The State of Patronage

A symposium on the ‘culture of giving’ in the Dutch visual arts, 10 years after the budget cuts.


The culture of giving has become increasingly important in financing contemporary visual arts in The Netherlands. But who gives to whom, and why? And how do these private gifts relate to public funding? On the 30th of April 2022, Platform BK and Framer Framed organised The State of Patronage, a one-day symposium on the changing role of patronage in the Dutch visual arts in the past decade.

On this page, you will find the recordings of the lectures and panel discussions, accompanied by short descriptions. English subtitles will be added to the recordings as soon as possible.


Introduction: Why Is Patronage of Interest?

Sepp Eckenhaussen, co-director of Platform BK, presented the program of the day, which included a lecture, three panel discussions, and two short presentations.




















Lecture by Renée Steenbergen

Arts philanthropy expert Renée Steenbergen gave a key-note lecture on the most critical changes in the field of patronage in the past ten years. This lecture was based on the research essay The State of Patronage: Why Private Gifts for the Arts Should not Be a Political Instrument. By setting a historical frame of reference, Steenbergen sketched out the questions for the rest of the program.

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Panel 1 – Money Flows and Gifts, with Kristel Casander, Marjolein de Groen, Steven van Teeseling, and Ying Que

A lot of money circulates in the visual arts. But these money flows, including patronage, are often hard to grasp as an individual artist. What does the ‘culture of giving’ look like in practice? Who gives to whom, why, and what kind of cultural programs are created with this money? Moderator Ying Que discussed these questions with Kristel Casander (director of Voordekunst), Marjolein de Groen (Collectie DE.GROEN) and Steven van Teeseling (director of Sonsbeek en State of Fashion).


Roel Griffioen – Quid Pro Quo, But What Is the Quo, Exactly?

Writer and researcher Roel Griffioen recently published an article in Metropolis M on the rise of what he called ‘real estate patronage’: rich philanthropists and collectors, who create their own cultural spaces, often as a part of a real estate development program. During The State of Patronage, Griffioen gave a short presentation on the topic, and the questions it raises on the relations between the public and the private. You can watch this spoken column below, or read it here.


Panel 2 – Traps of Philantropy, with Liesbeth Bik, Nous Faes, Shailoh Phillips, and Olav Velthuis

The simultaneous retreat of governments and the rise of big philanthropists has led to changing (power) relations in and around cultural institutions with a public profile. How exactly did these relations change? And which critical questions does that raise? Moderator Shailoh Phillips discussed these questions with Liesbeth Bik (artist and chair of the Akademie van Kunsten), Nous Faes (sociologist and policy advisor), and Olav Velthuis (art market researcher at the University of Amsterdam).















Helleke van den Braber – Patronage from the Perspective of the Artist

Helleke van den Braber, professor in Patronage Studies at the University of Utrecht, prerecorded a short presentation for The State of Patronage, in which she elaborated on the position of the receiving party and argues for a ‘culture of asking’.


Panel 3 – The Future of Patronage, with Yvonne Franquinet, Sofia Patat, Stephanie Schuitemaker, and Renée Steenbergen

The questions of confusion about roles, exclusivity, and ‘art washing’ raised in the second panel discussion require a practice-focused response. How can we create clearly defined and distinct roles for both public funding and private gifts? Which party has exactly what kind of responsibility? And where is the artist in all of this? Moderator Renée Steenbergen discussed these questions with Yvonne Franquinet (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunsten), Sofia Patat (Stedelijk Museum), and Stephanie Schuitemaker (director of Outset Fund).


Organization and Partners

The State of Patronage was developed by Platform BK in collaboration with visual artist Timo Demollin and Framer Framed.

The event was funded by Pictoright Fund. Several speakers, including Kristel Casander, contributed by turning their fees into a donation.

De decor was created by Timo Demollin with the input of members of Platform BK and technical support from Maurice Bogaert.

The event was recorded and broadcast by Tommaso Campagna (video), Tim (audio), and Marco Wessels (livestream).

Production by Koen Bartijn, Martina Denegri, Sepp Eckenhaussen, Evie Evans, Martina Denegri, and Ashley Maum.

About Platform BK

Platform BK researches the role of art in society and takes action for a better art policy. We represent artists, curators, designers, critics and other cultural producers.