Benefactor Zuzāns to cut all art funding this year

On March 25, entrepreneur and patron of the arts Jānis Zuzāns said he'll cut €1 million in funding that he had planned for the arts this year. 

Zuzāns said the move is a response to the government decision to close all gambling houses, including the ones that belong to him.

A surprisingly great part of cultural activities in Latvia are sponsored by gambling proceeds from Zuzāns' company, Alfor, which consists of 123 gambling places across Latvia.

The Mākslai vajag telpu foundation for establishing a modern art museum in Latvia, as well as the annual Purvītis' award for painters, the Neputns publishing house and the National Theater will be among the affected cultural institutions.

Likewise, there are question marks around the future of Zuzāns' own museum, set to house his vast private art collection. 

In an opinion piece published on Delfi, Zuzāns said that the move follows simple business logic – expenses should be cut when income decreases.

He did not find fault with the government decision to close all gambling houses but did criticize the decision to close online gambling websites, saying this will contribute to the shadow economy. 

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