Independent, non-governmental networks play a key role within European and international cultural cooperation as well as for the support and protection of artists’ rights and demands. In the following some networks are presented that are of interest for visual artists and that differ widely as regards aims, focuses and size.

  • Culture Action Europe, based in Brussels, is the largest interdisciplinary forum for the non-governmental cultural sector in Europe. It is an advocacy and lobby organisation that promotes arts and culture as a building block of the European project. CAE provides information and analysis on the European Union, offers to its more than 90 members and other cultural actors a space to exchange and elaborate common positions, and develops advocacy actions towards European policymakers.
  • The European Media Art Network(ELIA) in Amsterdam is an independent membership organisation representing higher arts education institutions of all disciplines. ELIA has European and Non-European members and thus offers through its members’ list a survey of art academies in Europe and beyond.
  • The European Media Art Network (EMAN) was founded in 2007 by four media art institutions in the Netherlands, in Bulgaria, Great Britain and Germany. The growing network of media art centres awards production grants to European media artists. It furthermore serves research into and the production, presentation and distribution of media art in Europe.
  • The European Visual Artists (EVA) based in Brussels represents the interests of authors' collective management societies for the visual arts. 25 European societies are gathered under this roof. They manage collectively authors' rights of creators of works of fine art, illustration, photography, design, architecture and other visual works.
  • The International Association of Art (IAA) is the largest international non-governmental association of visual artists, with about 100 member organisations worldwide. The IAA supports international co-operation and aims to improve the economic and social position of artists on national and international level.
  • The International Association of Art (IAA) Europe is one of the five cultural regions of the IAA. Main objectives of IAA Europe are the exchange between artists and art/cultural organisations, the discussion and elaboration of artistic matters within Europe as well as the promotion of the flow of information regarding e.g. working conditions, social security systems, authors’ rights and free flow of artworks. It aims to make artists’ interests known to European political institutions and their is hosted by Berlin’s studio office and offers a collection of links to studio offices throughout Europe.
  • is an initiative of the Berliner Atelierbüro and reports links to a variety atelier offices and agencies throughout Europe.
  • On the Move (OTM) is the cultural mobility information network. With its more than 30 members in Europe and beyond it encourages and facilitates cross-border mobility and cooperation. The webpage is a rich source for publications, funding opportunities and current discussions related to cultural mobility.
  • Res Artis, based in Amsterdam, is a worldwide network of artist-residencies and residential art centres. It provides a critical forum for residency programmes, organises international conferences and seeks to strengthen the role residential arts centres play in the development of contemporary arts.
  • Sculpture Network (Pöcking/Germany) is a European non-profit organisation for the support and advancement of contemporary, three-dimensional art. It offers a platform for interchange between all those involved with or interested in sculpture and three-dimensional art.

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National cultural organisations and programmes often focus on national interests or the promotion of arts abroad. In recent years trans-national organisations have emerged that do support European, bilateral or multilateral cooperation processes. These organisations differ widely in their focus, aims, procedures and legal structures. Some are operational and develop own programmes, while others offer grants to individuals, organisations or projects.

In the following a selection of programmes is listed that are open for applications also for artists in Germany:

  • The European Cultural Foundation, based in Amsterdam, promotes cultural exchange and cooperation with a European character. It supports cultural policy development in Europe, advocacy actions, intercultural dialogue, research and capacity building. The foundation runs its own supporting programmes and awards grants to artists and organisations.
  • The Fonds Roberto Cimetta in Paris promotes artistic exchange and the mobility of professionals in the field of contemporary performing arts and visual arts within the Mediterranean area. With the support of a number of partners, the Roberto Cimetta Fund has set up a programme for awarding individual travel grants. The programme is intended to operate simply and flexibly, selections are organised regularly (every 5 to 6 weeks). The travel grant programme is open for professionals in the Mediterranean; European professionals may apply for projects that have a strong Mediterranean connection.
  • The Asia-Europe Foundation, based in Singapore, promotes mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. In the field of arts and culture, it carries out work in different areas, ranging from cultural policy to artistic exchanges. Projects and activities allow people with different backgrounds to sustain a dialogue and to cooperate in the various fields of arts and culture.


Creative Europe

The European Union obtained cultural competencies in the 1990, since within the Maastricht Treaty culture has been stated an important component of the European integration. Over the years, active cultural support has changed: While the first programmes (Kaleidoscope, Ariane, Raphael) focused on particular disciplines, up to the current programme Creative Europe support became more open and enables inter-disciplinary activities.

The programme Creative Europe started on January 1, 2014 (term 2014 - 2020) to help implementing the Europe 2020 growth strategy. General objectives are: to safeguard and promote European cultural and linguistic diversity as well as Europe's cultural heritage and to strengthen the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors with a view to promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

More specific objectives and criteria for successful applications are:

  • the support of the cultural and creative sectors to operate trans- and internationally,
  • the promotion of mobility of cultural actors, in particular artists, and the transnational circulation of cultural works,
  • audience development and access to cultural and creative work,
  • to strengthen the financial capacity of SMEs and micro, small and medium-sized organisations in the cultural and creative sectors, and
  • to foster policy development and new business and management models through support for transnational policy cooperation.

The programme consists of two sub-programmes: the CULTURE sub-programme, and the MEDIA sub-programme to support the audiovisual sector. The CULTURE sub-programme includes the following strands: (a) support for cultural projects, (b) European networks, (c) European platforms and (d) literary translation projects.

