Despite upheaval and potential cuts in arts funding, film tax credit safeguarded by a parliamentary vote earlier this year
Newly named Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has lined up his technical government Wednesday, tapping academic Lorenzo Ornaghi as the new Italian culture minister.
The choice of 63 year-old Ornaghi, an academic, gives Italy a culture minister with stronger ties to Catholic institutions, than to Italy’s liberal arts world. Since 2002, Ornaghi served as chancellor to Milan’s Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. He is also vice president of the board of directors of L’Avvenire, Italy’s Catholic daily newspaper. His own academic studies were in political science.
Ornaghi will take over for Giancarlo Galan in one of many sweeping changes Italy is rapidly undergoing in the wake of former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s resignation due to the Euro crisis last weekend. It is yet to be seen how the arts will fare in the age of expected extreme austerity.
Several urgent issues for the arts community will be on the block, including Italy’s weakened single arts fund, known as FUS. By the end of the year it will be Ornaghi’s duty to name a new Biennale President to take over from Paolo Baratta. Outgoing culture minister Giancarlo Galan’s recent nomination of Giulio Malgara, which had not become official, will now be null and void.
For now, Italy’s tax credit for foreign and domestic production is still in vigor, safeguarded by a parliamentary vote earlier this year that assured the tax credit for local and foreign producers as well as for the exhibition sector as it invests in the digital revolution, and will remain in effect through 2013.
Outgoing Culture chief Giancarlo Galan is credited with protecting current levels of FUS for the 2012-2014 period. Galan also reorganized Cinecitta Luce so that it operates better as a promotional and archive body, while investing in (mostly) first works.
Paolo Protti, president of Italy’s general entertainment organization Agis, offered Ornaghi “best wishes on behalf of all the entertainment organizations,” before expressing his hopes to meet with the new minister “as soon as possible.”
Francesco Giro, the outgoing undersecretary of culture, praised the choice calling Ornaghi “a personality of grand prestige.”
Mr. Monti – himself considered an independent is defined in the press here as a moderate. Politically and personally, he cuts a serious figure that clashes starkly with Mr. Berlusconi’s charismatic, media enhanced-personality.
Mr. Monti’s new ministers will be sworn in Wednesday evening at the president’s Quirinale palace, where last Saturday, revelers sang Handel’s Hallelujah chorus as Berlusconi tendered his resignation.