Gala at the Theater in der Josefstadt:
Bank Austria awards most lucrative art prize in Austria

  • Bank Austria Art Prize with a total prize pool of EUR 218,000 will be awarded for the third time this year
  • High-calibre jury chose this year's winners from 313 candidates
  • Prize winners in the four categories:
    o "Regional" category: Soho in Ottakring 2012 – Unsicheres Terrain festival and :kult: das neue Mühlfestival
    o "Communication of art" category: The oenm . ganz privat project by the Austrian Ensemble for New Music and the Lehrlinge analysieren Film project by Diagonale – Festival of Austrian Film
    o "International" category: ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival
    o "Cultural journalism" category: Thomas Trenkler, culture editor, Der Standard

The 2012 Bank Austria Art Prize will be awarded during a gala event at the Theater in der Josefstadt on the evening of 15 February 2013. With a total prize pool of EUR 218,000, it is the most lucrative cultural sponsorship award in Austria and will go to outstanding cultural initiatives, projects and prominent figures in the Austrian art and culture scene once again this year. "We are very proud that in its third year of existence, the Bank Austria Art Prize has already become a fixture of the Austrian art and culture scene. The large number of submissions shows us that artists and creative minds see us as a reliable and stable partner," said Willibald Cernko, the CEO of Bank Austria, expressing his pleasure about the large response and the numerous excellent submissions for the 2012 Bank Austria Art Prize.

"Promoting art and culture is part of our social responsibility. Bank Austria offers young, up-and-coming talent as well as established institutions in the fine arts and in classical music the support they need and encourages outstanding artists and unique cultural initiatives. As the leading Austrian bank and a member of a large European banking group, it is also important to us to support innovative projects from Central and Eastern Europe in order to encourage artistic dialogue and a shared European culture," Cernko continued.

Bank Austria's funding for the arts is focused on long-term support for important cultural initiatives. "We are aware that Austria's cultural landscape holds enormous potential, but we also know that it is not easy for many associations and projects to finance their ideas. With the Bank Austria Art Prize, we want to set an example when it comes to recognising the outstanding work and dedication that is often performed by unpaid volunteers, especially on regional projects. In this way, we hope to stimulate Austria's cultural landscape," said Cernko, explaining the idea behind the Bank Austria Art Prize.

The Bank Austria Art Prize is awarded in four categories. The prizes go to:

o the best regional cultural initiatives (prize money of EUR 70,000)
o the best projects for communicating art to new target groups (prize money of EUR 70,000)
o the best project for internationalising Austrian art and
cultural creativity (prize money of EUR 70,000)
o outstanding work in the field of cultural journalism (prize money of EUR 8,000)

The Bank Austria Art Prize is one of three pillars in Bank Austria's cultural sponsorship programme. The second pillar comprises quality partnerships with reputed cultural institutions such as the Musikverein, the Bank Austria Kunstforum, the Albertina and the Theater in der Josefstadt. The third pillar embraces projects that focus on promoting up-and-coming artists such as the Ö1 Talentebörse, and on the other hand projects such as "Brunnenpassage" which combine art and social commitment.

Submissions in 2012
A total of 313 projects from all over Austria were submitted for the 2012 Bank Austria Art Prize. The jury assessed the projects based on criteria such as innovation, creativity, sustainability and the submission of a complete financial plan. "In the third year of the Bank Austria Art Prize, we were once again impressed by the variety and quality of the projects submitted. I see this as a clear indication of the constant development of the Austrian art and culture scene," stated Cernko.

The high-calibre jury comprised Thomas Angyan (director of the Society of Music Friends in Vienna), Ingried Brugger (director of the Bank Austria Kunstforum), Willibald Cernko (CEO of Bank Austria), Andrea Ecker (section director at the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture), Herbert Föttinger (director of the Theater in der Josefstadt), Anton Kolarik (head of the Identity & Communications department at Bank Austria), Walter Leiss (secretary general of the Austrian Association of Municipalities), Johanna Rachinger (director of the Austrian National Library), Klaus Albrecht Schröder (director of the Albertina Vienna) and Thomas Weninger (secretary general of the Austrian Association of Cities and Towns).

