Italy to Give All 18-Year-Olds Money to Spend on Art, Books

'Beauty is more tenacious than barbarism'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2016 11:06 AM CDT
Italy to Give All 18-Year-Olds Money to Spend on Art, Books
A woman walks at the Mudec museum in Milan, Italy, Thursday, March 24, 2016.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Italy thinks "cultural consumption" is important, and it's putting its money where its mouth is, to the tune of $330 million. The country is moving forward with its pledge to give every kid turning 18 this year in Italy €500 (roughly $560) to spend on "cultural products and events," reports Artforum in a translation of the Italian paper El Mundo. Citizens and permanent residents who were born in 1998 must register on and download the "18app" app. A government undersecretary hailed the fact that the money won't be "allocated through bureaucracy" but instead through some 550,000 teenagers' decisions—with one limitation. The funds can be spent on books, theater, concerts, exhibitions, and museums, but not on albums.

The money must be spent by the end of 2017, reports the Telegraph, which notes the program was announced by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi 10 days after the November terror attacks in Paris. With spending on security being hiked by one billion euros, he said the same amount would go toward new cultural spending. "We will not give in to terror. We have centuries of history that proclaim the fact that culture will beat ignorance, that beauty is more tenacious than barbarism." (More Italy stories.)

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