Important information for applicants
- 1. General conditions
- 2. Scope of promotion
- 2.1 Work grants
- 2.2 Project contributions
- 2.2.1 Events in Switzerland and abroad
- 2.2.2 Publications
- 2.2.3 Arts and audience projects
- 2.2.4 Knowledge exchange
- 2.3 Promotion of aspiring artists
- 3. Exclusions
- 4. Dossier contents
- 5. Application deadlines and time until decision is taken
- 6. Processing of applications
- 6.1 Pre-assessment
- 6.2 Qualitative evaluation
- 6.3 Decision-making bodies
- 6.4 Notification of a decision
- 6.5 Obligations of recipients of support from Pro Helvetia
- 6.6 Disbursement
- 6.7 Appeals
- 7. Purpose of the guidelines and legal basis
The Arts Council’s criteria for support as well as information about the procedures for submitting an application and the deadlines are contained in the Guidelines for applicants.
Pro Helvetia is developing new support tools for the implementation of the message on culture 2016-2020. Information on the individual tools is being published regularly in the Guidelines.
1. General conditions
Status: January 2017
Pro Helvetia promotes Swiss arts, with a focus on diversity as well as on national and international appeal. It supports the dissemination of Swiss artistic work abroad, cultural exchange within Switzerland and audience awareness of the arts. As a national institution, Pro Helvetia supplements the promotional activities of Swiss cantons and municipalities and supports only projects that are cross-regionally or internationally recognised. Pro Helvetia’s emphasis is on contemporary art. In the field of visual arts, Pro Helvetia promotes the fine arts, design, photography, performance and architecture.
For all projects that integrate several disciplines on a conceptual basis while applying new media and technology, see the Guidelines for Applicants Interdisciplinary Projects.
To qualify for support from Pro Helvetia, the project must
- be clearly connected to Switzerland;
- be of nationwide importance;
- be publicly accessible;
- be adequately co-financed by other public or private sponsors (incl. event organisers).
2. Scope of promotion
2.1 Work grants
Pro Helvetia supports the creation of works in the field of visual arts (incl. performance, new media and photography) by means of work grants. The support measures are aimed at Swiss artists whose work enjoys cross-regional recognition. Eligible artists have a proven track record in their field, and the project in question must represent a significant step in their artistic development. Applications can be submitted only by the artists involved.
2.2 Project contributions
2.2.1 Events in Switzerland and abroad
Pro Helvetia promotes cultural exchange between the linguistic regions of Switzerland and between Switzerland and other countries. The Art Council supports exhibitions and performances of Swiss artists at renowned art institutions in Switzerland or internationally reputed art institutions abroad. As a rule, the minimum duration of an exhibition must be four weeks. The applications must be submitted by the art institution or the organiser.
Contributions can be provided towards:
- transport and insurance costs;
- rental costs of Equipment;
- travelling expenses;
- fees in the case of performances;
- material costs for temporary art installations.
On request from a reputed publishing company from Switzerland or abroad, Pro Helvetia contributes to the costs of printing and/or translation of theme-based publications of national significance with a clear art-historical connection to Switzerland, as well as monographs and catalogues of the œuvre of Swiss artists, irrespective of the author’s nationality.
Contributions may be granted to publications that:
- contain a substantial art-historical or art-critical text;
- deal with the artist concerned and / the theme whilst taking into account new scholarly insights;
- have a clear and well-researched art-historical connection to Switzerland;
- in the case of monographs: document a period of artistic creation of around ten years.
2.2.3 Arts and audience projects
Pro Helvetia supports arts and audience projects in Switzerland that engage audiences in personal encounters with professional artistic creation and thereby heighten their awareness of artistic works and presentations. Projects can be considered for promotion if they contain an innovative approach to outreach and education in practice and therefore are of nationwide exemplary nature or if they focus on more than one linguistic region in Switzerland.
2.2.4 Knowledge exchange
Pro Helvetia fosters the international exchange of knowledge. Eligible for support are specialists who contribute to the content of public events outside of Switzerland on topics connected with Swiss art. As a rule, the amount of support is measured against the travel expenses. The application must be submitted by the organiser.
2.3 Promotion of aspiring artists
Pro Helvetia supports aspiring artists primarily via partnerships with recognised institutions in Switzerland and abroad. The promotion is aimed at artists of outstanding talent with prospects of a national or an international career. Aspiring artists are supported during the first five years of their professional artistic career either after they have obtained their artistic degree or following the first public presentation of their work. The upper age limit for support is 35. Only projects that are conducive to establishing the artist in a professional environment at national and international level are eligible for support.
Pro Helvetia provides no support if
- the same part of the project is already supported by other Federal institutions (e.g. Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Presence Switzerland, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation);
- the project is part of a school, college or university curriculum or a training course (incl. research projects, theses, dissertations, diploma projects, scholarship projects, etc.);
- the support is intended for infrastructure or equipment costs, or for the operational costs of cultural institutions, archives or collections;
- the project is not dependent on financial support.
