Our Dates

Group photo of the New Patrons of Züsedom with artist Jakub Szczęsny and mediator Holger Friese


Clandestine - that's what we call something that takes place in silence, in secret, in a familiar circle. In 2020, the projects of the New Patrons continued clandestinely – and quite cheerfully – despite and because of the special challenges of the year.

Long before the artistic projects commissioned by citizens become public with a big whoop and a tare, they mature in dialogue, experience twists and surprises in the conversation between commissioning groups, artists, and take one step back and two steps forward. That was also the case in 2020. During on-site meetings outside, in online conferences, at the digital studio visit.

The New Patrons received a lot of support last year. In addition to the Federal Cultural Foundation, also the municipal administrations and individuals from numerous other institutions and offices have given the projects a tailwind, paved the way for the future and attested to their support. The concerns of the commissioning groups were never ignored, cultural offices and committees, city 1councillors and regional developers took their time for them. They can see: what is happening within the projects touches on fundamental aspects of community, care and social inclusion in the local and regional environment.

And so 2020 has been a year of new commissions, artistic drafts, community meetings and much trusting communication – on balance, a year of visions that are beginning to take practical shape. After a short breather at the turn of the year, the work now continues. Artists are working on drafts. Mediators and commissioning groups sit down with structural engineers and architects, talk to administrations and committees, draw plans, write applications for subsidies and building permits and tell the media about the projects. Not only to further advance the processes at the current sites of action, but also to anchor the New Patrons model in Germany with a long-term structure beyond the pilot phase.

Citizen-commissioned art is thriving, continuing to grow and entering the public sphere. What initially developed in a clandestine and protected manner is now getting hands and feet, showing its face and letting its voice be heard. Look forward to seeing it develop together with us!

Eleven commissions in the making
In Züsedom (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Mönchengladbach-Wickrath (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Waldeck-Frankenberg (Hesse), New Patrons groups signed their commissions for artistic productions last year. Deciding on a commission's wording is the moment when a group goes public with its concern. Currently, eleven groups of citizens are working together with the mediators on the realization of their commission – from finding the right artist and discussing ideas and drafts to concrete questions of implementation. In other locations, groups are also in the commissioning process to become public this year. See all ongoing projects…

Artists on board
They are currently working on their project proposals: Artistic drafts by Ruth Buchanan, ConstructLab and Rimini Protokoll, Martin Kaltwasser, Daniel Knorr, Antje Majewski, Laure Prouvost and Jakub Szczęsny are being commissioned by the citizens' groups. In doing so, they do not simply carry out the assignments or apply for individual projects. They are invited as active partners to understand the background from which a project emerges. They interpret the commission, follow up, research and develop ideas for a new work. Artist research is underway in other commissioning groups this year. The contributors to the projects in Germany are in good company: Artists from international projects…

First project drafts published
With Ruth Buchanan's draft, the New Patrons of Mönchengladbach are literally building bridges for the city. The draft envisages sculptural interventions in a garden plot that provide new access to the site. What emerges is intended to benefit the whole urban community, which finds numerous public educational and cultural institutions in the center but few connections between them and few places to hang out together. Rimini Protokoll and ConstructLab have developed a festival idea for the New Patrons of Steinhöfel, which is intended to bring all twelve villages of the community into dialogue with each other about growing old well in the countryside. For the "Steinhöfler Festspiele" active stage elements in each village and a common festival center are to provide for the exchange. The final festival can become the prelude to further activities in the municipality.

Comission complete
Commissioned by the Iraqi Kurd Sartep Namiq, a comic book has been in the making since 2016 and went to press at the end of the last year. It will be released by Egmont Comic Collection this March. It was commissioned from comic artist Felix Mertikat in collaboration with cyberpunk legend Bruce Sterling and many other contributors. The project began four years ago in the Tempelhof refugee shelter, with the aim of creating an encouraging story without words about living well together. The first copies go to non-profit organizations, refugee organizations, shelters, libraries, schools and educational institutions. The comic will then also be available in bookstores from March on. Read more…

Mediators actively on the road
Some have been involved for a long time, others joined the team in 2020: The mediators of the German New Patrons Society accompany the citizens' groups in their projects. Whenever a civic initiative wants to change a village, build a monument or realize an idea, the conversation begins with the mediator on site. They are scouts, advisors and negotiators. They avoid quick answers and do not have a ready-made construction plan in their luggage. Their specialty is the art of listening. Who are the mediators of the New Patrons?

New series within our Public Dialoge: Commissioned by – Art in Relation
In 2020, we discussed live and online within Whatever you Want! at Grüner Salon of the Volksbühne Berlin and on various other digital and real stages. This year, the new series Commissioned by – Art in Relation illuminates the specifics of an art on a civic mission from the perspectives of art history, sociology, anthropology, architecture and urban development, economics, art mediation, and conflict mediation. Essays, statements, proposals for action and practical formats such as seminars and workshops are presented on a monthly basis. Contributions by arch+, Karin Harrasser, Silke Helfrich/Commons Institute, Shannon Jackson, Judith Laister, Isabelle Stengers, Nora Sternfeld and international actors of the New Patrons, among others, will be available on our website as a growing archive as well as published with different media and cooperation partners. See Public Dialogue...

Press review
The patrons groups had a number of visits from press and media last year. Television and radio reports were broadcast by ZDF, Deutsche Welle, Deutschlandfunk and various stations of RBB, among others. Comprehensive articles appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, on Zeit online and in taz. Reports in the Rheinische Post, Berliner Zeitung and MOZ, to name just a few, accompanied the activities in the regions. The yearbook of the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft and the magazine of the German Federal Cultural Foundation helped to raise awareness of the New Patrons model in Germany.

And then there was...
Since 2018, we have offered the seminar Mediation within the New Patrons model at the Institute for Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts. There have also been seminars and workshops at the Bauhaus University Weimar, the HfbK Dresden and other institutions, some of which will continue this year.


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.


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…


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…