May, 18 2008
History of de Kunstvlaai
It all started in 1997.

Besides the KunstRai, where you can find a yearly overview of commercial galleries, the Sandberg Institute wanted to create an art fair showing other kinds of art i.e. non established art. The KunstRai did not approve of this idea, prohibiting the initial title ‘Not the KunstRai’ which thus instead became, ‘Niet de Kunstvlaai’ - ‘Not the Art Pie’, taking its place not in the Rai but in the Westergasfabriek.
It was here artist initiatives from the Netherlands were invited to represent themselves with their best work. At the same time postgraduate studies similar to the Sandberg Institute joined in. This collaboration resulted in a lively, well attended art fair showing upcoming art; art not yet institutionalized, art looking for new ways. According to the response from the public and press, ‘Niet de Kunstvlaai’ was an unexpected success. It functioned as a spontaneous market: exhibiting artists were introduced to other initiatives and as a result could exhibit their work throughout the country. This enabled relatively isolated artist initiatives to gain more attention.
For the second edition the name changed to ‘De Kunstvlaai.’ Every edition since, De Kunstvlaai has been marked by something extra. For the second, Dutch contributors were invited to introduce a foreign colleague next to their own presentation. Around twenty foreign initiatives ranging from Belgium to Indonesia were present. In its third edition, De Kunstvlaai highlighted the work of young artists who recently received a stipendium from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB). The fourth became a platform for the first One Minutes exhibition and The One Minutes Awards ceremony.
Due to the increase of participants and its fame since the second edition, it became inevitable that De Kunstvlaai used more spaces within the Westergasfabriek as well as the public space around the building.
Initially starting out with 8000 visitors, numbers grew to 12000 for De Kunstvlaai 2000. Between 2001 and 2003 there were no editions of De Kunstvlaai organised due to the renovation of the Westergasfabriek site. However in 2004, De Kunstvlaai returned with over 50 initiatives and MFA courses, all showing their best. In addition to this was a large selection of work by young artists gathered by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts as well as and 35 public space projects.
De Kunstvlaai edition 6 took place in May 2006. Here the focus shifted to international MFA courses and hence increased the amount of young international participants, with around 15 international schools being represented.
The international orientation of the Kunstvlaai is now at its core strength. Different countries have come to request advice on the organisation of their own Kunstvlaai: Art Pie International (A.P.I.).
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