Apprentice Master

Experiment, exploration and trying out as the start of a professional career

Apprentice Master project

The Apprentice Master project supports and motivates newly graduated artists at the start of their professional career. The selected talents no longer have the guidance of the art academy to fall back on. During this project, they will be supported by renowned artists in exploring their professional possibilities.

In their last year, Kunstpodium T works together with the affiliated art academies to select promising young art talents. They are paired up with an experienced artist who has already proven himself or herself in the art world. Together with this master, the apprentices go into dialogue about their vision on art and all the aspects of being a professional artist. The result of this trajectory is a group exhibition on one of our five affiliated art locations across the Netherlands. In 2018-2019, around 40 apprentices are connected to 10 masters. At the end of the season, an independent expert jury from Brabant will nominate the best candidates for the coveted Jan Naaijkens Prize.

The apprentices get the possibility to experiment, to learn and to try new things. New media can be explored, like creating installations, video and digital art. This can be created solo or in collaboration with other apprentices. With this project, Kunstpodium T offers them a place for research and experiment, where new paths can be explored, where new connections can be made and where new ideas can be materialised.

The Apprentice Master project started in 2007 as the ‘Leerling Meester’ program, initially only including the art academy from Tilburg and later other Dutch academies, before going international. In 2019/2020 the project is in its twelfth season. Over the previous eleven years, an organic network has originated consisting of apprentices, masters and partners. A network that creates the exchange of knowledge and stimulates cross-pollination of artistic inspiration, opinions and experiences. The young talents will find themselves in an inspiring international environment that will form the fundament of their professional career.


Every season, the apprentices are exhibiting with their master during four weeks on one of our locations. This can be at Kunstpodium T, or at one of our guest locations in the Netherlands or Belgium. In 2018/2019 we exhibited at guest locations TAC Eindhoven, RUIS Nijmegen and Pinkie Bowtie Antwerp (BE). The exhibitions are always free.
Below you can find an overview of our planned Apprentice Master exhibitions. (2019/2020 coming soon)

Jan Naaijkensprijs

Since 1982, the Jan Naaijkens prize is being awarded every year by the Noordbrabants Genootschap to a person that has contributed to the development of the cultural life in North Brabant. The first time the prize was awarded to Jan Naaijkens. Since 2014 the Noordbrabants Genootschap collaborates with Kunstpodium T and its Apprentice Master program. The Jan Naaijkens prize is being awarded ever since for the development of talent and was being awarded in 2014 to Juan Pablo Plazas, in 2015 to Rudolf Samhejl, in 2016 to Ans Mertens, in 2017 to Nuni Weisz and in 2018 to Yoel Pytowsi. In 2019, Pieter Chanterie won the prize.

Master Talks

As part of the Apprentice Master project, a number of Master Talks will be hosted. During these, a moderator will go into dialogue with one of the masters of the program. These talks will take place at Museum de Pont in Tilburg, prior to the opening of the exhibition of the master with his or her apprentice-group. The talks are free and will be in Dutch.

Currently we have not yet planned the data for the mastertalks of 2019/2020. Keep an eye out on the site for updates!

Yearmaster: Niek Hendrix

Every year, Kunstpodium T invites a year master that, like a curator, selects the list with masters for that season of the Apprentice Master project. This season, visual artist Danielle Lemaire is the year master. Managing director Klaartje Esch and Danielle have selected this year’s masters and paired them up with the apprentices. The groups are formed based on portfolios and presentations, keeping work ethic, working method and subject matter in mind. The groups challenge each other, question each others work in a constructing way and show the diversity of the visual arts.

Niek Hendrix considers the images of painting, iconic or not, as an open source. He activates them by repeating them and put in a different context. This appropriation is not to make an exact copy but to create a different image of it. He paints them with a different brushstroke, different paint, colours are let go of, appearing in shades of black and white, and also the sizes are different. He places them in front of works from different times or adds a work of his own hands. In unexpected constellations he puts the viewer to the test: they must not only look again but also give meaning again.
Niek Hendrix graduated in Fine Arts from Sint Joost (Breda, the Netherlands) and attended the post-graduate program at the Jan van Eyck (2014/2015, Maastricht, NL). He was artist in residence at Van Gogh House (2014, Zundert, NL) and in Antwerp (2016, AiR Antwerp, BE).


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Kunstpodium T recognises and supports art talent with exchange of knowledge and experiment.
Contact information

Klaartje Esch, Managing Director
(+31)6 – 18081128

Kunstpodium T
Noordstraat 105
5038 EH Tilburg
The Netherlands