Art and culture

The Department of Culture

The Department of Culture is trying to strike a balance between supporting the arm’s length principle and actively making its mark on the cultural agenda.

The Department of Culture consists of four decentralised institutions: the children’s cultural centre ‘Børnekulturhuset’, the music school ‘Aarhus Musikskole’, the cultural centre ‘Godsbanen’ and the film production centre ‘Filmby Aarhus’. Concert Hall Aarhus and Aarhus Symphony Orchestra are also cultural institutions.

The Department of Culture subsidises the remaining, private cultural institutions. Approximately 25 of these institutions receive municipal and state subsidies in excess of DKK 1 million a year, and some 15 institutions receive less funding. All of them operate locally, but normally with a large international network.

The Department of Culture facilitates independent councils for art, visual arts and music – ‘Kunstrådet’, ‘Billedkunstudvalget’ and ’Musikudvalget’ – which assess the artistic quality of the applications submitted for funding from the culture funds.

Artistic quality

The evaluation of artistic quality is a priority area, and, in collaboration with Aarhus University, the Department of Culture has developed an evaluation model called the ‘divining rod model’. Based on this model, the arts council or ‘Kunstrådet’ has evaluated the largest cultural institutions in the municipality every four years, and the evaluation results have then been used by the political system to decide priorities.

Production centres

To support developments within special artistic areas, the City of Aarhus has established a number of dedicated artistic production centres.

Filmby Aarhus is Aarhus’s film production centre which provides funding to attract production companies and thus counterbalance the strong film environments in Copenhagen. In 2009-2010, a new production centre for rhythmic music was established, and the disused rail freight terminal in the middle of the city has been converted into a combined production centre for the visual arts, the performing arts and literature. The kick-off for an architectural competition to design the new building was in March 2009, and the production centre opened in March 2012.

City of museums

The museum sector is a key political focus area for the City of Aarhus. In particular, ‘Den Gamle By’ (The Old Town), ARoS Aarhus Art Museum and Moesgaard Museum MoMu have, following massive investments and the development of new exhibition designs and story-telling formats, attracted huge audiences and strengthened Aarhus’s international brand as a cultural city.