Art-Fair Welfare? Berlin Galleries Can Now Tap Government Subsidies to Attend Two Fairs Per Year

A pilot program in Germany will give galleries as much as $13,000 annually to participate in fairs in Germany and abroad.

Galerie Thomas Schulte. Berlin Gallery Weekend 2019. Courtesy Berlin Gallery Weekend.

A division of the German government has just announced it will incentivize Berlin galleries to participate in up to two art fairs a year, in Germany and abroad, by providing a subsidy of up to €12,000 ($13,000).

“Trade fairs are an important platform for galleries to acquire new customers and maintain existing contacts,” Germany’s Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, which is behind the pilot program, said in a statement today.

Berlin is considered one of the largest and most innovative locations for contemporary art worldwide, the department said. “6,000 artists live and work in the German capital, and the approximately 350 private galleries based in the city contribute to the positive image of the city with their exhibitions of national and international artists.”

The program will enable more Berlin galleries to participate in internationally recognised art fairs, the agency said.

Not surprisingly, the response from Berlin gallerists has been enthusiastic.

“This is a great step in the right direction and a welcome sign of appreciation of Berlin’s gallery scene,” said art dealer Thomas Schulte. “In the last 25 years, we galleries have given the cultural life and the international image of Berlin a  lot of positive input and publicity worldwide and free of charge. This is the success of the continuous work of Werner Tammen and the Landesverband Berliner Galerien (LVBG) with its many new members and an encouraging sign of better and increasingly constructive communication with the Berlin Senate. We are moving forward.” Tammen is the chairman of the LVBG, a regional association of gallerists.

Going forward, interested Berlin galleries can receive free advice from the LVBG on ​​how to access funding from the new program and to receive support in the application process.

The Senate Department “is now closing a gap in the existing program for internationalization,” according to the statement. The existing internationalization program enables small and medium-sized companies to participate in trade fairs in Berlin, but had so far excluded galleries.


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