2012 prize winners
The following initiatives and projects were awarded the 2012 Bank Austria Art Prize:

o Regional category:
Prize money of EUR 70,000 (in total, divided equally between both prize winners)

Soho in Ottakring association: Soho in Ottakring – Unsicheres Terrain festival (Vienna)

The idea of Soho in Ottakring is to develop various levels of practical experience and reflection. To do this, the festival focuses on giving people and groups of individuals who live in the city the opportunity to participate in the workshops. It encourages artists, theorists and guests to discuss and reflect with participants. As an art project in an urban space with years of experience, Soho in Ottakring is dedicated to making the city tangible, visible and understandable in various contexts, examining complex social interactions and tapping into new potential. The festival sees art as a collective learning process. It aims to activate and link up a wide array of population groups and to bring social conflicts to the fore.

:kult: das neue Mühlfestival (Upper Austria)

:kult: is an innovative festival with a number of stages spanning an area of over 3,000 square metres at the Freistadt exhibition hall. It combines various forms of art such as theatre, music, the fine arts, film and new media and allows them to interact. Its wide-ranging programme also includes social criticism.

Each year, the exhibition hall is transformed into a city of culture, which translates into immense benefits for the region and beyond. :kult: offers a wide array of target groups in various cultural genres the opportunity to meet up and share their experiences.

o Communication of art category:
Prize money of EUR 70,000 (in total, divided equally between both prize winners)

oenm . Austrian Ensemble for New Music: oenm . ganz privat (Salzburg)

A very special kind of concert has been taking place at the studio of oenm (the Austrian Ensemble for New Music) in Salzburg's Künstlerhaus since the late autumn of 2011. In line with the motto "Music played just for you here in our home", the ensemble performs concerts with the aim of introducing audiences to classical music in general and to the music of the 20th and 21st centuries in particular and sparking their interest in these genres. In a laid-back atmosphere resembling a living room, the ensemble breaks down all boundaries in order to raise people's enthusiasm about music. The project encourages people to enjoy new music and shows how enriching music can be for their lives. Music is seen as a factor that contributes to quality of life and as a sign of an intelligent, open and innovative society.

Diagonale – Festival of Austrian Film: Lehrlinge analysieren Film (Styria)

Lehrlinge analysieren Film (Apprentices analyse film) is a three-part film workshop focused on working with selected short films and on actively and creatively applying the knowledge that is gained. Guided by experienced film experts, participants have the opportunity to intensely examine cinematic form, aesthetic details and content in order to gain practical, easy access to the tools of film analysis. The basic aims are for participants to activate their awareness of films, learn to view films in an independent, critical and creative way, and improve their ability to discuss. The project also often represents the first encounter that people have with a cultural event and with filmmakers.

o International category:
Prize money of EUR 70,000

ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival (Vienna)

In its variety of performances, workshops, research programmes and interdisciplinary art communication, ImPulsTanz has all the characteristics of an internationally significant art festival. This international dance festival offers Austrian dancers and choreographers the artistic platform they need for their rhythmic creations. With its international focus, the festival also allows internationally renowned artists to present their productions in Vienna.
The project aims to establish Vienna as an international dance capital.

o Cultural journalism category:
Prize money of EUR 8,000

Thomas Trenkler, "Der Standard"

This journalist and book author was born in Salzburg and studied German studies and art history at the University of Graz. From 1985 to 1990, Thomas Trenkler worked for the steirischer herbst cultural initiative, where he ultimately served as press officer. In 1991, the cultural journalist wrote his doctoral thesis about the language of advertising in Austrian broadcasting. After working as a freelance journalist, he became a culture editor of the daily newspaper Der Standard. In his many books, Trenkler focuses primarily on the aspect of art and the economy during National Socialism.

Announcement for 2013 Bank Austria Art Prize
Parallel to awarding the 2012 Bank Austria Art Prize, we would like to invite artists and creative minds to submit their projects for the 2013 Bank Austria Art Prize. The competition documents and all other information will be available at 
 kunstpreis.bankaustria.at starting on 20 May.


Bank Austria Events & Sponsorship Bank Austria Press Office Austria
 Katja Erlach, Tel. +43 (0) 50505-56839  Matthias Raftl, Tel. +43 (0) 50505-52809
 E-mail: katja.erlach@unicreditgroup.at  E-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at



Reproducible photos of the award ceremony and the winning projects are  here available for download. The photos can be printed free of charge.