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Ministry of Education focuses on comics and fashion in cultural export efforts

Ministry of Education focuses on comics and fashion in cultural export efforts
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The pictorial arts will bet the largest amount of money this year in subsidies for cultural exports. In previous years the Ministry of Education has given its greatest support for the export of music. This year pictorial art is getting more than EUR 360,000, with music getting less than EUR 350,000.
     Comic strips and fashion are being given high priority in cultural export funding. Both are getting more than cinema, games, and design.
In comics the Royal Comic Syndicate is getting EUR 45,000 this year, and the Finnish Literature Society and the Finnish Literature Information Centre FILI, are getting EUR 54,000.
      Timo Kähönen, director of Royal Comics, hopes to produce English language versions of a number of its Finnish comic series.
     FILI director Iris Schwanck says that FILI is looking for top-class comic artists at international book fairs, for instance. Currently there is an extensive exhibition of Finnish comic strip art in Paris, and next is the Moscow Book Fair.
     FILI had applied for a grant for planning the Frankfurt Book Fair, but Finland failed to become the theme country of the event and the application was withdrawn.
Subsidies for fashion went to Paola and Pirjo Suhonen and their project aimed at making Finnish art fashion an internationally known phenomenon. The project got a grant of EUR 35,000. Design Forum Finland got EUR 42,000 for a joint exhibition of Finnish fashion designers in Paris.
      Kristiina Noor of Design Forum Finland says that the money is to be used in June and possibly in the autumn on fashion shows in Paris. Noor would not say what companies would be going to Paris, because agreements have not been reached with all of them.
     The Suhonens' IVANA Helsinki will not take part in the June event.
The Ministry of Education granted a total of EUR 1,694,000, more than double last year's amount. After music and the pictorial arts, large grants were given to the theatre (229,000) and dance (200,000). The fifth largest amount was for comic strips, and fashion was in sixth place.
     Most of the cultural export subsidies went to associations and export organisations. The biggest single recipient was the dance group of Tero Saarinen (EUR 95,000).
Ministry of Education official Kimmo Aulake says that the ministry does not deliberately emphasise any particular sector of art. Money is granted to those who have the most promising applications.
     Aulake notes that there is much that Finland could export in the arts, and that the country's weak spot is the shortage of agents and management.

Helsingin Sanomat

  26.3.2008 - TODAY
 Ministry of Education focuses on comics and fashion in cultural export efforts

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