When in Rome, support culture

Italian Newspaper The Local shared some pretty amazing news to earlier this month: Italian teens will each get a 500 euro “cultural bonus” when they turn 18, and they’re free to spend it on museums, parks, books, cinema, concert tickets–you name it.

La dolce vita...

The program is designed to remind youth “how important cultural consumption is, both for enriching yourself as a person and strengthening the fabric of our society,” says Italian parliamentary undersecretary Tommaso Nannicini.

The are some strings attached (though not many) and the whole thing is an experiment in cultural funding. “Rather than the government picking and choosing which institutions to financially support, Nannicini says that the initiative leaves those decisions up to individuals’ preferences.”

...Or trouble in paradiso?

It’s unclear if the bonuses will completely replace government support of arts, culture, and humanities for the year–which admittedly could be problematic for those institutions that are not as popular among the 18 year old crowd—though it certainly looks that way.

But who knows, maybe this program will incentivize some of the more traditional organizations to experiment with attracting young audiences? Time will tell. 

Either way, salute!