Cultural events are currently concentrated in the capital and the Prime Minister’s speech “Armenia 2020: Balanced social and economic development” identified the development of regional cultural activity as a priority. This is because emigration has in the last five years by 3% every year according to the 2017 census.
The artistic community is one of the most affected sectors because the Ministry of Culture of RA supports organizations but not individuals (the majority of the nation’s artists). A recent law to close local authorities and centralise them in the Marz centres has made the situation even harder. The increasing number of artists leaving the country over the past few years is especially evident in the small towns in Armenia. Consequently, young arts graduates find it hard to return home because of no cultural environment or opportunities for professional growth.
However, there are some best practice examples. Bishop Bagrat has spent four years activating the cultural and social life of Tavush Marz by organising Haghartsin Cultural Week, the Art and Crafts Centre, the Music at the Border Festival and the Honey Festival which has created jobs for young people. Tavush Marz now has young people returning back to their home towns.
The Ministry of Culture has the convening power to become a platform where the state and non-governmental/independent sectors can meet, communicate and develop.