Mapping Brazil - The Cultural Field

The 2015 update on the general structure of the Brazilian cultural field - by Sílvia Finguerut

Developments from 2009 to 2015
In terms of the framework of government agencies, legislation and tax incentives available for funding cultural activities, the status of culture in Brazil is quite similar to the one described in the 2009 version of the General Structure of the Brazilian Cultural Field, compiled by Marta Porto with the assistance of Janaína Medeiros. Nonetheless, a number of aspects have been updated in this article, particularly from the point of view of the cultural sector's contribution to the Brazilian economy and institutional aspects that have evolved from 2009 through 2015. Generally speaking, both surveys are recommended for readers requiring an overview of the state of culture in Brazil today.

In the sphere of the Ministry of Culture, the Brazilian Museums Institute (IBRAM) was officially founded in 2009, thus detaching 29 federal museums from the Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) to form a network of public and private museums under new legislation named the 'Museums Statute'.

At federal level, this structure is complemented by support measures that 27 state governments and several municipalities, particularly state capitals, adopt for the benefit of culture. Public investment in culture has been growing steadily and federal government accounts for about 23% of the total funding, while state and municipal governments are investing 40% and 37%, respectively. Steady annual growth has doubled public investment in culture from 2003 through 2013.

Rouanet law
Although legislation governing tax incentives (by allowing deductions against spending on cultural activities, known as the Rouanet Law), has also remained largely unchanged, the current Ministry of Culture administration has stated its firm intention of amending Rouanet Law to ensure funds are more evenly distributed geographically with government agencies mediating the process, which would probably impact private investment too. After all, the Ministry aims to ensure at least 20% private funding of projects supported by tax incentives when the Procultura bill is voted and comes into effect.

The situation in relation to tax incentives for cultural-activity investors in Brazil has changed since 2009, in that major public-sector companies were the leading sources of funding for cultural projects at that time. Due to the economy's low growth rates over recent years, there is now a more diffused investor profile. Furthermore, growing numbers of players and institutions are applying for these funds. Sebrae-RJ (the Rio chapter of Micro- and Small- Business Support Services) published a guide for companies sponsoring cultural producers and projects in Rio de Janeiro, which also reveals how companies are making use of tax incentives for cultural spending.

In 2014, a new federal law authorised public-private partnerships to manage Brazil's public facilities, including cultural resources. The state of São Paulo pioneered and then led the use of this model for over ten years, making nongovernmental organizations eligible for allocations from public funds. A prerequisite, to this end, is that they be qualified as “social organisations”, with promising results in terms of enhanced management, thus prompting other states and cities to use the same model. This trend has encouraged more institutions to go to the market for funds available under incentive laws and use them to supplement public support, particularly for special projects.

Continue reading Mapping Brazil - The Cultural Field: The Ministry of Culture