The mediators play an indispensable part in the New Patrons’ work. Whenever citizens organize to change a village’s appearance, build a monument, or realize a unique idea, the conversation starts with the mediator who travels out to meet them. The mediators are scouts and brokers. Rather than having answers ready or arriving with a detailed blueprint, they’re specialists in the art of listening. They help all involved parties understand a situation with all its ramifications and get to the heart of a civic initiative’s request.
Mediators are familiar with their region. They’re in constant dialogue with local institutions, talking to political representatives and administrators and learning more about a community’s economic circumstances and local history.
Only when they have a good grasp of a site and all players do they help the citizens specify their request and start looking for the artist who is most suitable for this particular project.
Knowing the ins and outs of the arts scene is only a small part of the mediators’ qualifications. They gently guide the creative process along and know how to realize demanding and complex projects and bring all needed partners on board. They’re also translators, adept at forging a synthesis between artistic visions and citizens’ needs. In many instances, the mediators stay in touch with their patrons after a project is completed to address any concerns that arise.
Over the past thirty years, more than fifty mediators have been involved in New Patrons projects. Many of them have realized numerous projects in their regions and emerged as widely trusted partners to whom citizens, mayors and other policymakers, and foundations and sponsors turn for advice.
I’m curious about the knowledge that other people bring to the table and firmly believe that everyone should have access to education—and to art. This is the first time I’ve encountered an approach that allows me as an art educator to step outside the role of the one possessed of “knowledge” and engage the audience on an equal footing. As a curator and gallery owner, I’m also excited about harnessing the special expertise that artists have for society and giving them a perspective beyond the commercial art market.
Mediator, Ruhr area
I’ve always believed that pro and contra are not about who is ultimately wrong or right; they represent different perspectives. As a mediator, I bring them together for a dialogue that enriches both sides and helps them cooperate to achieve something new. The greatest challenge is to find a way to let all sides become involved based on what they are truly committed to. Everyone can do so much. And together we can do much more.
Mediator Brandenburg/ Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Anfängliche Skepsis wird zum Austausch und mündet in gegenseitiges Vertrauen. In meiner Rolle als Mediator bin ich oft erstaunt, was alles unter der öffentlichen Schicht unserer Gesellschaft schlummert. Welche Fragen, Ideen und Wünsche die Bürgerinnen formulieren, wenn man sie nur lässt. Es ist ein spannender Prozess dieses Engagement und den ihm innewohnenden Mut bis hin zum Kunstwerk zu begleiten.
Two core convictions drive me: that art is a mode of expression that can have a creative and aesthetic impact and that should be open to as many people as possible; and that it’s important to understand and respond to the particular social ties in a group, local community, a region, the sources of people’s sense of belonging.
As a mediator, I’m in sustained dialogue with citizens I would otherwise never have met. Our exchanges of ideas may not always produce actionable results, but they often bring unexpected realities to light. The opportunity to meet so many people who deeply impress me and hear their different stories is a gift.