Today, on 2 November, Chairman of the Estonian Writer's Union Karl Martin Sinijärv and President of the Estonian Artists' Association Vano Allsalu officially declared the first competitions for artist’s and writer’s salaries open. Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and the representatives of artisticunions introduced the conditions and assessment criteria of the competitions and invited creative people to submit their applications.
According to the Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, in addition to preserving our cultural property, the state must also ensure that new cultural objects are created. “To create a work of art is a strenuous task. Gathering inspiration, examining or writing new material or putting it on a canvas, as well as its refinement - this all requires time and possibility to work in peace. The purpose of artist’s and writer’s salaries is to offer for a couple of years a possibility to work in peace and social guarantees for the distinguished creative people to be selected by the artistic associations, so that these people can dedicate themselves daily to creative work,” noted Saar.
The applications for the competition of artist’s and writer’s salaries payable in the period of 2016-2018 can be submitted starting from today, 2 November. Final deadline for the submission of applications is 30 November 2015. The artist’s and writer’s salaries payable in 2016 will be 1005 euros per month.
“Economic stability of a creative person gives better preconditions to create a new work of art. The existing possibilities, such as the scholarships paid by the Estonian Cultural Endowment or other grants given to creative people will remain in force, but these are short-term possibilities which do not offer social guarantees, e.g. health insurance or contributions to the state pension fund,” the minister said.
Saar pointed out that the artist’s and writer’s salaries will not bring along an obligation to fulfill government contracts. “The artists and writers receiving the salaries are still free in their creative work. The only requirement for the creative person who is receiving artist’s or writer’s salary is the commitment on one’s creative work,” confirmed Saar.
Chairman of the Estonian Writer's Union Karl Martin Sinijärv believes that this competition constitutes an essential and promising initiative for writers and literature. “In Estonia, there will never be a very large number of people who use language as their working tool with virtuosity; it takes years, if not decades to develop into a writer who is taken seriously. People who have managed to achieve this, regardless of all obstacles, deserve to be financially rewarded for their work and feel confident accordingly. It is an eternal question which concerns our mental environment in a broader sense,” said Sinijärv.
President of the Estonian Artists' Association Vano Allsalu noted also that the importance of establishing such salaries does not lie merely in financial support, it helps to send a message that the activities of a creative person are important and welcome in the society. “Presumably, we all want our culture to be an international business card for Estonia and offer a high-level mental food to our people. The salaries will most likely be paid to strong and active creative persons who will be able to make essential contribution to the development of our art within three years. Impartiality and diversity of the selection procedure will be ensured by a wide range of experts included in the selection committee,” promised Allsalu.
The first ten creative persons who will receive salary from the artistic associations will be announced at the end of the year.