From its establishment in 1946, the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina has operated in accordance with the Law on Fine Arts and Museum Activities. The last time this Law was adopted was in the middle of the 1992-1995 war, more precisely, in 1994, by the Government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ever since the Dayton Peace Agreement was signed, the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina has not decided how to treat its own founding rights over the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina and another six cultural institutions (National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Museum of Literature and Theatre Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Library for Blind Persons and Persons with Impaired Eyesight, and the Cinemateque of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
The unresolved issue of legal status of this institution has led to absence of sources of financing its regular operation. The Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina is funded solely through grants and by way of public competitions, as well as from the budget of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Canton of Sarajevo (i.e. their Ministries of Culture and Sport) and the budget of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (i.e. its Ministry of Civil Affairs).
These funds are unreliable, irregular and ever decreasing and, as such, they hinder the institution’s proper functioning.
It is thanks to enormous and selfless efforts of all the 18 employees – often at the expense of their own wages – that this institution has survived. Thus, between 25 and 30 % of operating costs are covered by the institution’s own revenues, which is a rather high degree of self-financing for an institution in the field of arts and culture.
Until 2000, the operation of the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina had been funded by the Canton of Sarajevo, through its relevant Ministry; in the following two years, the funding was taken over by the Federal Ministry of Culture, and then, referring to the fact that, according to the Dayton Peace Agreement, it was not their duty, without any prior notice, this Ministry stopped funding this and other six cultural institutions. Since then, a temporary solution was found and the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina is now left to the mercy (or, rather, the lack of it) of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Funds provided for the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last three years are in the form of «assistance», granted through public competitions published annually by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Thus received, the funds amounting to 150,000 KM (about 75 000 Euros) are insufficient even for the 6-months maintenance of the level of operation that has been achieved thus far.
The Art Gallery of B&H needs about 450,000 KM (about 200 000 Euros) to cover its basic operational costs (the programme excluded).
Based on their constitutional tights and with full support of the OHR (Officeof the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina), Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office as well as the media, the Art Gallery of Officeof the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina and another six institutions initiated the process of resolving their status with the relevant state authority. However, there has not been any response from those authorities yet.