New Patrons

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International Network

When the first mediators fanned out across the French countryside in 1992 to get villagers excited about the idea of commissioning a work, art outreach specialists were shaking their heads. Why would people who lived far from the major art capitals want to team up with artists? Wouldn’t contemporary art be pretty far down the list of priorities of the residents of small towns with stagnant economies and shrinking populations? And why should artists actually occupy themselves with citizens’ concerns?

The New Patrons started out as nothing more than an idea. Now, almost thirty years later, this idea has brought together and inspired tens of thousands of people, and in many instances it has helped set communities on a new track. New Patrons’ initiatives formed all over France and then, following the French example, in other countries in Europe and beyond. The first projects in Belgium were launched in 2002, followed by Italy, Germany, and Spain. Over time, an ever wider international network of project initiatives was built that now extends from Finland to Cameroon, from Chile to Poland. To date, around five hundred citizens’ groups in fifteen countries have commissioned projects. In some parts of Europe, citizen-commissioned art has become a fixture of cultural life. The New Patrons have matured into a strong movement that grows year after year, making fresh voices heard and generating a steady stream of new project ideas and commissions.

In the beginning, the New Patrons Patrons were nothing more than an idea. Today, almost 30 years later, this idea has brought together tens of thousands of people, inspired them and set something in motion in many places.

Starting in France, New Patrons' initiatives were also formed in other European countries and beyond. The first projects in Belgium began in 2002, followed by Italy, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Over the years, an ever expanding international network of projects has been established, now stretching from Finland to Cameroon and from Chile to Poland.

To date, around 500 projects have been commissioned by citizens' groups in 15 countries. In some regions of Europe, art has become an integral part of cultural life on behalf of the citizens. Today, the New Patrons are a strong movement that grows every year and generates more and more voices, project ideas and commissions.

International Mediator's Summit in Antibes/ France 2013

Photo: Alexander Koch

"The Protocol" in 13 languages

The New Patrons of Marseille

International Mediator's Summit in Antibes/ France 2013

Realizing a big idea requires money, institutional partners, and structures to handle communications and logistics. In fact, many backers stand ready to support our projects, and the particular organizational structure the New Patrons adopt varies from region to region and from country to country.

International Initiatives

Since 2013, Alexander Koch, head of the Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber - GNA gGmbH, based in Berlin, has been initiating pilot projects, partnerships and new networks beyond Europe's borders. Building on the experience gained in various European regions, regionally supported initiatives are being developed, which adapt the protocol of the New Patrons, in order to independently carry the idea of art on behalf of the citizens into their societies. The local actors themselves develop suitable methods and structures to make the work of regional mediators possible. Since 2019, Boushra Adi has been supporting pilot initiatives in the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa) from the Berlin office.

There is no central institution that directs or manages the emergence of new initiatives. The New Patrons are an international network of independent mediators and cultural organizations that accompany citizens in implementing their art projects. Large and small foundations, public and private sponsors help with the financing, art associations, theatres and museums are on board. If you are looking for the New Patrons, you will find civil society.

Discussion about the New Patrons in Lagos, Nigeria 2014

Project meeting in Foumban, Cameroon 2015

The unstoppable Boushra Adi 2019 in Beirut, Lebanon

Photo: Alexander Koch

Video about the New Patrons in Africa:

The Network

There’s no central institution to direct or manage the inception of new initiatives. The New Patrons are an international network anchored by numerous independent organizations that offer citizens advice and support as they realize their art projects. Large and small foundations, public and private donors help fund the projects; art societies, theaters, and museums contribute their specific resources. When the New Patrons gather, civil society as a whole sits at the table.
The New Patrons’ mediators are organized in an open network of nonprofit associations, institutions, and foundations:


Neue Auftraggeber (Germany):
Die Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber (Berlin)
Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach (Rhineland)
Kunstverein Schwerin für Mecklenburg und Vorpommern (northeast Germany)
Schloss Bröllin (ortheast Germany)
Brandenburgischer Kunstverein Potsdam (Brandenburg)


Les Nouveaux commanditaires (France):
Le Coin du miroir / Le Consortium (eastern France)
Artconnexion (eastern France and projects in Poland and Norway)
Societies (île de France)
3CA (Île de France)
Les Complices des Côtes d’Armor (Brittany)
Eternal Network (western France)
Entre-Deux (Pays de la Loire)
Point De Fuite (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Cercle d’art contemporain du Cailar (Languedoc-Roussillon)
à Demeure (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Midi-Pyrénées)
Thankyouforcoming (Alpes-Maritimes)
Éole et Pan (music)
Issue (music)


De Nieuwe Opdrachtgevers (Belgium):
De Nieuwe Opdrachtgevers (Brussels)


Nuovi Committenti (Italy):
a.Titolo (Turin)


Nuevos Comanditarios (Spain):
Fondation Carasso (Madrid)
Artehazia (Basque country)


Nouveaux commanditaires (Switzerland):
Société suisse des Nouveaux commanditaires (Geneva)


Les Nouveaux commanditaires (Cameroon):
Association des Nouveaux commanditaires du Cameroun (Yaoundé)