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Press releases

17.02.2017

Bank Austria awards highest remunerated art prize in Austria

  • The 2016 Bank Austria Art Prize goes to Ars Electronica, united heartbeat and Andrea Schurian
  • Sowieso! in Vienna wins Bank Austria Social Innovation Award
  • Presentation on 17 February 2017 in the Theater in der Josefstadt, Vienna

As a fixed element in Austria's cultural landscape and one of the biggest cultural sponsors in the country, since 2010 Bank Austria has been awarding the country's most lucrative cultural sponsorship award with a total prize pool of EUR 218,000. The Bank Austria Art Prize is awarded in the following categories:

• Support for crowdfunding campaigns from the cultural sector: 100,000 Euro
• Bank Austria Crowdfunding Prize (selected by the jury) for linking cultural and social commitment: 10,000 Euro
• Bank Austria Art Prize (nomination and selection by jury): 100,000 Euro
• Bank Austria Art Prize for Cultural Journalism (nomination and selection by jury): 8,000 Euro

"Art reflects social developments and is an important contribution for the social and economic stability of a country. Our commitment in this area is an integral element of our social responsibility as the largest patron of the arts in the country", is how Robert Zadrazil, CEO of UniCredit Bank Austria, explains the commitment of his company. "Bank Austria is a strong and reliable partner for artists and cultural artists in Austria. Our patronage of the arts focuses on the long-term support of important cultural initiatives. Hence why we promote projects and institutions, which shape our cultural landscape with outstanding achievements", adds Zadrazil. "The Bank Austria Art Prize is very important to me as a sign of appreciation for exceptional cultural initiatives. As we, Bank Austria, provide a long-term impetus which helps to maintain what is tried and tested and promote new ideas, in 2017 we will also award the Bank Austria Art Prize and we hope there is still a huge interest and numerous participants."

New special prize for successful crowdfunding campaigns
In 2015 the Art Prize was completely restructured, in order to better meet the promotional needs of cultural artists and in particular to strengthen the federal states. For instance, the Bank Austria Art Prize became the most successful crowdfunding initiative on the Austrian cultural scene. Here over 330,000 Euro was once again fed into the Austrian cultural scene together with private financiers. The leverage effect of the tripartite funding makes the Bank Austria Art Prize an active “driver” of innovative cultural projects.

In addition, for the first time the jury awarded 10,000 Euro to a project from the most successful crowdfunding campaigns, which makes a particularly important contribution towards shaping society in a positive way by linking art and culture with social commitment. The awards focus on quantitative aspects, such as volume of business, as well as qualitative issues like price setting, customer understanding, innovative capacity and customer service.

High-ranking jury selected the winners
An interdisciplinary jury chose the award winners in a multistage assessment procedure: Thomas Angyan (Artistic Director of Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien (Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna)), Christine Dollhofer (Director of the Crossing Europe Film Festival), Daniel Ebner (Artistic Director of Vienna Independent Shorts), Andrea Ecker (Section Head of Section II for Art and Culture in the Federal Chancellery), Herbert Föttinger (Director of Theater in der Josefstadt), Günter Friesinger (Philosopher, Artist and Head of the paraflow Festival for Digital Art and Media), Andreas Leisner (Chief Dramatic Producer, Deputy Artistic Director of Tiroler Festspiele Erl), Johanna Rachinger (Director of the Austrian National Library), Klaus Albrecht Schröder (Director of Albertina) and Robert Zadrazil (CEO, UniCredit Bank Austria).

