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An arts council is a government or private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the arts mainly by funding local artists, awarding prizes, and organizing events at home and abroad. They are often arms length from the government to prevent political interference in their decisions.
Almost every country provides some government support for arts and culture, but not all choose to adopt the arm's length or arts council model. Many national governments rely solely on a government ministry or department to deliver their cultural policies and support programmes. Most of the 'arts council' countries listed above also have a government ministry or department for arts and culture (rare exceptions are the USA and the Philippines); the typical arts council therefore lives in quite a complex environment, wedged between the arts sector and government.
For information on both arts councils and ministries around the world, and on the issues they face, go to: