The Portuguese State and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation are the major sources of financial support for Ar.Co’s independent projects in the school’s first decade. The most significant and systematic State funding until the 1990s comes mainly from the Secretaria de Estado da Cultura and Direcção Geral da Acção Cultural. In 1997, Education Minister Eduardo Marçal Grilo transforms a visit to the school into a work session: Ar.Co’s independent status is examined and a discussion follows about the reasons why Ar.Co wants to maintain this status, the “public service” offered by the school’s activities, its long experience, its experimental policy and promotion of lesser known areas of the arts and crafts, etc. This same year the Ministry of Education grants a 1.500.00$00 escudo subsidy to the school. In the official ceremony commemorating Ar.Co’s 25th anniversary on November 1998, a protocol ensuring financial aid for a 3-year period is signed for the first time between Ar.Co and the Ministry of Education. In 2004, a protocol covering a wider range of collaborative agreements is signed by Ar.co and four Ministries: Education; Science and Higher Education; Culture; and Social Security and Labor (in the last case, a special agreement is signed with the Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional/Institute of Employment and Professional Training, responsible for the regulation and implementation of financial support coming from the Ministry of Social Security and Labor). The protocol’s preliminary considerations declare that the Ministries have considered: “Ar.Co’s role in the promotion of the fine arts, crafts and visual communication disciplines, as well as the high levels of efficacy demonstrated by the school in terms of its competitive capacities and of the innovative character of its educational and training project, recognized by the support given by leading businesses and private foundations. The text further comments on “the versatile nature and range of its educational and training project, which provides specialized and professional training and training oriented towards the recycling of abilities (not to mention suitably therapeutic experience) to respond to varied needs of different types of students and age groups.” Finally, these considerations mention “Ar.Co’s groundbreaking role as a training entity in areas of artistic production that lack proper promotion and visibility in Portugal (...), as well as its persistence and efficacy in promoting these areas.” It then concludes that the State cannot “but acknowledge, encourage and support the experiments and formative, educational and training projects that show quality and innovation, and the alternative forms of training that attribute value to individual abilities, promote the emergence of vocational aspirations and contribute to the development of the fine arts and communication arts and the preservation and development of technical knowhow in those same areas, which are relevant to Portugal’s objectives in Education, Science, Culture and Labor policies.” In December 2009 and “considering the highly positive results attained”, the protocol of collaboration is renovated for another 5 years between Ar.Co and the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and the Ministry of Culture. On July 2015, the protocol was renovated, for a 3 year period, with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Solidarity, Employment and Social Security.
Oficial ceremony commemorating Ar.Co's 25 Years, 1998. Eduardo Marçal Grilo (Minister of Education).
Ceremony commemorating Ar.Co's 25 Years,1998. Signing the protocolo between Ar.Co and the Ministry of Education. Eduardo Marçal Grilo (Minister of Education) and Manuel Castro Caldas (Ar.Co's Director).