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Dance group in a public place in Marl

New Patrons: Dance and performance commissioned by citizens

Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) again supports New Patrons

There is reason to celebrate at New Patrons! We are delighted that the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) today announced its decision to fund a nationwide program for dance and performance commissioned by citizens.

Around 15 artistic projects can be initiated from 2023 to 2028 by civic groups and implemented together with international artists. The German Federal Cultural Foundation is providing five million euros for this purpose.

The funding is an important step toward expanding and establishing citizen-commissioned art in Germany – and a recognition of this innovative model, which was already successfully funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation in a pilot phase from 2017 to 2022.

Tanz und Performance im Bürgerauftrag (dance and performance commissioned citizens) is an offer to civil society groups to lend visibility to their urgent concerns through the possibilities of performative forms of expression. They can direct their civic commissions to international artists, who react to local issues precisely where something should also move in the literal sense. This creates new perspectives and dynamics of civic engagement.

In line with the New Patrons model, in Tanz und Performance im Bürgerauftrag the civic groups, as New Patrons, take responsibility for the projects they initiate. Throughout the process, they are accompanied and advised by mediators who contribute their experience in producing ambitious artistic projects. They connect the New Patrons groups with artists, each of whom responds to the commissions with specific concepts, involving citizens in the development and implementation of the projects.

Starting in the fall of 2023, the mediators will enter into dialogue in various regions of Germany with people who want to help shape their living environment through Tanz und Performance im Bürgerauftrag. A consultant with proven expertise in the field of dance and performance will additionally accompany the program. Overall management and coordination are the responsibility of the non-profit Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber (Society of New Patrons) in Berlin. In order to strengthen the commitment of local cultural actors in Germany, associations, cultural centers, institutions or even public bodies are to be involved as local partners for the implementation of the projects.

Nowadays, dance and performance are associated with a broad spectrum of equally classical as well as experimental and innovative artistic forms of expression and possibilities for action, the boundaries of which are constantly expanding. Artists for whom the body and its relationship to the social and material environment are essential, who give shape to movement in time and space, who work on living forms of the common or negotiate the boundaries of what can be moved, can explore new paths of artistic participation and production at specific locations within the framework of the program. Places of action can be the street, the public space, but also physical and virtual stages of all kinds. At the same time, this creates opportunities to examine the potential and limitations of performance venues.

Both in the international New Patrons network and in the pilot phase in Germany, civic commissions in the past already exemplified the potential of performative disciplines to bring people together regardless of age, background, and prior knowledge and to address their concerns artistically. For In C – Marler Partitur by Sasha Waltz (photo), around one hundred citizens danced together with 16 internationally working dancers at architecturally significant locations in the city of Marl in September 2022. The exemplary project was developed together with the company Sasha Waltz & Guests and local actors. Tanz und Performance im Bürgerauftrag consolidates experiences from the pilot phase of the New Patrons and the international context. The program builds on previous successes, opens up citizen-commissioned art to other aesthetic forms, and expands the radius of the projects to places with less cultural infrastructure throughout Germany.

During the pilot phase, from 2017 to 2022, a total of around 700 patrons and active participants were directly involved at 17 locations of action. They worked there with 31 international artists. Over 20,000 people were reached as an audience – even under difficult Corona conditions. The New Patrons also became visible in the cultural-political discourse. This included the 2021 project being awarded the Innovation Prize of the Deutsche Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft (German Society for Cultural Policy).

Following the pilot phase, the Gesellschaft für Kunst und Mediation im Bürgerauftrag e.V. was founded in 2022 to represent the interests of New Patrons mediators in Germany. The association offers its members peer-to-peer consultations and organizes training and continuing education in the New Patrons mediation model. The association and the non-profit organisation Gesellschaft der Neuen Auftraggeber promote the model throughout Germany to local authorities, institutions and funders and provide advice on adapting the model to local conditions and needs. They are part of an international network that is implementing the model in a growing number of countries and regions.

Since 1991, first in France and later in other regions of Europe and beyond, thousands of people have already commissioned over 500 projects in all possible fields of contemporary arts. Together with outstanding contemporary artists, they have given form and shape as well as weight to the art commissioned by citizens and thus also to a new cultural-political idea.

Image: Presentation of Sasha Waltz: In C – Marler Partitur, for the New Patrons of Marl, project from the pilot phase of the New Patrons, Marl 2022, Photo: Florian Wagner


In Europe and beyond, citizen-commissioned art has become a broad movement since the 1990s that continues to grow, generating more and more voices, commissions, and formats. Seven national organizations representing close to 100 mediators of the New Patrons network in their respective countries now have joined forces and founded the Societé Internationale des Nouveaux Commanditaires – the International New Patrons Society.


We mourn the passing of Kobe Matthys (1970-2023), who died at the age of only 52. 

