Above: artwork by Kyra Nijskens, www.thepool.art
The highly-anticipated Springboard Art Fair in Utrecht, organized by the Amsterdam-based This Art Foundation, is set to captivate art professionals and collectors as it kicked off on June 8, 2023. The fair marks the culmination of the foundation’s endeavors in nurturing and promoting emerging artists from The Netherlands. Showcasing the works by 120 carefully curated artists handpicked from the vibrant online community platform, The Pool (www.thepool.art), this fair promises to be a new ecosystem, showcasing young talents.
With the support of The Mondriaan Fund, the dedicated team behind This Art Foundation seized the opportunity to support a group of artists who faced challenges amidst the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The foundation’s innovative response took shape in the form of thepool.art, an immersive virtual space that has invited over 400 artists seeking a digital platform to showcase their practice. thepool.art not only empowers these artists to reclaim their artistic voice but also acts as a dynamic place for forging connections with established art professionals, a space that cultivates relevant artistic alliances.
Recognizing the importance of mentorship and collaboration, thepool.art extended invitations to approximately 100 renowned experts in the art sphere. Through this union of established and emerging talents, thepool.art cultivates a sense of community and promotes the growth of cultural entrepreneurship in the digital realm.
.ART has talked to Emiel van der Pol, the director of This Art Foundation, about thepool.art, an online platform, where artists can share their practice, make connections and exchange experiences, publish events and ask questions related to their professional practice.
“The Pool is a platform where artists and art professionals easily get in contact with each other as artists can share their practice and talk with art professionals, curators, collectors, gallerists in a very low-key open manner.
The Pool originated from an open call from The Mondriaan Fund. They noticed that a lot of artists have graduated during the coronavirus period – in 2019 to 2021. These artists have faced severe difficulties getting connections in the professional world: extending their network and basically getting noticed.
Our foundation has sent out a plan to create an online platform with an art fair attached in order to increase artists’ profiles and also provide them connections to people who matter in the art world.
The aim was to create an online space, where artists can share the story of their practice – what they are working on, what their ideas are. The infrastructure behind it is connecting artists with galleries and with other art professionals looking for artists. It all came from the idea that a lot of artists are trying to find their way online. There’s plenty of platforms which help to sell your work, but there isn’t really one that just lets you connect with people.
Our network is mostly focused on the European scene. That’s where most of the opportunities lie at the moment for the graduates in the Netherlands. But then again it’s online – so it can be open basically to anyone.
I think over the past several decades a lot of collectors were buying art by young artists in The Netherlands, when the work is still available for a fair price. And only very few kept collecting. It’s a market where you can do well as a young artist, but it’s also a market where you might have to make some concessions”.
Answering the question, related to the meaning behind the naming of the platform, Emiel van der Pol comments: “The Pool is a communal, public space, it has links to leisure, taking some time off, chatting with someone. The Pool is also a place where you can find artists, it’s a pool of artists, a place where professionals can discover new talents. And of course it has a lot of good associations – we wanted to create something positive”.
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