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Arts Funding Being Cut Worldwide

With several American theaters struggling financially, it does not come as much of a shock that other countries are dealing with similar situations. For the past two weeks, Rome’s Teatro Valle has been occupied by theater workers protesting the privatization of the venue. Founded in 1727, the Valle has been affiliated with a state organization that promotes Italian theater, but budget cuts caused the organization to be shut down last year. According to The New York Times, Italian artists are concerned that selling the theater would risk losing its identity as a platform for theatrical experimentation.

And this is not the only loss in Italy’s art world. Last weekend, a different group of protesters occupied the Marco, a contemporary art space in Rome that is also in financial trouble. Even our neighbor to the north is not sugar coating its economic uncertainty. According to CBC News, on Tuesday, Canada's federal finance minister Jim Flaherty warned cultural institutions they should not rely on regular government support like they had in the past.

Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives was proposing a bill to eliminate funding of NPR and PBS, and in April, The Los Angeles Times reported that  the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum  and Library Services were taking a 11.2 percent collective hit under Obama’s budget cuts. 

While Italy is cringing at the idea of privatizing public arts, Greece has just unveiled plans for $800 million art center. According to The New York Times, Stavros Niarchos Foundation is footing the construction bill, while the center’s operations will be run and paid for by the Greek government. However, unless Greece’s current economic situation improves, it might only be a matter of time before the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is added to the list of arts venues heading six-feet-under.

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