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In the Netherlands, Martine van Kampen works for Skor — a foundation that organises and supports art in public spaces. Martine had constructed a detailed outline of three salons she planned to hold, addressing topics of art in public spaces with selected specialists. In addition to this research Martine met up with specialists of art in public space.
A long, vast tradition of art commissions for public buildings Kunst am Bau , organised in competitions. For the smaller commissions mostly local artists are invited, for the larger ones more well known but still predominantly German artists. Whereas it is the field where in terms of volume most projects are being realised and most money is spent — it creates many opportunities for artists — it is being criticised for being quite closed and conservative, similar to the field of architecture in Berlin.
Spin-off or overflow from Berlins institutional and gallery scene. Institutions organize temporary projects in public locations; artists who participate in major exhibitions choose to make work outside. This can result in great projects by very interesting and internationally acclaimed artists, but the practice remains incidental and the works disappear again.
Another Berlin tradition: do-it-yourself. The fabric of Berlin lends itself to this practice: there are vacant lots to be claimed, spaces to be used as they wait for development, prices are cheap and there are ways around the rules without getting into too much trouble.
These initiatives can result in great projects and generate good energy, but getting money for them is a more than fulltime job and most of them can only keep up a few years. In terms of quality they all three show a wide range. In the programme of meetings I hope to shed light on a few questions that reside in the spaces between these spaces, so to say. First I feel there is a sense of urgency in terms of the future of public art. This urgency is real in the Netherlands at the moment: national budgets for public art are being cut rigorously, and local budgets will follow soon.