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Statement of the Founder

Economy and art have a lot in common - after all, they are based on the same basic requirements: idea, inventio, innovatio. Both worlds develop through the same impulses: creativity, the courage to change and the urge for renewal. Provided that the two worlds are the same, this is what makes entrepreneurial commitment so important for art.
As a entrepreneur passionately interested in art, I founded the non-profit Arthena Foundation in 2008. With its exhibition space KAI 10 in Düsseldorf's Media Harbour, the Foundation operates a non-commercial, public art institution for the promotion of contemporary art. For more than 10 years now, the Foundation has been working independently of the guidelines of cultural policy and, in times of difficult prevailing circumstances, has created an independent exhibition venue that has been able to retain great autonomy in the choice of focus within its programme.

In order to make the institution KAI 10 I ARTHENA FOUNDATION a place for the everyday experience of art, I decided from the beginning not to charge admission, neither for visitors to the exhibitions nor for participants in accompanying events. For more than 10 years, KAI 10 has been accessible free of charge during regular daily opening hours and thus represents an innovative model of entrepreneurial commitment to art and culture.

Since the Foundation opened, 40 thematic group exhibitions have been shown here in Kaistraße in Düsseldorf, with artists from all over the world. KAI 10 has made a name for itself as an exhibition venue for international contemporary art. In addition to its exhibition activities, the Foundation also supports the creative process and thus the creation of artworks or productions on location. In 2013, the Foundation left Düsseldorf for the first time when it was invited to participate in the 55th Venice Biennale with such a "Work in Progress" project. "Arthena goes Venice", to quote an art magazine, was an exceptional project in every respect. The unusual overall staging by the artist Thomas Zipp on the subject of brain research was one of the highlights of the Biennale and brought us much international recognition. The renowned ars viva Prize 2019 which the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e. V. officially awarded in KAI 10 in association with an exhibition in our organisation, was our 30th project. Furthermore the first time at the turn of the year 2023/24, ARTHENA FOUNDATION invites applications for a grant "Publish Now!" to support artists in financing a publication.

The home base, however, remains our historic building directly on the waterfront in Düsseldorf's Media Harbour. Then, as now, I deliberately chose the Rhineland as my location, as there is a long tradition of promoting art and culture here that I would like to continue. Alongside the world-famous Art Academy and the large number of public museums, the KAI 10 I Arthena Foundation complements the existing diversity of institutions. The many art institutions and the numerous artists, curators and collectors in the region promote exchange and networking within this lively scene, which is so important for young artists. I therefore hope that KAI 10 will continue to be a place that encourages intensive engagement with contemporary art.

Monika Schnetkamp, March 19, 2024


[Translate to English:] Maecenas-Ehrung 2023 for Monika Schnetkamp

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