The Arthena Foundation is an interregional, non-profit foundation started by entrepreneur Monika Schnetkamp. In selecting a name that refers to the Greek goddess Athena, the foundation considers itself a go-between for art and science. With a series of complementary facilitative measures, the Arthena Foundation will further the dialogue between the fine arts and its closely related cultural disciplines.
Predominantly, the Foundation aims to support the development of younger artists in a variety of ways. Right beside the exhibitions, in first place, the goal is to encourage artistic processes and ways of realizing them through different projects. The Foundation would like to enable a young generation of artists to take new paths and develop artistic concepts outside the boundaries of established genres and media. At the center of the Arthena Foundation's activities are the advancement of creative potential and the process of generating work. In this, the Foundation is treading new ground in the territory of supporting arts and culture. Furthermore, the Foundation would like to act as a mirror for contemporary art, not only by supporting artists and the discursive framework, but also by encouraging and devising ways to speak and write about art.
The Foundation is making its first appearance in Düsseldorf's Medienhafen with a space for art. As the initiator and legal sponsor of KAI 10, the Foundation is supporting the institutional development and program of this new exhibition space in Düsseldorf. KAI10 is the institutional base where the Arthena Foundation's future projects will be presented to the public for discussion.
The Arthena Foundation, a legal foundation under civil law, with headquarters in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, is making its first public appearance in Düsseldorf's Medienhafen with a space for art. KAI 10 is the name, address, and, in a certain way, also the program here, since the new place is meant to be not only literally, but also programmatically, distant from the banks of institutions such as museums and Kunstvereine, as well as the commercial galleries. At Düsseldorf's Kaistrasse 10, communication about new art and the advancement of artistic processes will be the focal point in the future.
The Arthena Foundation very deliberately chose Düsseldorf as the place to open up its “art space,” since the Foundation would like to connect to the long tradition of Rheinish support for the arts, especially at a time when things are no longer quite as easy as they used to be for artists in the Rhineland a few years ago. In those days, art fans from around the world came to Düsseldorf and Cologne—not just to discover new German artists, but also to get the latest information about the international art scene's avant-garde movements. Nowadays, however, people fly to Berlin for the weekend. “There, my exhibition gets two thousand visitors in four weeks,” says a Düsseldorf gallerist, “but here, only four to five hundred.” Yet many students from around the world, from all of Germany, and even from Lower Saxony, still come to one of the most important art academies in the world—in Düsseldorf.
As the chairwoman of the Arthena Foundation, I am therefore pursuing a matter very close to my heart by committing to this place. Young artists are looking to present at least one of their first shows here, and many of the world's most important artists still live and work in the Rhineland. There is a high concentration of extraordinary artists here, as well as a large number of museums and exhibition spaces. It is here that I would like to make contacts in the scene and support young artists as they develop their artistic vocabulary. I hope that KAI 10 will continue into the future as a place where the intense exploration of contemporary art is encouraged.