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 ten-month residency in Amsterdam offers full immersion in the local scene, with de Appel as an institutional base. Each year, up to six selected participants embark on a rich curriculum, intended to provide direct insight into the work of leading art-, history- and community- makers. Collectively, they determine de Appel’s public offering for one season. The high stakes of this endeavor and the full integration of participants into the workings of our artist-inspired, publicly-oriented institution, make de Appel’s CP unique among curatorial learning opportunities.

History & Context

Established in 1994 by then-director Saskia Bos, de Appel’s Curatorial Programme celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. It is among the very first curatorial programmes in the world. The participants build life-long relationships and pull resources to learn from each other and from experts in the field. They work collectively to shape public programming that interprets the institution’s mission: making time and space to pose vital questions in an atmosphere of hospitality, cooperation and experiment.

De Appel has a distinct history of bringing alternative practice into broader circulation. From its inception in 1974-75 as a center for 'performance, environment and situation art', it has been a pioneer of new forms of presentation that have gradually come to define contemporary practice. While these new forms were not always immediately embraced, a deep historical consciousness has permeated the institution’s evolution. Founder Wies Smals (1939-1983) had the foresight to keep a meticulous Archive even before de Appel registered itself 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 Archive, Curatorial Programme and Education initiatives all mutually reinforce each other at de Appel, as deep roots for a tree with far-reaching branches.

de Appel’s Curatorial Programme is supported by Stichting Hartwig Foundation