As Financial and creative director of Sophie’s Art Projects I have had more than 100 buildings in my care and have done more than 200 art projects in the course of 30 years. Most of the art space rentals and projects took place in temporarily available municipal buildings, but we also bought 3 buildings and eventually there were more contracts based on rent, which gives more security. Starting point was always renting out studios for a reasonable price, even when we got the building for free. The proceeds, after paying expenses, were used for art projects: to give the artists a chance to exhibit and sell. The benefit of this model was that we remained independent for a long time. Projects could be realized without subsidy, because there was a basic amount of money available and the cooperation of the artists cut the costs for staff AND caused interaction between the artists.
I think artists are important for society because they dedicate their life to their very own, personal addition to society. They follow no one, choose their own way and the products they make are unique and personal. I love these willful people, I want to surround myself with them, work together with them and I want to create chances for us by offering affordable studios and exhibition possibilities.
So my starting point was offering payable studios and exhibition possibilities and creating connection between artists amongst themselves and with their public by doing projects. All of this was to strengthen the position of the artist. If we didn’t do it ourselves, who would?