Foundation Art Zuid is a cultural foundation established by Cintha van Heeswijck-Veeger in 2008 with the aim of organising a world-class open-air sculpture biennial in the monumental Plan Zuid urban development area of Amsterdam designed by renowned Dutch architect H.P. Berlage. The fifth edition of the exhibition is scheduled to take place from 19 May to 17 September 2017. The foundation aims to liven up the neighbourhood by attracting new visitors to Amsterdam-Zuid with modern and contemporary sculptures stretching along Apollolaan, Minervalaan and the Zuidas business district. With visitor numbers averaging 375,000, the ARTZUID open-air exhibition can rightly be called a success. Art historian and former director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam Rudi Fuchs has called ARTZUID ‘unique in the world’ of biennial exhibitions because its sole medium is sculpture. ARTZUID has turned into the most important temporary sculptural exhibition in the world, with international participants including Tony Cragg, Eduardo Chilida, Mario Merz, Antony Gormley, Jaume Plensa, El Anatsui, KAWS and Atelier van Lieshout. At present opportunities to exhibit art outdoors are few and far between. Artists often depend on assignments granted by cities, museums and sculpture parks. In the past few years ARTZUID has collaborated with more than 200 artists from the Netherlands and beyond and exhibited 281 sculptures. The artists are selected by prominent curators such as Michiel Romeyn and Roberto Meyer (2009), Jan Cremer (2011), Henk van Os (2013), Rudi Fuchs and Maarten Bertheux (2015) and Rudi Fuchs (2017).
ARTZUID exhibits the sculptures on the green lanes so that everyone can stroll by and enjoy them, day and night. The sculptures encourage new meetings and elicit discussions. In 2011 Her Royal Highness Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands attended the opening of the exhibition. That year ARTZUID won the Europa Nostra Award, the prestigious EU cultural heritage prize. The jury praised the notion that by looking at contemporary sculptures young people are informed about the area, the urban design heritage of Berlage and the architecture that typifies the distinctive style of the Amsterdam School. More than 100 schools have already participated in ARTZUID’s educational programme. To promote the development of young creative talent, ARTZUID JUNIOR was launched in 2014. We have been organising workshops for young and old and ARTZUID ART CAMP for 6-15 year-olds since 2015. In 2012 the foundation received the ICOM Best in Heritage Award and in 2013 the residents of Amsterdam named ARTZUID ‘Best Neighbourhood Initiative’ as an Oranje Fonds Kroonappels social project. In 2015 Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the exhibition. In recent years ARTZUID has grown from a neighbourhood initiative to the largest free art event in the Netherlands. The foundation would not be able to function without the dedication and commitment of 80 neighbourhood volunteers and the Friends of ARTZUID.