Moreover the Visual Arts department cannot accept applications for support in connection with:
- exhibitions of private collections;
- exhibitions at commercial art galleries*;
- participation at art fairs*;
- knowledge exchange and exhibitions taking place in the context of schools and universities;
- exhibition catalogues, honorary publications, works of reference, bibliophile editions, as well as reprints and revised new editions of existing publications;
- self-publication of books or publication against payment.
* With the exception of support for presentations at art fairs in the context of the promotion of aspiring artists.
4. Dossier contents
An application to Pro Helvetia must contain the following items:
- description of the project;
- information on the venue, including date of the event(s);
- information on the Swiss artists involved in the project, including biographies;
- visual documentation of the Swiss artists’ works;
- budget and finance plan including specification of the contribution requested from Pro Helvetia.
In addition in the case of project grants:
- transport and insurance offers
Additional items in the case of publications:
- list of contents, complete text or essential parts of the text;
- visual material, layout and/or dummy;
- copies of publisher’s contracts with author, editor, translator;
- excerpt from the translation and cost estimate.
Pro Helvetia accepts applications exclusively via www.myprohelvetia.ch.
5. Application deadlines and time until decision is taken
Applications not subject to a fixed deadline are decided on within eight weeks, those subject to a fixed deadline within four months.
|Application type||Application deadline||Beginning of event / Date of printing|
|Work grants (research grants, production grants and production and presentation grants)||1 September||from 1 January|
|1 March||from 1 July|
|Project grants up to CHF 25‘000 towards events in Switzerland and abroad||ongoing, up to 8 weeks before the first event/date of printing|
|Project grants of over CHF 25‘000 towards events in Switzerland and abroad||1 September||from 1 January|
|1 December||from 1 April|
|1 March||from 1 July|
|1 June||from 1 October|
|Photobooks||1 March||from 1 May|
|Promotion of aspiring artists||Please refer to the relevant information sheets (section 2.3 in these Guidelines)|
6. Processing of applications
Pro Helvetia decides to process an application only if
- the project in question fulfils the general criteria for support (cf. section 1);
- there is no reason for exclusion (cf. section 3);
- the application is complete and has been submitted on time (cf. sections 4 and 5).
6.2 Qualitative evaluation
Pro Helvetia assesses whether
- the project fulfils the requirements of high artistic and technical quality;
- the project is executed in accordance with professional standards;
- the costs are proportionate to the benefits expected;
- the project is likely to have a long-term Impact.
6.3 Decision-making bodies
- Work grants: The decision on applications is taken by the directorate of Pro Helvetia on recommendation of a jury.
- Project contributions: The decision on requests for up to CHF 25,000 is taken by the specialist division; for requests in the range of CHF 25,000 to CHF 50,000, the decision is taken by Pro Helvetia’s Cultural Promotion Department.
- The decision on applications for more than CHF 50,000 as well as on support agreements covering several years is taken by the directorate of Pro Helvetia at the request of the Committee of Experts and after consultation with the Management Board; decisions on applications for over CHF 300,000 must be approved by the Board of Trustees.
6.4 Notification of a decision
A decision is communicated without detailed reasons being given. On receipt of the decision, applicants can demand an official decision statement from Pro Helvetia against which an appeal can be lodged.
6.5 Obligations of recipients of support from Pro Helvetia
A pledge of support by Pro Helvetia places certain obligations on the applicants. If the applicants do not fulfil these obligations, Pro Helvetia is entitled to reduce the amount of support accordingly or demand a refund of support payments already made.
Pro Helvetia makes the support payments only after a final report, including the accounts, has been examined. Advance payments are possible on request. Unless the applicants notify Pro Helvetia of any delays, funding expires at the latest one year after the project’s closing date specified in the application dossier. If no closing date has been specified, Pro Helvetia sets deadlines itself.
Decision statements from Pro Helvetia can be appealed within 30 days of the date of receipt. The appeals must be lodged with the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). An appeal must include the original application as well as the reasons for the appeal, including appropriate evidence, and must be signed by the appellant. The decision statement being appealed against needs to be enclosed as evidence. Appellants bear the costs of this procedure.
Appeals are to be submitted to:
CH-9023 St. Gallen
7. Purpose of the guidelines and legal basis
The guidelines explain what is needed to submit a complete application for support from Pro Helvetia for an artistic or a cultural project, what the criteria for the evaluation of an application are, what deadlines and procedures apply, and what legal steps can be taken. The guidelines supplement the Grant Ordinance (Verordnung über Beiträge der Stiftung Pro Helvetia) adopted by Pro Helvetia’s Board of Trustees on 23 November 2011 as well as the Arts and Culture Promotion Act (Kulturförderungsgesetz) of 11 December 2009 and the Arts and Culture Promotion Ordinance (Kulturförderungsverordnung) of 23 November 2011. These legal documents can be accessed (in German, French and Italian) on Pro Helvetia’s website at
Head Visual Arts
Visual arts / projects for art fairs, art spaces and residencies with aspiring artists
Visual arts / Collection Cahiers d'Artistes, work grants
Visual arts / Photography
Rachele Giudici Legittimo
Coordination Swiss participation Venice Biennale
Project Leader Swiss participation Venice Biennale