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, a 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. publishers / event organisers).
Criteria fulfilled? Below you will find an overview of what our Visual Arts department promotes.
What we support: Scope of promotion
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.
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 (economy, excl. accommodation);
- fees in the case of performances;
- material costs for temporary art installations.
Abroad, on request from a reputed organiser, Pro Helvetia fosters the international exchange of knowledge. Eligible for support are specialists who contribute to the content of public events on topics connected with Swiss art. As a rule, the amount of support is measured against the travel expenses.
Publications and translations
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 œuvre catalogues 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.
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.
Pro Helvetia supports studio and research residencies of Swiss arts practitioners in China, India (or other south Asian countries), Russia, Egypt (or other Arab countries) and Southern Africa.
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.