New Patrons

New Patrons © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata

Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata is initiating a project, titled THE NEW PATRONS INITIATIVE, for the first time in India. This is a project, where the civil society commissions an artist (a visual - artist / architect / designer / writer / performer / musician etc.) to create for the community; addressing a pressing need to bring about a positive change. This is a powerful and revolutionary new approach, breaking the century old top-down tradition of arts patronage through privileged individuals or institutions. We strongly believe that the communities know best for themselves what their needs are and this project is about empowering the community with the help of a mediator to find an answer to their needs via the arts in the broader sense of the word, in order to bring about a positive change.
The guiding philosophy is that both citizens and artists have the intelligence and the courage necessary to highlight contemporary cultural necessities and act in consequence and that anyone who wishes so, alone or in association with others, can take responsibility for commissioning the artwork.

We want to encourage the emergence of a New Patrons program in India that joins comparable programs in many other countries on the European, African and American continent where the New Patrons are already active. To start this initiative with a first pilot project we invite citizens groups to present a proposal that arises out of a collective need to bring about a sustainable change in their immediate physical surroundings through an artistic dialogue and a participatory process.
The New Patrons initiative will support the selected group to bring the idea to fruition by: 

  • a process of mediation that will help to better understand the local situation and the aims and ambitions of the project.
  • Facilitating contact with an artist who would be the best-fit for the idea.
  • Providing guidance and inputs during the process.
  • Assisting in fund raising. 
Launched on 26th Sep. 2016, this initiative invited applications from West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar and Sikkim, Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram in the north east of India. A jury comprising of specialists from the field selected the most original and impactful idea to start the New Patrons Initiative in India. The work on the selected idea will begin shortly.
This initiative is inspired by the Nouveaux Commanditaires project which is being run by the Fondation de France since the 1990s. Alexander Koch, who has initiated the Initiative in Germany, took it to several African countries together with Goethe-Institut and assisted in bringing it to India as well. These new Patrons include parents of nursery students, members of a municipality council, staff members of a restaurant and many others.