Minister for the Arts, the National Heritage and the Local Government Owen Bonnici has announced three funding schemes specifically aimed at the Maltese Festa, which in total amounts to an investment of Eur500,000 for the current year.
The three funding schemes; the Health and Safety Standards in Fireworks Factories Fund, the Artistic Financing for Feast Associations Scheme, and the Fund to Strengthen Cultural Work done by Band Clubs are managed by Arts Council Malta, with the latter being co-managed with the Għaqda Nazzjonali Każini tal-Baned.
“Such initiatives form an essential part in the strengthening of our local traditions, as we keep on improving accessibility within the sector,” stated Minister Bonnici during the launch. He lauded such programmes for showcasing the importance of our local cultural fabric.
“In this way we are building on our past, and investing towards the future of these traditions. We’re also making sure that we highlight and substantiate the important role band clubs, fireworks factories and feast associations have in our communities ,” Dr Bonnici said.
The Fund to Strengthen Cultural Work done by Band Clubs was launched for the first time in 2018 and is managed in collaboration with the Għaqda Nazzjonali Każini tal-Banda. It is now in its fifth edition, with a total of €160,000 available for 2023. This will provide a maximum amount of €6,750 to voluntary organisations applying under category A and €10,800 to voluntary organisations applying under category B. This fund aims to support various initiatives proposed by the band clubs, especially since they have a very vital role in our communities and also serve as one of the main points of entry for engagement with the arts.
“The vision of Arts Council Malta’s Strategy2025 is to have art at the heart of our country’s future whilst continuing to invest and foster diverse artistic and cultural expression to continue to strengthen our country’s creative and cultural ecology. Such initiatives, like the ones we’re mentioning today, hold a vital role in the execution of such goals, as we continue to strive towards professionalisation within the sector,” said Albert Marshall, Executive Chair for Arts Council Malta.
2018 also saw the launch for the first time of the Health and Safety Standards in Fireworks Factories Fund, which provides financial support to factories that operate on a voluntary basis with many hard-working pyrotechnicians of all ages putting in long hours on our much-cherished traditional feasts. The aim of the fund is to facilitate investment to further strengthen the infrastructure of these factories so that volunteers can work in an increasingly safer environment. The sixth edition of the Fund has an allocation of €170,000 and will provide a maximum amount of €5,000 to applying fireworks factories. This call is currently open, with a deadline on the 21st of March 2023, at noon.
The most recent scheme with regards to artistic heritage is the Artistic Financing for Feast Associations Scheme. Launched in 2020, this scheme recognises the importance of Maltese feast decoration associations, cultural associations and social associations which work voluntarily in fostering, protecting, and strengthening cultural traditions in our country. For this fourth edition, the Fund has a session budget of €140,000 and will provide a maximum amount of €10,000 to applying voluntary organisations.