City approves three-million-euro special grant for the arts and culture sector to recover from the coronavirus crisis

Today, 3 September, the Culture and Library Sub-committee has approved an additional grant application round for organisations in the arts and culture sector, starting immediately. Three million euros will be reserved for the special grant applications for 2020–2021, and the grants will be awarded in November 2020. This is a one-time special grant for supporting the continuity of arts and culture in exceptional times and making the city more vibrant. The grant is a part of Helsinki’s recovery plan regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has significant effects on the arts and culture sector: uncertainty hinders and restricts the re-opening of cultural activities and the return of art enthusiasts to the shows. In particular, the ‘free field’ with significant self-funding, outside the central government transfer system, requires rapid aid, as safety obligations and consumer uncertainty restrict the number of visitors and income.

Arts and culture are an essential part of the life of Helsinki residents, and a majority of Finland’s professional artists live and work in Helsinki – we will want to keep it that way. The decision on the exceptional special grant signals the City of Helsinki’s will to take responsibility and share the risk with arts and culture operators in this difficult situation. These exceptional times have brought on new and fascinating ways of making and experiencing arts and culture, but they have also shown the importance of arts and culture to the professionals, residents and Helsinki,” says Cultural Director of the City of Helsinki Mari Männistö.

The special cultural grant of three million euros will be directed at starting, maintaining, and reforming operations as the restrictions, uncertainty, and slow recovery connected to the coronavirus continue.
The special grant is intended for arts and culture operations open to the public. It can be sought by Helsinki-based, legally competent organisations, such as associations, business proprietors, foundations, co-operatives and limited liability companies. The grant cannot be sought by private persons, individual artists or unregistered work groups. The grant also cannot be sought by institutions for basic education in arts or operators owned by the City of Helsinki or within Helsinki Group.

The allocation of the special grant will focus on professional operators. The grant will be allocated to applicants who have not received substantial grants related to the coronavirus pandemic via the state or foundations for the same purpose.

The Culture and Leisure Division will start the additional application round on 7 September 2020, at the latest. The application period ends 2 October 2020 at 16:00. The Culture and Library Sub-committee will decide on the allocation of the grants in its supplementary meeting 24 November 2020.

The grants are discretionary. The evaluation criteria for cultural grants previously decided by the Culture and Library Sub-committee will be used in the comparison between applications. In addition to this, supplemental evaluation criteria will be used for this application round due to the coronavirus pandemic. The criteria are the following:

1. The operations contribute to the vitality, pulse and appeal of the City and diversify the service selection of the City’s cultural services.
2. The operations are widely impactful, meaningful and developing.
3. The proportion of the organisation’s own income is min. approx. 50% of the total income.
4. The operations also contribute to one or several of the following goals:
securing the employment of professional artists and creating new work opportunities; developing digital and technological art and culture services; completing projects that have already been started (extra costs incurred); and developing new activity models in accordance with the restrictions/safety recommendations.
5. The applicants have not received substantial grants related to the coronavirus pandemic via the state or foundations for the same purpose.

In spring, we granted quick grants for culture, sports and youth activities. With the additional coronavirus-related grant for culture for 2020–2021, we are seeking to increase our support’s impact. We are aware that we cannot help everyone, but we believe that this grant will help the sector grow and revitalise once these exceptional times and the market situation ease off,” says Deputy Mayor Nasima Razmyar.

Special grant for organisations in the arts and culture sector for recovering from the coronavirus crisis 2020–2021
Application period: 7 September–2 October 2020 at 16:00
More information on applying from 7 September onwards:

Photo: Hannamari Vahtikari