With more than 300 exhibiting institutions, Kunstvereine (non-profit art associations) are the most important art mediation platform in Germany. With 100,000 members and an audience of every origin and region, they are the civic backbone of contemporary art and have developed over past decades into a driver of experimental art production with a variety that is unique in the world.
Art associations’ impact radius spans from large cities to rural areas. They show international positions on an equal footing with the museums, network the local scene and develop a broad range of cultural education programs. They have recently emerged as laboratories of contemporary art production and have taken over many of the development tasks from classical museums. Many artists have their first institutional exhibitions at Kunstvereine. At the same time, art associations work to integrate other artistic disciplines, cooperate with educational institutions and actively try to introduce new visitors with diverse backgrounds to the visual arts. One outstanding quality of art associations is their special proximity to artists and direct dialogue with their members and audience.
Participation and education
Participation and cultural education are part of the Kunstverein’s genetic code. Art associations have historically always been a driver of cultural self-management and autonomy, bringing artists, audiences and members of the association in direct contact with one another, dispensing with the need for intermediaries.
Kunstvereine are exhibiting institutions that allow both direct and mediated discussion between artists, curators, members of the association and broader groups of visitors: They organize guided tours, artist talks and studio visits, initiate lectures, facilitate travels and much more. Their particular anchoring in both cities and the countryside facilitates continuous cultural participation and cultural education.
Kunstvereine are unique – no other institutional format allows members and visitors to participate as directly in artistic and curatorial processes.
Internationality and innovation
Today’s Kunstvereine have an international network. Their programs are often shaped by innovative curators, and even small, regional art associations develop inventive new formats. Art associations in medium-sized and small towns and communities increasingly collaborate with renowned and internationally-renowned artists, or exhibit outstanding emerging artists.
The work of Kunstvereine is also integrated into international cooperations and exchange programs. Media resonance is exceptionally high; exhibitions are discussed and commented on not only in supra-regional and national journals, but in international media as well. Kunstvereine are an integral part of the regional and international cultural landscape.
Kunstvereine promote and present young and experimental contemporary art in particular. They open doors for artists early in their careers. At the same time, their work makes a critical contribution to the renewal of culture and is a key part of the country’s “innovation culture.” Even the institutions’ own work embodies an exemplary orientation toward innovation – a quality in high demand today, but all too rarely put into action.
Become a member
As a member of an Kunstverein, you support contemporary art and participate in cultural and social events not only in the place where the association is located, but in an international context as well. Because Kunstvereine reflect new developments quickly and directly, you will have an early, up-close look at what is happening in the art scene.
Members also enjoy a number of interesting benefits, including:
• free admission to all exhibitions at the 300 Kunstvereine connected to Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV)
• personal invitations to all openings and events at your local Kunstverein
• exclusive offers for the Kunstverein’ annual editions, which have been known to spark a passion for collecting
• special discounts on exhibition catalogues, publications, etc.
• regular, attractive offers for trips to international art exhibitions
• and much more!