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

  • With a total prize pool of EUR 218,000, the lucrative Bank Austria Art Prize will be awarded this year for the fourth time
  • The high-calibre jury selected this year's winners from 206 entrants
  • The winners in the three categories are as follows: in the "Regional" category: Festival Retz 'Offene Grenzen' ('Open Borders') 2012 + 2013; in the "Communication of Art" category: My RSO – Greatest Hits for Contemporary Orchestra and Projekt Ingeborg (pingeb.org for short) and in the "Cultural Journalism" category: Wolfgang Huber-Lang, APA Arts Editor
  • The special prize went to paraflows - OPEN CULTURE and the editorial 'Kultur heute' ("Culture Today") by ORF III

On 21 February 2014, the Bank Austria Art Awards will be presented during a celebratory gala event at the Theater in der Josefstadt for the fourth time. With a total prize pool of EUR 218,000, Austria's most lucrative sponsorship prize for art and culture will this year go once again to outstanding initiatives, projects and prominent figures from Austria's cultural scene. "We are absolutely delighted to be crowning some outstanding cultural initiatives as winners of the Bank Austria Art Prize this year for the fourth time. Having become a permanent fixture of Austria's cultural landscape, the large number of high-quality entries for the Bank Austria Art Prize demonstrates the enormous potential that the culture scene has to offer in Austria," underlined Bank Austria CEO Willibald Cernko.

"Art reflects social developments and plays an important role in maintaining social and economic stability. Bank Austria's funding for the arts focuses on providing long-term support for important cultural initiatives and promoting projects and institutions that shape our cultural landscape through their outstanding work and commitment. Our involvement is integral to our social responsibility. We are therefore setting an example when it comes to recognising outstanding cultural initiatives. This is a cause very close to my heart," said Cernko.

As the country's largest promoter of culture and the leading Austrian bank, Bank Austria is backing long-term and sustainable initiatives so as to preserve traditions and promote new ideas. Its cultural sponsorship programme is based on three strong pillars. Essentially, these consist of internally initiated projects to promote Austrian cultural infrastructure on an international level, the promotion of regional initiatives and the promotion of up-and-coming artists. Emphasis is also placed on forming premium partnerships with established creative minds from the fields of art and music. "As a strong and reliable promotional body, we therefore cover practically all areas of cultural activity. From up-and-coming artists, who shape contemporary cultural development all the way up to established institutions of international acclaim," explained Cernko with reference to Bank Austria's multi-faceted sponsorship programme. Bank Austria's cultural agenda also includes the sponsorship of cultural projects from Central and Eastern Europe – based on the conviction that joint cultural projects play an essential role in creating a united Europe.

This year, the Bank Austria Art prize is being awarded in three categories and in the form of two special prizes. 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 outstanding work in the field of cultural journalism (prize money of EUR 8,000)
o special prize and jury's prize (prize money of EUR 70,000)

Entries in 2013
"The variety and quality of the projects submitted are once again an indication of the vitality of our country's art scene and demonstrate the wide-ranging creativity of Austria’s cultural landscape," stated Cernko. At the same time, the expert jury for the Bank Austria Art Prize underlined their high expectations of Austrian cultural initiatives and their sustainable quality standards by deciding this year for the first time not to award a prize in the "International" category. They instead opted to recognise outstanding achievements and cultural commitment with special awards. A total of 206 projects from all over Austria were submitted for the 2013 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.

The high-calibre jury comprised Thomas Angyan (Director of the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna), Ingried Brugger (Director of the Bank Austria "Kunstforum" art forum), 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 Identity & Communications at Bank Austria), Walter Leiss (Secretary General of the Austrian Association of Municipalities), Johanna Rachinger (General 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).

2013 prize winners
The following initiatives and projects were awarded the 2013 Bank Austria Art Prize:

o Regional category:
Prize money of EUR 70,000

Festival Retz "Offene Grenzen" ("Open Borders") 2012 + 2013 (Lower Austria)

The Festival Retz "Offene Grenzen" ("Open Borders") was founded by the writer Peter Turrini and then Director of the Volksoper Vienna in 2005 as a festival for literature and chamber operas. In the past few years, the festival's programme has focused on Church operas and readings by authors and has expanded to include two concert series as part of a collaboration with the Znojmo Music Festival as well as the involvement of local artists. The cultural link with the neighbouring country of the Czech Republic is at the heart of the Festival Retz and finds its expression in cross-border events, readings by authors and concerts and bridges the gap between high culture and folk culture.

