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Netherland’s Council of Culture Proposes to Defund De Appel Arts Center

According to Exibart, Amsterdam’s De Appel Arts Center is under threat of a complete budget cut, as proposed to the Dutch Ministry by the Netherlands’ Council for Culture. The organization emphasized that without national funding the center will not be able to continue to run in its normal capacity, and has acknowledged that it may even have to shut down permanently.

This request was preceded by the board’s dismissal of former director Lorenzo Benedetti in 2015 and followed by De Appel’s curatorial training staff’s decision to boycott their own program in protest. Last month, the art center’s entire board resigned.

A new petition, which has been launched to protect the art center, states, “De Appel understands the concerns regarding the organization, given the dismissal of the former director and subsequent court case. It is a difficult period in the institute’s long existence, for all the parties involved. But de Appel believes in her resilience. We are confident we can overcome this turbulent time, with a new director and a new board, which reflects various positions in the art world. De Appel wants to continue to fulfill her role in the cultural sector, providing a signaling and agenda-setting program that is leading for the contemporary art field in the Netherlands and abroad.” The organization declared “There is much to do, on various fronts, and time is pressing. De Appel argues for a renewed advice of the Council for Culture, which takes the complexity of the situation into account. De Appel asks for time and political will. The recent public discussion concerning de Appel shows the commitment of artists, curators, visitors and tutors to this institution and underlines its important function within the cultural field.” Along with presenting the petition to the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, the Supreme Court will address the ongoing dispute surrounding the dismissal of the former director, and the city of Amsterdam will appoint an advisor who will work on forming a new board.

Since its creation in 1975, De Appel Arts Center has served as a platform for international modern art, research center, publishing house, educational institution, art library, and artistic archive.