Early in 2010 Total in Support and Dadara decided to collaborate with the aim of organizing the Art as Money festival. Dadara, a client Total in Support has been working with for almost 15 years, wanted to further investigate the relationship between art and money with regard to his art project ‘The Exchanghibition Bank’. For Total in Support the cutting of subsidies and the resulting need for alternative financing were a motivation to organize the festival. In organizing the Art as Money festival Total in Support spotted an opportunity to contribute to the current debate concerning cultural entrepreneurship. The program was composed in view of questions such as “What are the alternative ways of financing?” and “How does creativity relate to money?”.
In consequence the first edition of the Art as Money festival took place on 9 February 2012 in Trouw Amsterdam. Over 400 people with varying backgrounds and ideas visited the festival. Among the visitors were artists, creative entrepreneurs, policy makers of cultural institutions but also people from the worlds of business and banking. Jörgen Tjon a Fong was the host for the day. On behalf of Total in Support he interviewed several artists and cultural entrepreneurs and reflected on the lectures and presentations.
Through the Art as Money festival Total in Support aimed to offer an inspirational day with a strong and useful content consisting of entrepreneurs from the creative sector, art projects and workshops. The program therefore comprised both practical and inspirational contents. Subjects that were discussed from a practical point of view were financing, marketing and entrepreneurship. Speakers such as cultural economist Arjo Klamer, head of Arts and Culture at Triodos Bank Eric Holterhues, art producer Jeroen Everaert and Total in Support director Martijn Winkel offered their expertise with regard to these subjects. Furthermore blogging expert Ernst-Jan Pfauth talked about online presence and the importance of specializing for cultural entrepreneurs. In his opinion claiming a niche gives you the chance to become an influential authority on a certain topic and he believes that you should also demonstrate this online. Another entrepreneur, Vincent Reinders from 22tracks, explained that it is feasible to work with commercial businesses and still maintain your artistic integrity. He thinks the way to do this successfully is by demonstrating your expertise as an artist to your audience and also have them relate and commit to this expertise. Additionally community currency expert Edgar Kampers from Qoin expanded on his ideas about implementing crowd funding into the creative industries. By means of collaboration and the exchange of services efficiency can be achieved and profits can be made in this sector.
The practical information provided at the Art as Money festival was interspersed with presentations of inspiring projects from artists and creatives. We invited these people because we believe their distinctiveness is remarkable. One of these striking projects was Teun Castelein’s Halbe beer. This beer was officially launched at the festival. Profits made from sales of Halbe beer are returned to the creative industries, so when artists spend their money on Halbe beer they automatically support their own sector. Furthermore Jeroen van den Idsert talked about his film production company Hazazah and Kamiel Proost talked about his Dollar art and his experiences with entrepreneurship. Additionally Dadara explained the connection of the festival to his Exchanghibition Bank and talked about his relationship to the phenomenon money as an artist.
At the end of the afternoon a panel discussion took place with regard to the 89th edition of Boekman: Art at a crossroads. This discussion was organized by Total in Support in collaboration with the Boekman foundation. Several entrepreneurs from the cultural sector talked about changes that are currently transpiring in their sector. One of the subjects discussed was the new magazine Das Magazin. The first edition of this magazine was financed by means of crowd funding. Also the Splendor Amsterdam orchestra expanded on their experiences with financing and working with bondholders.
All the abovementioned took place in Trouw’s main room. Meanwhile all sorts of things were transpiring in De Verdieping, which is located beneath the main room. Art was displayed and even made on the spot in this area. There were artworks by Giuliano Pappadopoli, Kmentment, Rini Hartman, Sebastian Siechold, Vage Gasten, Zender and Ottograph. In addition Dadara’s Exchanghibition Bank was doing business in De Verdieping. Moreover MC Kato and Kwela Sabine Hermanns provided further entertainment. Amid all this, workshops were held by Time/Bank, Voordekunst, Maxwell Group and Versteeg Wigman Sprey Attorneys in cooperation with Total in Support. The workshops provided by Maxwell Group and Voordekunst were all about working with investors, obtaining loans and crowdfunding. The workshop by VWS Attorneys and Total in Support dealt with intellectual property rights.
After the day program came to an end the night mayor of Amsterdam, Isis van der Wel, opened the night symposium. This consisted of three parts. The symposium started with lectures from a number of speakers that play an exceptional role for arts and culture in Amsterdam’s nightlife. Among them were the Eddy the Eagle Museum, de grote 8 and the Museum of the Bohemian. Subsequently a debate regarding the tension between the art world and commercial thinking and entrepreneurship took place. Furthermore Isis presented the results that she achieved in the past two years while being Amsterdam’s night mayor. She also expanded on opportunities and challenges that Amsterdam’s nightlife will be facing in the coming years.
The night symposium suitably ended this inspiring day. We believe that the visitors of the Art as Money festival went home with a positive feeling. Cuts on arts and culture don’t have to be regarded as obstacles; they can also be considered challenges or even opportunities. Hereby we would like to thank all the visitors again for coming. We hope their cultural entrepreneurship was fueled by the Art as Money festival. We are looking forward to seeing all the resulting projects. Next year Total in Support will organize the Art as Money festival again. We hope to see you on this second edition!
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