Applications for the support for cultural projects can be submitted annually in two categories: small scale cooperation project and large scale cooperation projects. The Creative Europe programme is managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, supervised by the Directorate General Education and Culture.

The programme is aimed at specific objectives: the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue (1), support of international mobility of cultural actors and the circulation of cultural and artistic works (2), providing cultural and creative players with skills and competence (3), audience development (4), as well as the use of digital technology (5).

In general projects must meet a specific relevance at European level, bilateral or regional activities will not be supported. In terms of a European cooperation, several partners must be involved in the conception and organisation of a project (small scale cooperation projects: at least three partners from three countries; large scale cooperation projects: at least six partners from six countries).

Natural persons are not eligible to apply for a grant. Eligible applicants must be a public or private organisation with legal status and with a legal seat in one of the eligible countries.
Information on the application procedure is available online. It is also useful to have a look at former selected projects.

Creative Europe Desk

We recommend getting in touch with the Creative Europe Desk in Bonn before submitting an application. Here project proposals and submissions are carefully checked and advice and technical assistance is given as regards formalities and plausibility. The CED in Bonn is the national contact point for the EU’s cultural funding. It informs on the cultural support of the EU, particularly on the Creative Europe programme, and other European supporting possibilities. Detailed information is available at the webpage, also advice on individual questions is provided by telephone or email. The CED regularly hosts information seminars on EU cultural support. CEDs operate in all countries participating in the EU Creative Europe programme, at the moment 38. A listing of the CEDs in Europe is available here.

Webpage Europa fördert Kultur

The webpage Europa fördert Kultur by the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft offers detailed information on the programme Creative Europe as well as on further EU supporting programmes that are relevant for cultural activities. Since culture is stated as a cross-sectional task, other programmes are also open for cultural projects, e.g.

  • the Structural Funds that can be of relevance for projects that support the tourism development in particular regions,
  • the programme Europe for Citizens that concerns projects encouraging citizens participation and the European integration process or
  • Erasmus+, the programme for support of the youth sector e.g..

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Please notice our policies on data protection

Since many years, the Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK) issues the IAA International Identity Card for professional visual artists (residing in Germany).

It includes ticket price reductions or free admission to many art museums and numerous galleries - in Germany as well as worldwide.

View here a selection of countries and museums accepting the IAA Card

All organized and non-organized visual artists (no students) can apply for the IAA card. The card is valid for two years. The International Identity Card for Professional Artists of IAA does not constitute an individual membership in the IAA or in the IGBK.


You can apply for the card via this online form (online form in German)

Alternatively, you can also apply for the IAA card by postal mail. Our address: IGBK, Taubenstraße 1, 10117 Berlin.

Please don't send us applications by email. Thank you!

Any questions? Call us at: +49 (0)30 23 45 76 66

We need the following information for your application:

  • A verification of your professional artistic activity. You can for example send us your CV or refer to your website to give us a short overview about your last year's exhibitions,

or alternative to that

  • if you are a member of either Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler (not BBK Berlin), Deutscher Künstlerbund or GEDOK (only the section "visual arts"), send us a scan or copy of your membership card or a link to their website with the members' list.

Furthermore we need

  • a portrait photo of yours,
  • and your permanent address in Germany to send you the card.

After checking your request briefly, we will send you our bank details for wiring the administrative charge for the card, which is 35,- € (respectively a reduced charge of 10,- €  for members of the IGBK member associations Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler (not BBK Berlin), Deutscher Künstlerbund and GEDOK (only section "visual arts")).

We will send you the card by postal mail, once payment has been received. You will receive your invoice per Email with our shipping note. The whole process usually takes between 1-2 weeks.

Here you find open calls for international and national competitions, grants and residencies. IGBK makes a selection, but can not be held responsible for single calls.

Note: The publication is subject to the review by the editors of IGBK.

images/TA_sw-Kopie-rgb_klein.jpgThe information portal provides artists for both the performing and the visual arts comprehensive information on visas and residence, transport and customs, taxes, social and other insurances, and copyright related to cross-border mobility.

Furthermore, artists and cultural professionals can make use of the touring artists helpdesk service for individual consultations on international projects and working stays abroad. Please make an appointment by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The service is free of charge.

The website and service is addressed to artists living in Germany and working abroad for a limited time, as well as to foreign artists who come to work in Germany temporarily.

International Artists Info Berlin

From September 2018 on the service also welcomes artists and culture professionals who were forced to leave their home countries and are now residing in Germany. Individual consultations on international projects as well as on questions on how to achieve a future career in Germany are offered. Culture professionals can also obtain information on the Berlin job market in particular. Moreover, the helpdesk service addresses cultural institutions in Berlin that are collaborating with arriving artists.

The information portal has been enhanced accordingly with corresponding information in German, English and Arabic.

Please make an appointment by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The service is free of charge.

This extension of touring artists is part of the project "International Artist Information Berlin".

touring artists is a joint project of IGBK, the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Germany and Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (DTD). The touring artists helpdesk is a cooperation of IGBK, ITI and DTD together with SMartDe - Netzwerk für Kreative e.V.. The project is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

The enhanced service for artists and culture professionals from countries affected by crisis is part of the project "International Artists Info Berlin" – a cooperation of IGBK, ITI and DTD with SMartDe – Netzwerk für Kreative e.V., supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe Berlin, programme ‘Weltoffenes Berlin‘.

Residencies and exchange programmes are much important for the artists’ international careers. They offer access to networks and possibly new markets; they create links between local art scenes and international artists and audiences.

The IGBK provides the "Certificate for the Customs Authorities" for artists living in Germany.