April 24 - A German artist has sacrificed her painting in solidarity with an Italian museum which has begun burning works of art in protest against budget cuts which they say are crippling arts and culture in Italy. Ciara Sutton reports.
**TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~NONE** The final viewing of "Soccer" by German artist Astrid Stoefhas before it is burnt. The picture is part of a protest by the CAM museum for Contemporary Arts in Italy, against cuts to art and culture. The Naples museum says it will burn three works of art every week. Antonio Manfredi is the museum's director. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) DIRECTOR OF CAM CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM, ANTONIO MANFREDI SAYING: "You see revolutions are made with fire, and myself and the artists, do not intend that the sacrifice of these works is seen as a destruction but rather as sacrificial lambs that can bring about the rebirth of attention towards art and culture." Speaking via an internet video link Astrid Stoefhas said it was painful letting go of her work. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ARIST ASTRID STOEFHAS SPEAKING VIA INTERNET LINK SAYING: "I am sad because it is a lot of work and something personal from me and now the people can't see the painting anymore. But if it helps, it is necessary." CAM receives no public funds and the recession has eliminated what little private funding it used to get. As a result it has no funding for new exhibitions. It also says the local mafia has tightened its grip in the area by buying up struggling businesses. Many other galleries and museums across Italy are suffering a similar fate. Italy's belt-tightening may be helping restore faith in its ability to pay back 1.9 trillion euros in debt. But it's also damaging its reputation as a nation of art and culture. Ciara Sutton, Reuters