Our mission

Pro Helvetia’s mandate 

As the Swiss Arts Council, we promote contemporary, professional art and culture of national interest on behalf of the federal government. Our tasks, which we carry out independently, are set out in the Culture Promotion Act. 

Active in all disciplines except film, we stand for transdisciplinary contemporary artistic practice. We support the creation and dissemination of contemporary, professional art from Switzerland, as well as cultural exchange both within the country and abroad. We provide (thematic) stimulus for the development of contemporary artistic and cultural creation and support projects with a view to aesthetic, personal and content-related diversity. We advocate for equal opportunity and sustainability and are committed to creating favourable conditions for artists and cultural practitioners. 

Our activities in Switzerland

Artistic creation

We award creation and production grants, thereby contributing to the development of outstanding quality artistic creations, prototypes and productions. 

Cultural exchange within Switzerland

We support the dissemination of contemporary artistic and cultural creation and exchange between the regions, for example in the form of grants for tours, performances, readings, concerts, exhibitions, translations and festivals. 

Emerging artists

In collaboration with selected partner institutions, we offer residency and coaching programmes, provide performance opportunities and make grants for networking to artists and cultural practitioners who have the potential for a national or international career.

Cultural stimulus

We help to identify key developments and challenges in cultural promotion, develop appropriate measures and create impetus and space for innovation with specific funding and research programmes.

Art mediation

We promote measures that enable the public to engage independently with contemporary art and culture. In particular, we promote new forms of critical reflection on contemporary art and culture.

Our activities outside Switzerland

Dissemination and promotion outside Switzerland

We promote the dissemination of artistic and cultural creation from Switzerland and exchange with other cultural areas through grants for events, projects and translations. Through promotional measures, we contribute to the professional perception and networking of artists from Switzerland among event organisers and experts within the country and abroad. 

Appearances abroad and focal points

We organise and fund Swiss performances at platforms and festivals abroad, Swiss focal points at events with international appeal and measures for international promotion. In this way, we enable cultural practitioners from Switzerland to better position themselves in international networks and markets and to be better recognised by event organisers within the country and abroad.

Cultural exchange

We promote exchange with other cultural areas through residencies, research and collaboration between artists from Switzerland and other countries.

New networks, regions and markets

We focus on new networks, regions and markets where we see potential for deeper interaction and a stronger presence of art and culture from Switzerland, with a particular emphasis on building partnerships with regional organisers. 

Legal basis

Pro Helvetia is a foundation under public law. Our mandate, which we carry out independently, is set out in the Culture Promotion Act of 11 December 2009. This legislation also describes the division of tasks between Pro Helvetia and the Federal Office of Culture (FOC). Pro Helvetia’s payment framework is determined by Parliament in the Dispatch on Funding for Federal Cultural Promotion (Culture Dispatch).

The fundamental legal and regulatory documents for our work are (available also in German, French and Italian):