The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region decides on a new wave of cuts in cultural subsidies


Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, at Lyon-Part-Dieu station, December 12, 2022.

After a cut of nearly 4 million euros in 2022, a new wave of cuts in cultural aid, for a total amount of around 1 million euros, was decided by the majority of the Auvergne-Rhône regional council. Alps, chaired by Laurent Wauquiez (Les Républicains), on the occasion of a permanent committee of the community which took place by videoconference, on the morning of Friday May 12.

The regional executive justifies the reduction in cultural subsidies, carried out for more than a year, by a rebalancing of the territories. In the absence of Mr. Wauquiez, Stéphanie Pernod, first vice-president in charge of leading the session, also put forward another reason: “My personal opinion: do you know what the problem of culture is in France? It is that we support these professions too much. If they lived on their entries, we would have some folk truth,” declared the elected official of Ain, according to comments reported by several regional councilors present.

For the regional opposition, the confidence reveals the state of mind which would, in reality, preside over the choices of the regional majority. “Laurent Wauquiez presents culture as a form of elitism, considers Jean-François Debat, mayor (Socialist Party) of Bourg-en-Bresse, and president of the socialist group on the regional council. He pretends not to see that the major cultural institutions have links with their territories and are in a network to support our small structures. It is pure populism. It opposes the national scenes to the amateurs, it does not make sense, except to want to caricature the creative and professional world. »

In addition to the total abolition of the subsidy of 149,000 euros to the New Generation Theater (TNG), National Dramatic Center of Lyon, in retaliation for the criticisms formulated by its director on regional policy, the majority of Mr. Wauquiez decreased by 115,000 euros aid to the Center chorégraphique national de Rillieux-la-Pape (Rhône) – increasing from 195,000 to 80,000 euros between 2022 and 2023 – and aid to La Comédie de Saint-Etienne from 60,000 euros (reduced to 203,000 euros). The Grame associations, in Villeurbanne (Lyon metropolis), Eclat, in Aurillac, Open sector of street arts, in Boulieu-lès-Annonay (Ardèche), the Brozzoni company in Annecy also suffered drops from 5,000 to 75 000 euros.

Divergence of views

The criteria for allocating grants give rise to a deep divergence of views between the majority and the regional opposition. where the left sees “an arbitrary fashion” in the choice of subsidies, the regional right responds with a territorial strategy, turned towards the rural sectors. “While the region is committed to supporting the arts, culture and the many players in its rich sectors, public subsidies are not automatic. The region wished, in October 2022, to rethink its financing policy in this area in order to support projects throughout the territory. justified the regional majority, in a press release of April 28, by affirming “protect your cultural budget”for an annual amount of 60.2 million euros.

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