Since 1992 the Cultural Foundation of Hesse (Hessische Kulturstiftung) has been providing a scholarship programme of high renown for visual artists who were born in Hesse, have a permanent residence here or hold a diploma from a Hessian art academy. These scholarships are awarded every two years as 12 months travel grants or as a 12 months residence in one of the foundation’s studios in London, Paris or New York.
During the long-standing period of this programme societal paradigms and their impact on contemporary art have undergone significant changes. The economically sensitive situation of creative minds, as well as artistic production itself is increasingly challenged by art market laws. In contrast stands the foundation’s basic understanding of the often precarious state of artists and the relations between promoting, presenting and collecting. It is not only the acquisition complementing a collection that seems sensible and necessary to us, but also, quite in tradition with European habits, investing in the postgraduate education of artists.
As a prerequisite for art that stands its ground within an international competition, Hessische Kulturstiftung has poured out about €4.5 million for scholarships to 150 artists until now. This is an investment in a professional branch of our society whose definition has changed from the artist as a creative opponent to society to a global player within the international art world, related to by extended artistic practices beyond the limits of genres and media. Giving artists the opportunity for personal growth and change of perspective – the seminal achievements of our programme – we therefore consider as an important contribution to professionalising artistic career promotion.