The Brazilian government is implementing an impressive new policy to promote widespread access to the arts. Workers across the country will be provided with a monthly $25 stipend to spend exclusively on cultural pursuits and products – covering everything from exhibition entry to movie tickets.
90% of the stipend will be provided by employers, who can deduct the amount from their income tax. The remaining 10% will be covered by the workers themselves, who can opt out of the scheme if they wish. While the stipend is predominantly for those on minimum wage, employers can choose to extend payments to staff who earn up to five times that amount. Payment is made via an electronic card, thus restricting spending to arts related goods.
As well as stimulating economic growth in Brazil’s cultural industries, the move is also emblematic of the government’s prioritisation of the arts. Sure $25 isn’t a whole bunch of money in this part of the world (a single ticket to the NGV’s current Neo-Impressionist show will set you back $20), but this is an exciting, empowering and generous way to build more diverse audiences and an appetite for art.