The 2016 award winners

• Ars Electronica was one of the world's first series of events which dealt with digital art and its possibilities. Opened for the first time in 1979 within the framework of the international Brucknerfest as a successor to the forum metall with the first Linzer Klangwolke, today the festival is considered one of the best international forums for the exchange of ideas and projects at the interface of art, technology and society. Today Ars Electronica includes next to the 1979 founded Festival, the Prix Ars Electronica, the most important international festival for computer art, where also the Oscar of digital art is awarded, the Ars Electronica Center, which was opened in 1996 and extended prior to Linz09, one of the leading museums for digital art and media art, as well as the Ars Electronica Futurelab, which pursues interdisciplinary research projects in the interplay of art, technology and society. Ars Electronica Linz GmbH is a 100 percent subsidiary of the city of Linz. More information online at http://www.aec.at
A presentation video of the awards ceremony for the Bank Austria Art Prize is available online from 18 February at: http://kunstpreis.bankaustria.at

• The Bank Austria Crowdfunding Prize is awarded for the first time and goes to the united heartbeat Organisation. united heartbeat helps musicians who have lost their homeland make music again by providing them with instruments, among other things. Thanks to the high level of social responsibility, this crowdfunding project is particularly important to Bank Austria. More information online at http://www.unitedheartbeat.at
A presentation video of the awards ceremony for the Bank Austria Art Prize is available online from 18 February at: http://kunstpreis.bankaustria.at

• Andrea Schurian receives the 2016 Bank Austria Art Prize for cultural journalism. She works as a head of department for the cultural section of the daily newspaper “Der Standard”, develops cultural documentation, anchors and writes reports and artist profiles for various cultural magazines and features. Andrea Schurian is one of the most important cultural journalists in Austria. More information online at http://www.andreaschurian.at
A presentation video of the awards ceremony for the Bank Austria Art Prize is available online from 18 February at: http://kunstpreis.bankaustria.at

Link between art and social commitment
Bank Austria is not only committed to economic success and culture, it also assumes social responsibility. Supporting disadvantaged people is very important to Bank Austria. In this context seven years ago Bank Austria also set up the Bank Austria Social Innovation Award with a prize fund of 85,000 Euro and since 2014 it has been awarded in every federal state. The Bank Austria Social Innovation Award is essentially supported by the UniCredit Foundation, the corporate foundation of the UniCredit Group. This year the jury consisting of Michael Landau (Caritas Director of the Archdiocese of Vienna), Christian Moser (Managing Director of SOS Kinderdorf Austria), Robert Zadrazil (CEO, Bank Austria) and Roman Jost (Sustainability Management, Bank Austria) decided on a preselection of three projects per federal state. Resulting from a final internet-voting, these are the winners of the Bank Austria Social Innovation Award:
• Vienna: Sowieso! – Art workshops for children with disabilities
• Burgenland: Pink-Up-Help – The association supports 10 refugee families and 20 asylum seekers in Pinkafeld
• Lower Austria: Fit4life – A project for the promotion of health among younger people from difficult socioeconomic circumstances
• Upper Austria: AMIGO@WORK – Businesses offer refugees an initial important insight of the Austrian labour market during their asylum procedure
• Tyrol: Frauen aus allen Ländern (Women from all over the world) – Low-threshold education and advisory and counselling services for women who are migrants or refugees
• Vorarlberg: Köpfe wie Du & Ich – MUT Menschenwürde und Toleranz (People like you & I – COURAGE, human dignity and tolerance) – Youth work in Lustenau with an emphasis on combating young people's support for radical groups
• Salzburg: Open Heart – Sponsorships for unaccompanied minor refugees
• Carinthia: Hospizbewegung (Hospice movement) – Attending to children, teenagers and young adults in palliative care
• Styria: Seniorenbetreuung am Bauernhof (Care of the elderly on farms) – Service for older people with mental illnesses such as dementia or depression

Enquiries: UniCredit Bank Austria Media Relations
Matthias Raftl, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 52809
E-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at

UniCredit Bank Austria Events & Sponsoring
Katja Erlach, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 56839
E-mail: katja.erlach@unicreditgroup.at

From 18 February on, photos of the Bank Austria Art Prize Gala are also available on the website: http://kunstpreis.bankaustria.at. The photos can be printed free of charge.

Videos, in which the winning projects are presented, are available online from 18 February at: http://kunstpreis.bankaustria.at