The Apprentice Master project supports and motivates recently graduated artists at the start of their professional career. The selected talents, the Apprentices, no longer have the guidance of the art academy. During this project, they are supported by renowned artists, the Masters, in exploring their professional possibilities.
The project started in 2007 as the Leerling/Meester program. With the introduction of international academies to the program in season 2014/2015, the name changed to its English counterpart Apprentice Master and set English as primary language. In 2020/2021 the project is in its 13th season.
The project is characterised by three core values that to us are essential for talent development in the visual arts: experiment, exchange of knowledge and community.
The Apprentices get the possibility to experiment, learn and try new things to their hearts’ desire. New media are encouraged to be explored, like installations, videos and digital work. Sometimes on their own, sometimes together with fellow Apprentices or their Master. Kunstpodium T offers them a place for research and experiment, where new artistic paths can be followed, where new connections arise and where new ideas are materialised.
Exchange of knowledge
Apprentices and Masters have a non-hierarchical relationship and are open to learning from and with each other. In this respect, Apprentice Master is not a classic mentor trajectory: it offers challenges to both the Apprentices and the Masters. The diverse artists each season bring their own unique background and expertise. We stimulate the exchange of this to enrich each other’s practises.
In the past twelve years, an organic network from Apprentices, Masters and partners has grown. A network that makes exchange of knowledge and cross-overs possible. By operating in a radius of 140km around Tilburg, the distance for the participants is still well within traveling reach and the network can be maintained well.
In the final year of study, Kunstpodium T works together with the selected art academies in the Netherlands and Belgium to select promising young talents – the Apprentices. They are paired up with an experienced artist – the Master – that has already proven himself in the artworld. Together, they go into dialogue about their vision on art and all facets of their artistic practices.
Selection of the Apprentices happens based on portfolio and motivation in the spring previous to each season.
At the end of the season, four groups are selected for the Jan Naaijkensprize. These four groups exhibit their work for a second time at the end of the season, without their Master. At the opening, an independent jury announces one of the groups as the winner of the prize.
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