As part of Ruth Buchanan's project A Garden with Bridges (Spine, Stomach, Throat, Ear) for the New Patrons of Mönchengladbach, Kobe Matthys was a guest advisor in Mönchengladbach in 2021 and 2022 to reflect on the development of a (community) garden with the commissioning groups. As a place that renews itself on many levels, this garden is a reflection of a city that is undergoing radical change due to the transformation of industrial processes, late capitalism and changing needs of its inhabitants. We reflected with Kobe Matthys on the process involved in creating a community garden. He generously shared his experience and immense knowledge. As an artist living in Brussels, he was a member of the Zenne…


On 22 October 2022 a mosaic picture has been inaugurated in the garden at the village house in Wietstock in Western Pomerania, which was developed by the renowned artist Antje Majewski in an exchange with a group of villagers. The picture, which measures just under six square metres, was produced in a Berlin workshop as a high-quality mosaic from Italian glass stones and shows animals and plants that are significant for the commissioning group from the village in Western Pomerania.

The New Patrons Initiative was funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation for the development of the commission and the design. The realisation of the mosaic by cosmomusivo mosaik was funded by Kunstverein Rügen e.V. through Stiftung Kunstfonds / #NeustartKultur as well as Fondation de France and the…


The SeeCampus Niederlausitz was expanded to include a creative thinking space. Sol Calero's Casa Isadora was adapted to the needs and wishes of the students during a three-day workshop. The work now remains on campus as an open thinking and recreation space for the students. 

Many thanks to all involved - the students of the SeeCampus who contributed with creativity and passion and to Sol Calero!

Photos: Victoria Tomaschko


"This is the most unusual project of my entire career" - Sasha Waltz. 

On 10 & 11 September in Marl, one could experience how the action model of the New Patrons came to bear as a catalyst of a new communality.

The renowned choreographer Sasha Waltz made an entire city dance with "In C - Marler Partitur".

On the performance weekend, the actors moved in a spiral to the city centre, where the big performance with all participants and dancers of the company Sasha Waltz & Guests took place at the end of the second day.


Four years after the start of the project, the construction of three accessible steel sculptures has begun in the city of Mönchengladbach, providing access to the inner-city garden of the Mönchengladbach Unemployment Centre. Supplemented by a pavilion with an outdoor kitchen, a garden with bridges by Ruth Buchanan is being created here, which aims to create space for gardening, meeting and recreation. The sculptures are named after parts of the body and thus refer to the meaning of the garden as an organism.

Within the framework of a mediation process of the New Patrons Initiative, the team and visitors of the Mönchengladbach Unemployment Centre and pupils and teachers of the nearby Stiftisches Humanistisches Gymnasium Mönchengladbach took the initiative for a joint project that was to…


Marl dances: For over two weeks, citizens of Marl had the opportunity to approach the choreography of "In C" based on the composition by Terry Riley in workshops with tutors from the company Sasha Waltz & Guests. Interested audience members were able to see the first results in an open rehearsal before the whole of Marl is invited to dance in September.

Photos: Florian Wagner


On the weekend of 10 & 11 September, the premiere of "In C - Marler Partitur" by Sasha Waltz will take place in Marl.
With this piece by the internationally renowned artist, Marl will be the setting for a unique experiment in which an entire city is involved in a choreography and thus experiences itself as a community across all borders and barriers.
Over 120 dancers and audience members will form a procession and move in a spiral towards the city centre. The movement begins on Saturday, 10 September at 13:00 at the Scharoun School in Marl Westfalenstraße and ends with a joint performance by all participants, including amateurs as well as dancers from Sasha Waltz & Guests, on Sunday, 11 September at 17:00 at the Forum in Marl. 

For more information on locations, participants and how you can…


Mariana Castillo Deball will develop a work for Friedland. The starting point will be the hiking trails and the treasures of the villages that the clients of Friedland have already collected. The first visits and walks have already taken place.

The artist explores ideologically constructed conditions under which artefacts appear in today's culture. To do this, she gathers information from various disciplines such as archaeology and science. Through research and collaboration, she creates works that emerge from the collision and recombination of these different languages.

Mariana Castillo Deball lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City. Her work has been shown at MUAC Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City, 2021), Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen (Siegen, 2021), Modern Art…


With Jakub Szczęsny, the people of Züsedom developed a bench which, in bright signal orange, places unmissable meeting points in the village landscape, can be used by every age group and, in its design, also offers the younger generation an opportunity to meet. The Züsedom bench. 

On 22 and 23 July, four charity auctions will be held at Broellin Castle to finance the new village benches in Züsedom.
More than 150 objects from the former Erich Kühl secondary school and the stock of the Züsedom countrywomen will be put up for auction.
Bid for a piece of history and support the production of our Züsedom commission!

Visit the auction website here: auktion.neueauftraggeber.de

Auction 1 : Friday 22 July 2022 15:30:00 - DDR teaching aids (focus on technology & audio)
Auction 2 : Friday 22…