The Platform

Since the seventies, there have been many agents involved in creating independent spaces dedicated to the Visual Arts in Spain: artists, critics, curators, researchers, cultural managers, publishers and more. The activities organised by these spaces are extremely varied and wide, from contemporary art exhibitions; to conferences, readings or round tables; artistic residencies, archives, publishing and educational projects. Through these projects, we provide our creativity and work for the artistic and cultural growth of society. They have a direct impact on our material and immaterial heritage, ultimately producig an ecosystem that generates well-being for the citizens as a whole. Hence their social function.

The incidence of the Visual Arts sector in the GDP of our country (accordin to the BOE 2017,  the last year for which this study has been published) shows that the contribution of the cultural sector to the Spanish Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 2.4%, reaching to 3.2% if we consider all economic activities related to intellectual property. By cultural sectors, the Books and Press sector stands out, representing 31.5% of all cultural activities. It is followed, in order of importance, by the Audiovisual and Multimedia sector (28.7%), which includes, among others, film, video, video games, recorded music and television activities. Among the remaining sectors, Plastic Arts (14.8%), Performing Arts (9.8%) and Heritage, archives and libraries (8.6%) stand out. In the group of activities linked to intellectual property, 60.9% corresponds to the cultural sphere and the remaining 39.1% to advertising and IT, whose scope is restricted to those activities that are linked to intellectual property.

These data shows the significant weight of the activities linked to the Plastic and Visual Arts within the whole group, only surpassed by the Book and press sector and by "cinema, video, video games, recorded music or television" which have to be grouped together as a single sector, in order to have greater weight in their incidence within the field of culture compared to the Plastic Arts. Despite the importance of our sector in macroeconomic terms (a parameter that we understand to be of vital importance in terms of decision-making by public institutions) successive administrations have paid little attention to it, causing enormous comparative disadvantages in terms of public funding and subsidies for all those of us who dedicate ourselves professionally, individually or through collectives, associations, organisations, companies and independent spaces to the Plastic and Visual Arts.

We are aware that the minority representation of the Visual Arts sector means that, within political priorities, our interests and concerns are less well attended to than those of other sectors, even more so when it comes to hybrid, experimental and independently managed organisations and spaces, despite the fact that in many cases our work supports and favours languages and activities that public institutions do not attend to. On the other hand, the independent sector has always generated support and dissemination networks that in many cases facilitate the internationalisation of artists and enable interaction between the private and the public sector more quickly and with scarce resources, highlighting the malpractice and excessive bureaucracy and immobility of public administrations.

Beyond the funding and support lines provided by the major museums and public art centres, the Visual and Plastic Arts sector has been systematically neglected and excluded by administrations and politicians since the 1990s. Perhaps it is necessary to be self-critical and to rethink certain strategies for connecting with the public, but it is also true that without adequate treatment and support from institutions and administrations, it is more difficult for our society to feel interested in it. For this reason, we believe that now is the time to take a step forward and reverse this situation by implementing specific actions that could even be incorporated into a national strategic plan.

In this context, the Plataforma de Espacios Independientes de Creación Contemporánea (Platform of Independent Spaces for Contemporary Creation) is constituted with the aim of giving voice to the needs and visibility to the potential of independent creation spaces, to organise and propose all kinds of informative, educational and advocacy events.