to be discussed with the cultural community, I think we’ll encourage these institutions to make an effort as well.At the same time, it’s complicated in the act of culture to say that they must necessarily generate a percentage of the income I don’t know how much, to randomly select a percentage, because that pushes them to move into mass culture, so that they can Sell ​​more tickets and get more audience. This is also undesirable, ”explained Deconescu.

Manuela Morrigan also believes that charging a percentage of her own income will lower the quality of the cultural act.

“In terms of tickets, private royalties, and I’m referring strictly to the theater, I don’t think your proceeds can cover the expenses of the theatre, the culture all over Europe is subsidized. The moment they have to put the real price on the theater ticket, they will no longer play in halls. And if they want to play with full halls, they will have to lower the quality and make the performances more accessible,” he said. Manuela Morian stated. .

The mayor-general of the capital, Nikkor Dan, wrote on his Facebook page that managers of cultural institutions should improve resources.

“The position of director of a cultural institution is a full-time activity, in which the manager must improve the resources at his disposal, for the sake of a high-quality cultural product (I never said that cultural institutions should make a profit, but I am firm in the matter of resource optimization) ”, wrote Nikkor Dan In the context of evaluating managers of cultural institutions.

Adrian Găzdaru, director of the Excelsior Theatre, one of the 14 theaters supported by the municipality, is of the opinion that the evaluation of cultural institutions should not be made based on this, but on the quality of the cultural work.

“There is no place in the legislation that the theater is obligated to make this own revenue. It’s a fake problem. And this private revenue has become a kind of Bau Bau, because we’ve been asked, blame it on us, you can’t make your income as a cultural institution,” said a close person From the mayor, at least 50%.Private income should not become a criterion for rating a cultural institution, in terms of the quality of performances.(…) Behind every private theater there is a restaurant, a bar, it is a whole business that supports people’s desire and love for a cultural act but does not Funds 100% of tickets.

How much does a ticket to the capital hall theaters cost?

The ticket price is approved by the Bucharest Municipal General Council, on the proposal of the Administrative Council.

For example, at the Odeon Theatre, the ticket price approved by the General Council ranges from 12 to 159 lei. The price of a first-class ticket is 40 lei and a second-class ticket is 20 lei.

In the children’s comic opera, the ticket price approved by the General Council is between 20 and 100 lei for the large hall, and between 25 and 35 lei for small halls. Children’s Comic Opera also organizes summer camps with prices ranging from 300 to 900 lei, creative workshops and birthdays.

At the Metropolis Theatre, the approved fare is 34.56 lei for a ticket.

At the Excelsior Theater, the ticket price ranges from 12 to 100 lei.

The scandal of evaluating directors of cultural institutions

The assessment of the directors of the Capital Hall’s cultural institutions led to an unprecedented scandal, a large part of those assessed accused of wrongdoing and challenged the outcome.

Felicia Philip, director of the children’s comic opera, demanded that the measure be rescinded, Jorge Evaco, director of the Metropolis Theatre, resigned, accusing him of insulting and giving false information to the Town Hall, and Marinella Shippo, director of the Notara Theater, the only director who lost his position after the annual evaluation, a long list of irregularities. Regarding commission.

However, Mayor General, Nikkor Dan, claims that this is the first time the rating has been taken seriously and not everyone should take the 10. He has also stated that he wants to optimize resources and close the waste valve.

Read more here.

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