New Patrons

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In 1992, the French project Initiative Nouveaux Commanditaires (New Patrons Programme) was launched with the aim of creating a new vehicle for supporting the contemporary arts. Instead of relying on private or public funding organisations, the programme encourages local self-managed groups of citizens to establish contact with internationally renowned artists and commission a stand-alone work for their home town. According to the credo of the New Patrons programme, any individual can become a sponsor of an important artwork. More than three hundred productions, many of which have taken several years to complete, have been commissioned in France through this programme so far. The fine arts, architecture, music, theatre – all artistic fields are represented. Financing is generally provided by private and public sponsors. In Germany, New Patrons is still in its infancy. Especially in structurally weak and rural regions, there are many people interested in participating in such a community-based process which allows their voices to be heard and enables them to respond to challenges in their communities through contemporary art.

The Federal Cultural Foundation supported the association of New Patrons by providing start-up funding to develop a maximum of 20 projects. The Foundation funded these efforts until the organisers came up with concrete artistic proposals. The financing for the actual realisation of the artworks was then secured by the local group of New Patrons. Any citizen can be a sponsor. Normally New Patrons are small- to medium-sized locally-based groups of citizens who are committed to addressing an urgent, publicly relevant concern or issue in their community or neighbourhood. A mediator will consult and support the New Patrons with finding a suitable, renowned artist who will work together with them to develop an artistic proposal for their respective project. Once the citizens, mediator and artist come to an agreement, the citizens assume responsibility for acquiring financing, organising policy matters, collaborating with regional partners from the artistic and cultural fields, and hosting civic dialogues throughout the commissioning process. An extensive and long-term civic commitment is a prerequisite for the success of these local participation projects.

The Federal Cultural Foundation allocated a total of 2.34 million euros to support the New Patrons programme from 2017 to 2022.

Factbox for this project

Project name
New Patrons
Funding period
Lead Partner
Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber
Funding amount
2.34 million euros


Balkendiagramm, das eine deutliche Steigerung der direkt erreichten Personen (lokales Publikum) und der aktiv mitwirkenden Bürger zwischen 2017 und 2022 aufzeigt

Commissioned by – Art in Relation

Reflections, theories and action-oriented proposals to the New Patrons model: The series "Commissioned by – Art in Relation" sheds light on the special features of art in the citizens' mandate from perspectives of cultural and social studies.


Schriftzug "Jedem Auftrag wohnt mindestens ein Bürger inne"

Article by Alexander Koch

Who gets to determine what artworks are displayed locally? What should they show? Who should they represent? An article for Magazine #34.



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Alexander Koch

Tempelhofer Damm 2
12101 Berlin
T +49 (0)30 577 92 856
F +49 (0)30 577 92 858

Website: (external link, opens in a new window)

Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Uta Schnell

Franckeplatz 2
06110 Halle (Saale)
T +49 (0)345 2997 118
F +49 (0)345 2997 333
E-Mail to Uta Schnell