On November 23rd 2015, Fonds Kwadraat, in collaboration with Artworlds (Carlien Oudes), organised a day especially for visual artists titled: ‘Experiment and funding, does it go together?’ Over seventy artists were present to explore this topic.
While funding applications require you to indicate which results to expect, in the visual arts creative processes cannot be described beforehand. Real experiment in art –one could think of yet unknown, new media or a not very common combination of disciplines - doesn’t appear to fit in any of the ‘boxes’ that traditional funds give you as an option to check while applying for them. At Fonds Kwadraat -giving out loans instead of subsidies- experiment is very welcome.
In some ways the current situation in the arts is very similar to that of the 19th century: limited government interference, and private investments in art and artists. Art collectors are (again) an important pillar of art finance. It is the real lover of art that the artist can lean on.
Renée Steenbergen (researcher patronage) held an interesting lecture on the history of patronage in the Netherlands. She discussed the possibilities for artists at this time using subsidies like crowdfunding, your own sales channels, internet platforms and an interest free loan. Subsequently, the artists Ilse Frech, Koos Buist, and Matthijs Booij explained through several art projects how they raised money to realise their ideas. Remarkably, all three artists found completely different ways to finance their work.
After a great lunch by Choux, the artists went into conversation with several art- and culture funds (VSBFonds, Mondriaan Fonds, Fund Cutuur+Financiering, Fonds Kwadraat, and Voordekunst) led by Carine van Santen (editor Kunststof Radio) about experimentation in the arts. Afterwards, the artists and fund organisations split up into three groups and zoomed in on the topics of crowdfunding, subsidies, and loans.
Although finance is often a necessary component in the creation of art, money is also confined: you need partners, a platform and collaboration. A platform for art is created when you are able to inspire the people around you.
Image: Maarten van Haaff