The foundation of POMONA Art Fund
A concerted effort to help support the visual arts in Belgium
SOFAM is proud to announce its founding of the POMONA Art Fund – with the aid of artists and other representatives from the artistic field – in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation. This fund supports artists and creative processes in Belgium by awarding individual grants to artists in all visual disciplines at key moments in their development. Together with project grants and a solidarity fund, the fund also aims to promote the conditions in which the arts in Belgium can flourish.
With all its diversity, Belgium has an enormous wealth of artistic practices that are recognised and admired far beyond its borders. Yet, for many creatives in Belgium, making a living as an artist can be uncertain. With the exception of a tiny percentage who are able to live off their work, artists tend to have a vulnerable socio-economic position. By multiplying the opportunities that are available, you can nourish an entire artistic system.
The POMONA Fund wishes to be an additional source of support and recognition, alongside the essential contribution of the subsidising authorities, and the existing dynamics of the art market. The fund therefore seeks to strengthen the existing opportunities for artists in Belgium and invites everyone to help support the visual arts in Belgium.
Anyone can make a donation, whether as an individual, (cultural) organisations, or businesses. An annual donation of 40 euros, for example, grants the donor a tax reduction of 45% on their gift. Businesses may also deduct their donations as business expenses, with different conditions applicable beneath specific ceilings.
An independent advisory committee of artists and other creative professionals – including Luc Tuymans (visual artist), Otobong Nkanga (visual artist), Dirk Snauwaert (curator, director WIELS), Regine Basha (curator), Charif Benhelima (visual artist), Nav Haq (curator, associate director MUHKA), and Dorothée Duvivier (curator, BPS22) – assists the POMONA Art Fund and monitors the quality, transparency and diversity of the various grants and funds. The committee will moreover maintain a critical eye on how the funds are distributed. The grants themselves are awarded by independent juries of experts, which are themselves composed with a particular view to their diversity, not just in terms of discipline and areas of expertise, but also regarding a sensitive balance of gender, origin, age, language communities, and international perspectives.
"Generosity is the key word in this whole process. Without generosity there is no art, and no culture. The POMONA Fund was born from the real necessity to generate additional funds for the arts in Belgium. After all, art is not something that can be seen within too narrow a scope; it develops according to its own laws, makes unexpected connections and offers an interface where different voices and visions can meet."
— Luc Tuymans, artist, chairman of the POMONA Fund for the Arts founding committee
Recognising Belgium's artistic and cultural diversity, the POMONA Art Fund strives for a future in which there are more opportunities in the arts to contribute to connection, mutual understanding and engagement in a rapidly changing world.
"SOFAM and its member-artists wish to mobilise their resources to establish the POMONA Art Fund and thus create an instrument that enables everyone to support the arts collectively. Indeed, we are convinced that a flourishing art world can lift us all up, both artists and those who enjoy their visual work. We provide the impetus; it is now up to everyone with an affinity for the arts to make this fund grow."
— Marie Gybels, Director SOFAM, founding member of the POMONA Fund for the Arts
Specifically, the POMONA Art Fund aims to award substantial grants (of approximately €25,000) to artists at various stages of their lifepath. Other forms of support will be dedicated to professional development, for example by providing an amount to cover studio costs for a certain period. Increasing the number and especially the diversity of opportunities within the artistic sector will increase chances for everyone.
"The POMONA Fund for the Arts was founded on the conviction that the arts facilitate human connection. Art can be like a mirror; when you look into it, you don’t receive an unequivocal answer, but you can learn to see differently and greet the unknown with a more open mindset. Where the arts flourish, society does, too. And we believe that artists are more likely to produce their best work when their socio-economic stability improves."
— Kate Mayne, Artistic Projects and Partnerships SOFAM, Founding Member of POMONA Art Fund.
The POMONA Art Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, is an initiative of SOFAM. SOFAM is a non-profit cooperative society run by artists, specialised since 1979 in authors’ rights for visual artists. It is authorised to act as a collective management company, and for the collection and distribution of resale rights. SOFAM places the interests of artists and a fair remuneration for creative work at the centre of its activities.
More about POMONA Art Fund and how people can contribute here.
The founding committee of POMONA Art Fund:
- Luc Tuymans, artist, chairman POMONA Art Fund
- Marie Gybels, director, SOFAM
- Kate Mayne, artistic projects and partnerships, SOFAM
- Jérémie Leroy, director, King Baudouin Foundation
POMONA Art Fund is advised by:
- Carla Arocha (Artist)
- Sven Augustijnen (Artist)
- Sammy Baloji (Artist)
- Charif Benhelima (Artist)
- Regine Basha (Independent curator)
- Edith Dekyndt (Artist)
- Luc Derycke (Designer, publisher, MER)
- Dorothée Duvivier (Curator, BPS22)
- Nav Haq (Curator, Associate director, M HKA)
- Pauline Hatzigeorgiou (Independent Curator)
- Stella Lohaus (Curator, director LLS Paleis)
- Otobong Nkanga (Artist)
- Katrien Reist (Cultural worker, key member State Of The Arts (SOTA))
- Dirk Snauwaert (Curator, Director, WIELS)
- Pascale Viscardy (Art critic, AICA)
Image : Lisa Wilkens, Outlook for the Future (detail), © Lisa Wilkens, 2018