Norway’s government minister in charge of culture and sports, Thorhild Widvey, has launched a new program aimed at supporting and promoting young artists. The average age on the board of Widvey’s new Talent Norge venture, though, is 58, and some argue that’s a bit high, while others call the whole project a “dead end.”
The government has earmarked NOK 30 million for Talent Norge to help young ambitious artists. The board includes some well-known names including the former head of state broadcaster NRK, John Bernander (age 57) and philanthropist Trond Mohn (age 71).
“In the same way that we invest in athletics, we must invest … to stimulate both the bedrock and the elite within young talent in Norway,” Widvey said when she unveiled the program. Critical reaction came swiftly, with some saying that many artists “won’t get much out of participating in a development program so tightly tied to the presentation culture of athletics.”
Widvey is undeterred: “We have assembled a highly competent board that can quickly get going with some concrete work,” she told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). “Now it’s up to the board to … choose projects and ensure the use of resources in a good manner.”
In another program, Norwegian artists received nearly NOK 2 million in state funds to perform in the US last year. The support program Music Norway, administered by Widvey’s ministry, was launched by the former government in 2012 and aims to set new standards for export of Norwegian music. Music Norway also manages funds from the foreign ministry to help promote Norwegian musicians abroad.
Among those receiving funding were the popular duo Nico & Vinz, who received NOK 75,000 to tour with Bruno Mars in the US last year. The money is generally used by artists to offset travel expenses when the artists perform n the US.