Communicating to create a climate of mutual trust


Nestlé S.A.'s long commitment to the arts was specifically recognized in 1991 via the creation of the Fondation Nestlé pour l'Art to mark the company's 125th anniversary.

The Foundation’s mission is to support contemporary creative work by young artists in Switzerland. Operating in a field different from but complementary to that of the founding company, being audacious, unlocking potential, encouraging a new approach and striving for excellence: these exciting challenges are just as relevant today as they were at the Foundation’s outset.

Area of activity

The Foundation currently receives some 600 applications each year in its three areas of activity: visual arts, music, and performing arts. However, the boundaries between these different areas are now beginning to evolve, and the Foundation’s objective is to support artistic work that represents more than the sum of its parts and is likely to help awaken curiosity that goes beyond the strict limits of each genre’s preferred field.

Since its creation, the number of requests received by the Fondation Nestlé pour l’Art has grown exponentially – proof that it is widely stirring up expectations among creators of projects throughout Switzerland. Conscious of this responsibility, the Foundation has set out a clearly defined support policy and put in place a transparent communication system.

Forms of support

In its 23 years of activity, the Foundation has provided financial help as well as measures aimed at creating “added value” to over 2,000 projects. This number may appear modest compared with the very large number of requests submitted. This is due to the Foundation’s highly selective approach and specific choices along clearly defined and transparent lines, as well as a desire to be able to dedicate enough time to each project supported, which requires availability and attention.

The Fondation Nestlé pour l’Art has put in place a two-tier support system. On the one hand, it provides one-off help (see the ´Support´ section for more details), to projects developed by young artists who demonstrate that they are seeking new forms of expression and managing the risks they take. The Foundation’s support is based on a project having clearly stated objectives rather than being able to guarantee success.

On the other hand, the Foundation closely follows the development of artists and institutions to whom it has provided one-off support in the past. To some of these, it proposes a partnership (see the ´Partnership´ section for more details), providing creative and developmental freedom over a longer period of time.


Visual Arts

Providing long-term support for exhibition spaces in Switzerland

The Foundation redesigns its support policy every three years based on a careful evaluation of the needs of a continually evolving art world and a critical analysis of its own work in order to verify its relevance.

Faced with a dramatic increase in demand for support for exhibition projects, often of a very high artistic standard, as well as with the impossibility of making coherent and transparent choices, in late 2010 the Fondation Nestlé pour l'Art decided – with effect from January 2011 – to focus its support in the realm of the visual arts in the form of two-year renewable partnerships. Partnerships are arranged only on the initiative of the Foundation. Applications will not be considered.

Through this long-term approach, the Foundation aims to support the work of exhibition spaces and museums which actively promote contemporary art. The Foundation is particularly interested in the work of venues outside traditional hubs.

These public spaces share a commitment to contemporary art and a capacity to offer innovative mediation concepts and discover emerging talent.

The exhibition spaces and museums that are currently benefiting or have previously benefited from these partnerships can be found in the ´Partnerships´ section of this website.

  • The Foundation does not accept applications in the domain of the visual arts.


Facilitating a dialogue of the arts

Within the field of music, the Fondation Nestlé pour l'Art supports projects that are born out of a dialogue between different artistic domains and that enrich cultural life in Switzerland through innovative ideas. Of particular interest to the Foundation is artistic work in the field of contemporary classical music and in the related exploration of links between different domains that allow new forms of artistic expression to emerge. In our evaluation of projects, we particularly look at the mediation of content within the project and the embedding of the project as a coherent part of a work process.

The Fondation Nestlé pour l'Art attaches great importance to engaging in exchange and dialogue with artists. To ensure the most satisfactory assessment of a project explained in writing, the Foundation may arrange to meet with project authors. Projects supported by the Foundation benefit from on-going support and may be the subject of a shared analysis and assessment.

Professional ensembles and groups may send applications for support to the Foundation as soon as the venue and dates of an artistic event are confirmed.

The Foundation does NOT lend support to:

  • CD recordings
  • concerts with a classical repertoire
  • concerts of popular music
  • foreign tours
  • the purchase or provision of instruments

Performing Arts

Supporting research into experimental forms of expression

Together with the visual arts and music, the performing arts, in each of their contemporary forms of expression, represent an area extensively supported by the Fondation Nestlé pour l'Art.

With a view to generating additional value beyond the financial support of an artistic project, in April 2004 the Foundation set up a process to provide expertise and other non-financial support to inexperienced young artists who display interesting potential. The Foundation is equally interested in projects from more established artists who are at a defining turning point in their artistic development. This means that the Foundation may provide support for the first or second production of a young dance troupe just as well as for research into experimental theatre forms by experienced theatrical artists, with the main focus always on fostering exchange and collaboration between artists active in other fields, such as the visual arts and music.

The Foundation provides financial support as a one-off contribution and selects projects on the basis of dossiers. To evaluate the projects, the Foundation retains the right to gather important information beyond the materials initially provided in the application.
Applications with all supporting files must be received by the Foundation six months prior to the creation date.

The Foundation DOES NOT consider:

  • projects by established artists
  • productions of amateur performances
  • projects realized in an academic context
  • repeat performances
  • tours in Switzerland and/or abroad
  • projects created abroad
  • workshops


In addition to the specific limitations set out in the sections covering the three supported areas, the Foundation:

  • Does not finance major events. The Foundation is a patron of the arts and not a sponsor for commercial activities.
  • Does not cover the costs of basic art training (scholarships or study trips abroad) or thesis projects.
  • Does not finance scientific research or publications, seminars, conferences or round table discussions.
  • Does not become a member of patronage associations or committees. Cooperation with other foundations may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It should also be noted that the Foundation:

  • Does not grant emergency subsidies or cover deficits already incurred.
  • Does not automatically agree to renew previously approved grants.
  • Does not own an art collection or make acquisitions.

Geographical area

The Foundation operates throughout Switzerland and grants support to Swiss individuals, associations and institutions and foreign artists involved in creative projects or communication activities that contribute to enhancing the cultural life of the country.


The application must include the applicant's personal data as well as the following information and documents:

  • a clear and detailed description of the project, covering its concept and its aims;
  • illustrations;
  • video- und audio links;
  • biographical and bibliographic data concerning the individuals involved in the project;
  • a list of the major performances or exhibitions the individual or group applying has taken part in;
  • press cuttings, references and any awards;
  • a detailed budget and finance plan for the project.


Applications must be submitted at least FOUR months before the date of the event or project.

It is important to take into account the time required for printing, as projects subsidized by the Foundation must include the Foundation's logo or mention the name of the Foundation