“Promoting art and culture is part and parcel of our commitment to the community. As regional credit institutions regulated by public law, it goes without saying that our involvement in the regions in which we operate extends beyond our basic core business.”
Georg Fahrenschon, President of the German Savings Banks Association
In their various regions the savings banks provide support for choirs, concerts, art projects, readings, children’s festivals and much more. Every year, they and their partners within the association spend some EUR 150 million on art and culture, thereby con- tributing towards the preservation of a diverse cultural landscape. This makes the Savings Banks Finance Group the biggest non-government promoter of the arts in Germany.
The German Savings Banks Association (Deut- scher Sparkassen- und Giroverband – DSGV) is the umbrella organisation of the Savings Banks Finance Group. With its cultural fund it supports projects in the fields of the visual arts and classical music. The fund was first set up in 1999 in order to join with partners in the Savings Banks Finance Group to identify flagship projects that underline the wideranging commitment of the Savings Banks and their partners throughout Germany to supporting the arts. The Savings Bank Cultural Fund selects regional projects of national significance, promoting them and providing them with supraregional publicity. The Cultural Fund has proved a reliable partner for cultural organisations and has often provided support that goes beyond mere sponsorship.
Cooperation with museums
An important focus for the activities of the Savings Bank Cultural Fund is on comprehensive, long-term cooperation with two of Germany’s leading museum associations. Since 2011 it has been the main sponsor of the National Museums in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin). In conjunction with Berliner Sparkasse and DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, the Savings Bank Cultural Fund supports major exhibitions as well as enabling projects in the field of education and publicity and helping enhance the public image of the museums. In 2011 the competition “MAKE A WISH!” (“WÜNSCH DIR WAS!”) was set up to encourage children and young people to submit their ideas for the museum of the future. Participants putting forward the most creative ideas are able to realise them with the support from the museums – and the most visionary project that cannot be implemented within the framework of the competition is awarded a “Utopia-Prize” (“Utopiepreis”).
The Savings Banks Finance Group became involved with the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (State Art Collections in Dresden). With support from the Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden, the Ostdeutscher Sparkassenverband, all the savings banks in Saxony, the LBS Ostdeutsche Landesbausparkasse AG, the Sachsen Bank, Sparkassen-Versicherung Sachsen, DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale and the Savings Bank Cultural Fund supported outstanding cultural highlights such as “The Sistine Madonna – Raphael’s iconic painting turns 500” in 2012 were enabled, together with the reopening of important museums such as the historic “Green Vault” in 2006 and the Albertinum in 2010. The Savings Banks Finance Group is also involved in museum-based education projects. The aim of this cooperative approach is to preserve the cultural heritage of Dresden and Saxony, strengthen its public profile and underline its significance in terms of cultural and artistic history.
Promotion of exhibitions
In addition to working with museums, the Savings Bank Cultural Fund also supports exhibitions of exceptional quality throughout Germany. One of the highlights in 2014 was the project “KARL DER GROSSE. Macht Kunst Schätze” (CHARLEMAGNE. Power Art Treasures), which was jointly supported by the Savings Bank Cultural Fund, Sparkasse Aachen and the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Rheinland. Marking the 1,200th anniversary of Charlemagne’s death, this three-part exhibition focused on his life and works. The joint effort between the two organisations made it possible to offer comprehensive support and at the same time communicate the savings banks’ regional and suprregional commitment to a wide public.
Villa Massimo Evening
Every year, recipients of scholarships from the German art institute Deutsche Akademie Rom Villa Massimo invite the public to an evening in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau at which they present their works. This unusual art event was first held in 2007 at the initiative of the Savings Bank Cultural Fund as part of its policy of making art and culture accessible to a broader public. The evening is now one of the most important cultural events in Berlin.
In 2013 the Savings Banks Finance Group was given a Cultural Brand Award in the category “Cultural Investor of the Year” for its ongoing, broad-based support for the young musicians’ competition “Jugend musiziert”. Around three quarters of savings banks and their associations support Germany’s leading competition for young classical musicians. The DSGV supports the national com- petition and also offers a special prize for family ensembles as well as sponsoring the concert series “Meisterschüler – Meister” for the musicians of the future.