18-09-2020

Malta Arts Association Advocates for Arts Vouchers

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VALLETTA: The Malta Entertainment and Arts Association (MEIA), recently established to give a voice to the cultural sector on the island, has urged government to grant people 20 EUR vouchers to spend on the arts, in the wake of difficulties faced by creatives and arts professionals as a result of COVID-19.

In a press conference held with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, the association outlined a set of proposals which would support artists, cultural practitioners and entertainers weathering the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.

The Malta Economy Minister responded by noting that Malta’s current 20 EUR COVID-19 vouchers, that were distributed for use at any non-touristic establishment, can be spent on the arts.

Other measures proposed by the association were the extension of the wage supplement; further investment schemes; financing for new projects; a reduction in taxes for companies that invest in the arts and entertainment sector; and a lower tax rate for artists and musicians.

Over the past few years, Malta has seen the cultural field grow, and there are now some 5,000 creatives and professionals employed in the arts, including entertainment, publishing, film, TV, sound, libraries and museums. COVID-19 has hit these industries particularly hard, with events cancelled, and many artists left without income.

“We can’t go back to a time when the art sector was non-existent,” Howard Keith Debono, President of the MEIA said during the conference. “If no action is taken, all the work we’ve done in the last 25 years would have been for nothing.”

MEIA Vice-President Toni Attard underscored the need for incentives to aid the sector, saying that half of those working in the arts would likely quit if the current situation prevails until 2021.

Rising case numbers are driving fears of another lockdown, which would continue to devastate many economic sectors. Over the course of the past 24 hours period, the island saw 106 new positive tests, with the Superintendent of Public Health, Prof. Charmaine Gauci, calling the situation “serious”.