New Patrons

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About the New Patrons

New Patrons are people who want to make positive change. They commission artists to develop projects that respond to urgent questions in their city, town, or village.

Architecture, photography, film, painting, theater, sculpture, performance art, literature, design, installation art, landscape art, urban planning, internet, events, music, and much more

With support from mediators, they define what they want from art and initiate projects that articulate what matters to them. In this way, thousands of citizens have lent lasting and conspicuous expression to their ideas and given themselves and their communities a voice.

The process usually starts with open questions: What is important to me? What do I want to change in my immediate environment? Where are my wishes not being heard? What is missing in the settings of my daily life? What are we turning a blind eye to? And how can we come together as a community?

At first blush, none of these concerns necessarily have anything to do with art. Three nurses who think their hospital ward should have a nondenominational prayer room; physicists who wish to visualize the beauty of mathematics; homeless people who envision the ideal shelter; a hundred students who want to build a beach outside their school—any wish and any wishful dream can become a commission. And artists come up with creative answers to even the most unusual briefs.

The journey to that answer starts with you—because the New Patrons, that’s you! Our mediators are here to help you on this journey, taking the time to understand your concerns and staying by your side until the project is completed. They listen carefully, identify an artist who is a good fit for your needs, and then support you as you work directly with the artist. In dialogue with you, he or she translates your idea into a work of art, which will often also come to mean a great deal to many others.

The Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber provides the logistical infrastructure and supports citizens, artists, and cooperation partners in commissioning, financing, and realizing the projects. The fruits of these collaborative efforts are non-commercial, public, and non-profit cultural assets.

Click here for five example projects.

Some works of art commissioned by New Patrons are actually sculptures installed on market squares. In many other instances, however, the art takes quite unusual forms. From a playground to a newly composed opera, from a redesigned school building to a stage play: a New Patrons work can come in almost any format. It could be a song or a website, a film or a botanical garden. The possibilities are virtually unlimited.

Much can happen along the journey from initial idea to finished work that no one foresaw. People come together who didn’t know each other, exchanging views they had never given voice to. Working with experienced artists breathes fresh life into initiatives, clubs, or communities. A New Patrons project harbors many surprises, and to embark on one is always also to set out for the unknown.

The New Patrons’ active involvement manifests itself in village squares and town-halls, in university cafeterias, youth centers, and jobless people’s hangouts. New Patrons live in rural areas and urban centers, in single-family homes and public housing projects.

And the New Patrons make sure to guard their political independence. Their projects focus on the actual needs of ordinary citizens. No higher authority and no expert tells them which concerns to address, which goals to pursue. Because who would know better than you do what matters to your community? That’s why desires and visions are always articulated locally and in a shared process, ensuring that the new work of contemporary art will also be a valuable contribution to democratic solidarity.