Curatorial Programme
Curatorial Programme

De Appel’s Curatorial Programme (CP) is a life-changing opportunity for motivated individuals who seek experience in making art public, beyond what academic degrees can offer. This intensive 10-month period of residency in Amsterdam involves full immersion in the local scene with de Appel as an institutional base. Following a rich curriculum intended to provide direct insight into the work of artists, the building of institutions, and forms of social life, each year’s six participants collectively determine de Appel’s public offering in Spring.

Founded in 1994 by then director Saskia Bos, De Appel’s Curatorial Programme (CP) celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2019. Ours is among the very first curatorial programmes in the world and it continues to be a life-changing opportunity for motivated individuals from different social and cultural backgrounds, who seek experience in the collective activity of making art public.

De Appel has a distinct history of bringing alternative practice into broader circulation. At its inception in 1974-75, it was a pioneer of new forms of presentation (such environments, situation art and performance) that have gradually come to define contemporary practice. While these were not immediately embraced, a deep historical consciousness has always permeated the institution. Our founder Wies Smals (1939-1983) had the foresight to keep a meticulous Archive even before de Appel was registered as a foundation. Successes, setbacks, detours and failures – keys to learning – have all left their traces. Nell Donkers, Curator of de Appel’s Archive since 2001, ensures lively access to this invaluable resource.

Since moving to Amsterdam Nieuw West in 2017, de Appel has developed signature Education Initiatives that arise from sustained community engagement. Under the leadership of Education Curator, David Smeulders, a process that began with listening to neighboring schools, organizations, families and individuals – alongside locally invested artists – is transforming the way we understand public programming and the learning potential of our institution.

The CP, Archive and Education Initiatives all mutually reinforce each other at de Appel, bringing depth and range to our public programmes. The CP final outcome in Spring is an institutional ritual and the measure of our heartbeat. The high stakes of this endeavor, with the full integration of participants into the workings of our publicly oriented institution, make De Appel’s CP unique among curatorial learning opportunities.