© Barbara Palffy // Prodigal Son, Retz 327 Chaundy, Johannsen, Chor

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

My RSO - Greatest Hits for Contemporary Orchestra (Vienna)

Dramatic reworkings of selected highlights in orchestral music from the 20th century form the starting point for the 24-part CD edition entitled "My RSO". They are presented by moderating team Elke Tschaikner (Radio Österreich 1) and Christian Scheib (Artistic Director of the Vienna RSO), who tell the tales behind the music on the CD through a subtly dramatic script. In an eclectic mix encompassing composers as diverse as Ravel, Cerha, Gershwin and Stockhausen, the apparently impossible is overcome and transformed into a series of exquisite listening adventures in a wide-ranging project that brings together the symphonic music of two centuries.. The RSO portfolio ranges from workshops and open rehearsals for young people and school children to the release of their entire research and editing work in a comprehensive CD edition which could be described as an "edutaining" lesson in the music of the 20th and 21st centuries for young and old.

Projekt Ingeborg (pingeb.org for short) (Carinthia)

With 120 bright yellow stickers in the public domain, Projekt Ingeborg invites people to download digital content such as music and e-books by local artists to increase their prominence. The content, which changes every week, is the work of musicians and authors who are either from Klagenfurt or make reference to the area and provides an insight into their creative output. The content is downloaded from a mobile website by placing a NFC compatible smartphone over the sticker or by scanning a QR code. In the first year of the project, the software behind the initiative was released under a free open-source licence and was installed in 500 places around the world. Now, the stickers are also encouraging people in Graz and Villach to engage with culture. The mobile website also has links to products on iTunes, Amazon and other similar websites, providing a fun way for users to experience digital culture on electronic devices.

© Projekt Ingeborg

o Cultural Journalism category
Prize money of EUR 8,000

Wolfgang Huber-Lang, The Austria Press Agency - APA

Wolfgang Huber-Lang was born in Vienna in 1963. After completing his studies in history and political science, he spent several years working as a dramaturg in theatres and with fringe groups in Austria and Switzerland. He has been working as a cultural journalist since 1992 and released his book "Spiel Trotzdem – Theater Phönix 1989-2000FF – Über 10 Jahre Theaterarbeit in Linz" ("The Play Must Go On – Theater Phönix 1989-2000 et seqq. – Over ten years in theatre in Linz") in 2000. Huber-Lang is currently the head of the Austria Press Agency's Department for Culture, Science and Education.

Roland Schlager, APA // Wolfgang Huber-Lang

o Special prize
Prize money of EUR 70,000 (in total)

paraflows - OPEN CULTURE

The paraflows festival tackles the red-hot topic of "OPEN CULTURE" in a comprehensive show, accompanied by a symposium and concert series. This comprises a plethora of heterogeneous concepts which are not simply restricted to digital culture: the open source movement, the open access approach and the fight against regressive copyright legislations are just a few of the themes explored. An example of one of the 15 artistic standpoints interpreted in the "white house" exhibition area at the festival is the resistance to the standardisation of seeds within the EU. The "Arche Noah" association featured as a collaborating partner and supplied rare varieties of seeds and plants for a specially designed pop-up garden. Alongside this, paraflows also implemented the "School of Data Austria" initiative to provide people with expertise in data processing in line with new requirements.

© Ralf Kliem // pop-up garden at the scene of all the action

"Kultur Heute" editorial, ORF III

ORF III's cultural editorial is recognised by the jury for its dedication to cultural exchange in the media. Since 26 October 2011, the special interest channel has risen to the challenge of portraying Austria's cultural diversity without lavish funding. ORF's public service remit is formed of expertly moderated interviews on culture and European politics, coverage of important cultural events as well as pieces on contemporary history in a slot that is well-deserved of attention and recognition.
• Peter Fässlacher, TV journalist at ORF III since 2010
• Ani Gülgün-Mayr, TV journalist at ORF III since 2011
• Philipp Maiwald, TV journalist at ORF III since 2012
• Maximilian Traxl, TV journalist at ORF III since 2012

Announcing the 2014 Bank Austria Art Prize
Parallel to awarding the 2013 Bank Austria Art Prize, we would like to invite all artists and creative minds to submit their projects for the 2014 Bank Austria Art Prize. The competition documents and all other information will be available to download from http://www.kunstpreis.bankaustria.at from 20 May.

Bank Austria Events & Sponsorship Bank Austria Press Office Austria
Katja Erlach, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 56839 Volker Moser, Tel.+43 (0) 50505 - 52854
e-mail:katja.erlach@unicreditgroup.at e-mail:volker.moser@unicreditgroup.at