For whom and what?
In order to respond to the increasing demand among beginning artists for mentoring by experienced colleagues, and in order to add a further contribution to the effectiveness of the Artist Start grant, the Mondriaan Fund, in cooperation with Cultuur+Ondernemen (Culture+Entrepreneurship Knowledge Centre) offers the possibility of mentoring to beginning visual artists. The project is part of the Master-Apprentice programme of the Mondriaan Fund.

Mentoring is a custom-made programme that supports artists with an Artist Start grant in their entrepreneurship and in their development at the artistic level. The aim of the project is to link the substantive expertise of successful and experienced visual artists and curators to motivated, beginning artists. The know-how and the experience are put into action for a new generation. The artists are guided in the realization of their ambitions and plans, in their artistic development, professionalization and positioning.

The more than eighty artists that have so far received a stipendium indicate that, because of this trajectory, they have gained a better understanding of their position and visibility in the field. This has both an artistic and a business aspect.
Frequently heard notions are the following:
–    Professionalism and development of artistry.
–    Network and establishing contacts.
–    Reflection and making choices.
–    Self confidence.
–    Interaction with public, art institutes and galleries.
–    Defining goals more specifically.
–    Artistic development.

How does it work?
All artists who have received an Artist Start grant are offered the opportunity to apply with one of the available mentors. A mentoring trajectory can be put into action until up to 24 months after allocation of the stipendium.

Artists who wish to be eligible for mentoring can submit a proposal in which they formulate and motivate what they want to work on in a mentoring trajectory, what they aim to have achieved by the end of the trajectory, which mentor has their preference and why. The motivation must be in keeping with the ambitions and plans of the artist and must be aimed at improving cultural entrepreneurship and artistic growth. Based on the submitted motivation letter and the work of the applications, the mentors choose whether they will supervise the artist. Experience has shown that this procedure leads to a strong commitment and great effectiveness of the trajectory.

Each trajectory runs for a year. In exceptional cases, a request can be made during the trajectory to extend the term to 24 months. Within that period, the participating artists are brought into contact with the various parts of the art sector in order to ensure a better coherence between production and presentation. During a mentoring trajectory, the mentor and mentee meet at least six times in order to discuss the substantive development of the work and its progress, and to come to an exchange of ideas, sources of inspiration, and experiences. For specific questions, a mentor may decide to seek advice from a different mentor or expert.

For the financing of the trajectory, the artist is asked for a contribution of 600 euros incl. VAT. The additional costs are paid by the Mondriaan Fund and Cultuur+Ondernemen.

The team of mentors that artists can choose from has been put together by Cultuur+Ondernemen and the Mondriaan Fund. The team is made up of approximately forty experienced visual artists and curators. The mentors have furthermore been selected on the basis of specific mentoring or guidance qualities. The mentors have all become widely known and have gained high appreciation in their profession; they are critical and respect the talent of others. They encourage their mentees to continually develop themselves artistically and to professionalise in the field of cultural entrepreneurship. Some of them have a relation with the Mondriaan Fund; for example as an (ex) committee member or advisor or because they have themselves received a contribution from the Fund. In this way, they also take care of the transfer of knowledge and experience that has partly been built up with the support of the Mondriaan Fund.

Artists my also propose a mentor themselves, apart from the aforementioned team of mentors. They can do this with a motivated proposal. Of course, the mentoring capacities of the proposed mentor will then be assessed by the Mondriaan Fund and Cultuur+Ondernemen. The monitoring of progress and the practical organisation are in the hands of Cultuur+Ondernemen. Periodic consultations with the team of mentors form part of the trajectory. The mentors are asked for interim and end reports of the mentee, in which their business and artistic development and capacities are assessed. The mentees are asked for an end report, which specifically addresses their expectations, the experiences and the result of the mentoring trajectory.

An overview of the team of mentors can be found below.

More information
You can send your application (motivation, website and contact information) to Christine Sluysmans Project Manager Mentoring of Cultuur+Ondernemen / Culture + Entrepreneurship. She is in charge of matching, contracting the mentors and  contact person for all (potential) mentees and mentors of this program.
Christine Sluysmans is initiator of Mentoring in the Arts in the Netherlands since 2005. Metropolis M has published an article about mentoring in the arts, click here to read the article (in Dutch).