São Paulo’s Pinacoteca.

Brazilian Governor Proposes 23 Percent Cut to Culture Ministry Budget

Nineteen museums and cultural organizations, including the São Paulo Pinacoteca, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, the State System of Public Libraries of São Paulo, and the São Paulo Dance Company, are at risk of being impacted by a new budget cut proposed by São Paulo governor João Doria, reports the Art Newspaper.

The multimillionaire businessman, who hosted the Brazilian version of The Apprentice and rose to political prominence in 2016 before taking office in January of this year, announced a contingency plan earlier this month that would slash the culture ministry’s annual budget by 23 percent.

Various cultural organizations have spoken out against the proposal, which they believe will have drastic effects on the public programming, lecture series, exhibitions, and accessibility of the country’s cultural institutions.

“São Paulo is the state with the most museums and is the state that pioneered the creation of a continuous public system of museums, as opposed to the public policy today,” the Brazilian Network of University Collections and Museums said in a statement. “The consequence of budget cuts is the deterioration of buildings, reduction of security and diminishing public access to museums.”

The governor has denied that the proposed budget cuts will affect arts institutions. “Nothing will be closed and nothing will be stopped,” he said in a video announcement released by his press office yesterday. “We have not yet announced which programs will be impacted because we are doing it calmly and with good planning.”

In response, the Afro-Brazilian Museum said: “The budget cut will mean the dismissal of large numbers of employees, the reduction of projects and activities and the closure of the museum [on weekends].” It also urged organizations and workers to “mobilize, sign and share public petitions, and put pressure on authorities” to reverse the threat to cultural funding.