Maltese artists protest against new cultural fund

Artists in Malta have reacted angrily to the announcement that some of the money earned from the development of two new high-rise complexes will go towards an arts fund. The two sites in question are in the towns of Balzan and Sliema, and have been strongly opposed by local residents.

In total €100,000 will be set aside for ‘local cultural initiatives’ that aim to make better use of arts spaces like galleries and theatres. However, some artists have called this ‘an insult’ given that the entire cost of the two projects is around €180m. In other words, just 0.0003 per cent of the project’s expenditure is going to the arts fund.

‘I hope the Arts Council has the decency to inform us of the name of the fund, so like-minded artists can exempt ourselves from applying for even a cent of it,’ commented Mario Vella, frontman of Maltese band Brikkuni, in a post on the band’s Facebook page.

Another local resident expressed their anger on the Times of Malta website: ‘I still cannot understand what connection there is between the Arts Council and this monster of architecture…a block of concrete which will continue with the uglification of Sliema and the whole of Malta for that matter.’

The Maltese Environment and Resources Authority plan to appeal against the construction of the Sliema buildings.