Visual art and cultural heritage: at one with society
The Mondriaan Fund is the public fund for visual art and cultural heritage in the Netherlands. It enables plans, projects and programmes of artists, exhibition makers and critics, museums and other art and heritage institutions, and publishers and commissioners.
All contributions reinforce the production or presentation of art and heritage from the Netherlands, both at home and abroad, where the market doesn’t do this (yet): precisely there, art and heritage prove themselves as valuable havens of the imagination. The fund stimulates the public commitment and the development of these havens.
The public investments through the Mondriaan Fund always yield an intellectual gain: cultural heritage and visual art are at one with society and put a face to our society. Precisely that great immaterial value is what the fund strives to highlight. We are therefore committed to visibility; to a public appropriate to the scale and nature of the institutions and artists.
What does the Mondriaan Fund contribute to? From heritage book to art acquisition
The Mondriaan Fund offers a range of possible grants. This may involve an artist who develops new work, or collaboration between museum and artist; a gallery that shows art from the Netherlands at an art fair abroad, or a curator who does research for an exhibition or publication. There are contributions to talent development and in-depth development of practice for artists, exhibition makers and critics. For museums and other art and heritage institutions, there are contributions to assignments, programming and collections.
But the fund is there for everyone: it brings art closer to home. Through the KunstKoop, individual persons can buy art in instalments at 125 galleries. The fund reimburses the interest. And literally everyone may function as commissioner and apply for a contribution of the fund for commissioning the creation of a new artwork, as long as it concerns an artwork that has quality and is publicly accessible. Thanks to such an incentive, already more than a hundred commissioners saw the beginning of new work.
Advocate and driving force: what else does the Mondriaan Fund do?
The Mondriaan Fund is doing more. It boosts new developments, such as the cooperation between museums. Or the artist’s wage that was introduced in 2017.
The fund also contributes to contacts between artists and the development of talent. Beginning artists can call upon experienced colleagues through mentoring. The fund organizes the Young Art Critic’s Award and the Prix de Rome: the oldest and most generous prize for beginning artists. Apart from a sum of money and a trip to Rome for the winner, this prize is an investment in talent development, through an awarded work period for all nominees, and finally a joint exhibition complete with publication.
Besides, the fund puts forward visual art at the annual starter’s exhibition Prospects & Concepts, and it organizes the Dutch presentation at the Venice Biennale. In order to reinforce international exchange, an orientation journey takes place every year for exhibition makers, critics and artists. Foreign professionals, in turn, participate in the international visitors’ programme, where they get to know the art in the Netherlands.
2017-2020 Policy: Haven of Imagination, Development & Connection
Deepening and Reinforcement of the Haven of Imagination: the title of the policy plan for the 2017-2020 period indicates the direction that the Mondriaan Fund has taken. The focus, in this respect, lies with development and connection.
Development guarantees the necessary dynamics and reinforcement of quality: the exploration of new ways, apart from the continuation of well-trodden paths. Talent is independent of age; as is the development of it. Experiment and investigation, and also the in-depth development of practice are part of it. And at the museum level, for example: the enrichment and mobility of collections.
Connection is about the public scope of art and heritage. That does not necessarily involve big numbers, but it does involve inclusion: making clear that art and culture are for everyone. That is why every application includes a presentation plan, in which the applicant clarifies how the acquisition, the work grant, the project or the cooperation will be made visible, in an inspiring way, to an appropriate audience.
As an open fund, the Mondriaan Fund reinforces its own connection to applicants and the public. In 2017, it therefore appointed four regional agents, as extra pairs of ‘ears and eyes’ in the country. In order to help applicants on their way, there are open walk-in-hours every month. Every two weeks, we send out a newsletter to 6,500 subscribers, that is also published on the website. The site also features the blog, in which former director Birgit Donker sheds light on art and heritage news.
Seven platforms; seven mini-magazines
All the various grant opportunities and activities of the Mondriaan Fund are clustered in seven different platforms: Talent development, Vital Dutch Collection, Commissions, Presenting and programming, International presentations, Stimulating markets, and Collaborations.
The platforms function as mini-magazines, full of announcements, numerous examples of awarded applications, exemplary presentation plans, and interviews with applicants: a rich harvest of experiences, tips and results.
Origins of the Mondriaan Fund – Dutch funds for ‘culture in an open society’
The Mondriaan Fund is the result of the merger on 31 December 2011 between the Mondriaan Foundation and the BKVB Fund. Since then, there is a single portal for individual applicants and for visual art and heritage institutions. It is now easier to apply together, for example as a museum and an artist. In this way, the production of art can be directly linked to its visibility at presentations in museums or at art fairs.
The Mondriaan Fund is one of six public culture funds in the Netherlands, alongside the Cultural Participation Fund, the Performing Arts Fund NL, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Dutch Foundation for Literature, and the Creative Industries Fund NL. A large part of the state funding for arts and culture is invested with these funds, in addition to the basic infrastructure that falls under the direct responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. With their substantive knowledge, the funds are expert operators, and, within their area, also important initiators and policy planners.
‘Artists shake us up, and heritage shows us where we come from’ according to Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven in her 2018 vision letter ‘Culture in an open society’. The letter thereby closely dovetails with the vision of the policy plan of the Mondriaan Fund for this cultural planning period, which starts from the idea that art and cultural heritage are multifaceted and support an open democracy, and contribute to a free mind and an open view.