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New grant programs contemporary art and cultural heritage now online

At this beginning of the new culture plan period 2013-2016 the Mondriaan Fund is publishing our new grant programs in the field of contemporary art and cultural heritage. The application forms and corresponding check lists will be online from 17th January onwards.

All grants issued by the Mondriaan Fund aim to encourage the significant (international) development and visibility of contemporary art and cultural heritage from the Netherlands, in areas where the marketplace does not (yet) provide this stimulant. All applicants, such as organizations, artists or intermediaries, will discover familiar elements in the possibilities the Mondriaan Fund is offering for the coming years. Although many programs have new names and perhaps modified differentiation, basically they serve the same goals and offer the same opportunities.

The assessment criteria for the proposals are similar to the previous ones. Quality is the most important criterium, whether it is termed cultural historical significance for a proposal from a heritage institute, or artistic quality for a proposal from an artist. Cultural entrepreneurship – where the experimental attitude of an organization or artist is reviewed -, the capacity to engage a relevant audience and the cultural, historic or artistic context remain criteria which will be reviewed in conjunction with the quality.

There are obviously also deviations from the cultural policy over the past years. These are directly related to the three accents introduced in our new policy plan: visibility, collaboration and commissioning.

The accent on visibility is based on the relevance of providing insight how society in the Netherlands invests in contemporary art and cultural heritage through the Mondriaan Fund. All proposals must contain a presentation plan. The details will differ with the different types of project and program, but we expect the applicant to describe the way he endeavors to capture and engage a relevant audience for his work, project, exhibition, acquisition or commission. In some cases this might be a website or a blog, in others a public event based on a substantial communication plan. The quality of the presentation plan will in all cases be subject to judgment.

By stressing collaboration the production of art can be directly connected to visibility by presenting or selling it. Many of the Mondriaan Fund grants can be applied for in cohesion by organizations, artists, intermediaries and commissioners.  For some programs proposals with collaboratory aspects stand a better chance, provided the quality and other criteria are positively assessed and the collaboration offers added value. The Mondriaan Fund has also created new possibilities to encourage collaboration, such as contributing towards the production of new work commissioned by an organization. Organizations are thereby encouraged to follow the development of a young artist over a period of time and to commit to producing new work. Another example is the grant program for international collaboration between heritage institutes, aimed at encouraging exhibitions with the results of research into communal areas of collection.

The third policy spearhead – commissioning – paves the way for public or private commissioners who are encouraged to realize significant and accessible contemporary art projects.

With all the possibilities the Mondriaan Fund is offering in the next years, both the Mondriaan Fund and our applicants will be dealing with a 33% budget cut. This obviously means that our advisory committees will be requested to be critically selective. The Mondriaan Fund is also requesting a higher contribution from applications themselves and will encourage applicants to engage other funders and sponsors. New and alternative financing methods will be welcomed, such as crowdfunding with Voordekunst, interest-free loans with Het Materiaalfonds and with Time Bank for exchange of services. Moreover, organizations collaborating with artists will be encouraged to provide a realistic fee.

The grant programs of the Mondriaan Fund are summarized below, and clarified comprehensively on our new website under the heading ‘applications’. Applications forms with accompanying checklists will be available from 17 January onwards. Under the heading ‘activities’ we have information on the development programs for innovation and promotion such as pilotprojects, Prix de Rome, the private art buyers scheme and the Venice Biennale. Furthermore, under the heading ‘supported’ we will highlight recent grant issues.

Both our new policy and our new website are in a stage of active development. We hope that applicants and the public will soon find their way to the options and the results.