Benefit Evening 2012

[figure Benefit Evening 2012 1]

On Thursday evening September 6th, 2012 Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam) and de Appel arts centre (Amsterdam) hosted a Benefit Evening at a unique location: Atelier van Lieshout. The program included a speech by Chris Dercon (Director of Tate Modern, London) and an auction of several artworks, organized in special collaboration with Christie’s (Amsterdam).

During their welcome speech, Defne Ayas, director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and Ann Demeester, director of de Appel arts centre, expressed how this evening is an extraordinary example of the development of entrepreneurship and patronage within the contemporary art sector in the Netherlands. They were delighted to see that it brought together an exceptional art community including Dutch artists, collectors, gallery owners and engaged guests keen on supporting the arts. ‘An unprecedented evening in which private passion led to public benefit!’

Keynote speaker Chris Dercon, director of Tate Modern in London and Witte de With’s first director, reminded those present of the context in which Witte de With and de Appel arts center were established and underlined the importance of both institutions within the cultural sector. Guests described his speech as inspirational and it encouraged them to support the institutions, because, as Chris Dercon highlighted, their contributions and engagement are not only important for the future of the visual arts, but are especially important for the future and development of innovation in the Netherlands.

The benefit auction comprised eight artworks and six experiences, generously donated by artists Feiko Beckers, Otto Berchem, Dirk Braeckman, Angela Bulloch, Herman Chong, Ellen Gallagher, Joep van Lieshout, Mika Rottenberg, Alexandre Singh, Salla Tykka, Markus Selg, Guido van der Werve and Qiu Zhijie. The auctioneer was Jop Ubbens, chairman of the auction house Christie’s Amsterdam.

We are extremely pleased that this evening turned out to be a tremendous success: A hundred and eighty guests were present. With a total turn-over of 100.000 euros, our expectations were amply exceeded. The revenues of the entire evening, including the proceeds of the donated artworks, will be going towards realizing both institutions’ future plans. Witte de With and de Appel arts centre are supported by the Dutch State and the respective municipalities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. However, to ensure the future and longevity of both institutions, the support of private sponsors is increasingly of vital importance. Private gifts and donations make a considerable difference as they are essential to our success, our future and the future of international contemporary art in the Netherlands.

Witte de With and de Appel arts centre collaborate on a regular basis and on various projects, such as the bi-annual Prize for Young Art Criticism and a newly established series of courses on contemporary art to be offered starting from 2013. Joint benefit evenings – such as this one – are to take place annually and contribute to the cultivation of private fundraising in the Netherlands. After the 2009 auction Two in One, this was the second time in the history of both institutions that a benefit event was organized collaboratively, making it a one of its kind in the Netherlands.

[figure Benefit Evening 2012 2]

[figure Benefit Evening 2012 3]

[figure Benefit Evening 2012 4]

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