European Cultural Center/ Global Art Foundation

A reader posted “I’ve been contacted by the European Cultural Center/ Global Art Foundation to exhibit during Venice Biennale. They asked for a big “sponsorship” for wall space.
The place they exhibit at seemed great (I’m Italian and know Venice quite well) and the list of their sponsors too. I was in doubt wether to search for sponsorship to afford exhibiting with them but I thought I might as well ask first. I’m very new to the art world, maybe other artists have had experience with them.
Thank you so much”

Any other feedback?


  • Anonymous

    I work as a visual artist and have been getting emails from the ECC for years now. Both for the architecture and the art Biennale. They never explain why they ask me or how they found me. It seems a generic email, copy-paste, that is sent around to many people. There is no actual curating going on.

    I did see the building from the outside and the 100-s of ugly logo flags but no one that was showing art at the actual biennale or was there at the VIP openings was going to the ECC. It is simply a site on location in Venice that seems to get around by its approximation to the actual biennale. Could be what you want, could be a waste of time. But then again, there are so many artworlds and some artists indeed pay to show their work or do it for free, but most professional artists don’t actually pay to show and actually *get* paid for working.

    There are of course cool artist-run spaces that ask for money or ask for contributions as they aren’t institutes themselves, and it’s cool to do these things and find funding at national art bodies. But this is because the artist-run spaces themselves aren’t like profit-oriented spaces. What the ECC is baffles me, and I do not know about their intentions, but it’s definitely a strange one on the scene and I think reputation amongst professional artists means a lot, more than blogs and websites that simply copy-paste the info ECC probably emailed them without knowing the legitimacy.

  • Anonymous

    I was a bit disturbed by the extremely uneven quality of artists that seemed to be asked to exhibit, and that have exhibited in the past. What is the selection criteria? Why aren’t more reputable galleries participating if they are asking for so much money? It seems like they want a contribution that approximates that of the actual Venice Biennale? Where does that money go?

  • Anonymous

    I was contacted in 2017, and got the impression that they contacted quite a large number of artists. Even my friend in another country was contacted with an almost identical message, begging the question of how many people do they actually invite? It certainly seemed like their strategy might be to invite as many artists as possible and see who can raise their very large exhibition fee. The curator didn’t even mention how they found my work, or what they thought was particularly interesting about it. There were so many unanswered questions. I’m not sure what people are talking about the organization being professional. I didn’t find them very professional at all, as many things were not explained, and there was a general sense that they were in need of money. I didn’t end up pursuing the opportunity because so many things were unclear, and I had read so many things online that raised red flags.

  • Anonymous

    Bonjour, I am from France and have been contacted by this organization. They have given me a letter of acceptance and asked for large funds, as it seems many of you have. I am curious because this is not so normal in France. It seems they are also not supporting in these usual ways? There is no stipend for shipping? Are there any artists that received any of the normal forms of support or stipends at all?

  • Anonymous

    Complete scam!!! 15000 Euro paid by an artist is a scam, you idiots!

    All positive things here are fake, and left by the scammers. They will damage your work and you will get nothing out of it but a 15000 Euro Vacation. Buy a car instead!!

    If you give these people money you are a sucker.

  • Anonymous

    I was first contacted in 2019 with a request for a specific piece. With Covid delays and availability conflicts my participation and the request were delayed. I was contacted once again this year for the same piece. Everyone has been professional in the contacts and follow up. I was also very concerned about the fees. Both in 2019 and now for the 2022 biennale I have tried to contact many people to be sure I am right to follow through. I have corresponded with one artist who did participate and thought the experience was exceptionally good.

    Now, as I try to raise money, I am tossed back and forth between the very positive and helpful people and the ones who are sure it must be illegitimate. It is a very difficult experience.

    I would be grateful to hear from more people who have participated, with their comments. It would also be great to hear from some sponsors. Did they feel they made a good investment?

    • Anonymous

      Did you research what other events calling themselves biennials do in terms of support for artists? A quick google search will provide you with some information about that, and I think you will find this is a bit different.

    • Anonymous

      As a curator based in Venice, I must strongly advise you against participating. The whole organization is a cash cow, and an absolute scam with a range, culty organization. It is not beneficial to be shown, or even associated with the organization as all professionals within Venice know that (sorry for this, I haven’t seen your work and am sure it is great) there is no consistent quality in the work that is shown but that they make a point of contacting as many artists as possible, in particular, younger/emerging/amateur who will not see the red flags. Sorry to be blunt, but stay away, if showing there, no one else in the city will take you seriously. Any organization even remotely professional would never ask the participating artists to pay! The very notion is insane, who has to pay for working?

  • Lisa

    I exhibited with them in 2017, the exhibition is top-notch and the catalog is beautiful. Unfortunately when they shipped my artworks back to the states (shipping cost $1200).
    All of my work was damaged beyond repair as there was not sufficient packing materials to protect my work. I have lost another $4,000 for the large Dibond prints as they can never be exhibited or sold. I will never exhibit internationally again a very expensive and hard lesson.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that they ask vulnerable emerging artists are t probably already in fear about money and the lack of opportunities for 15 000 euro and not the same for the big named established artists is an outrage. Its like preying on the weak. They are teasing them with the shiny idea of being part of he Venice biennale. It is very clear they have no respect for emerging artists and actually don’t really understand art. If they did and truly loved it they wouldn’t do such a thing to artists. Plus has any one seen the videos? Its just a bunch of young attractive women talking and representing the foundation. Seems suspicious to me seeing as most of that the art world is run by men.

  • Martin Cho

    I am also making my research very careful. No bad comments, no bad reviews???
    What I have noticed is that the work from that big names is from their own collections, not artists them selfs.
    And I am very curious to know, are they still in the official program of the biennale. They made one big show 2003/5
    only with the big names they are always mentioning the very beginning and were part of the official biennale program, after that I don’t know.
    Every time I try to ask a famous curator or artist, they never give me a clear answer.
    so what is this???

  • anonymous

    I am exhibiting with them this year and my experience to date has been very positive. As has been mentioned in this thread, the GAA and the exhibition itself are included in biennale promotional materials and advertised widely throughout Venice. In addition, they also hosted two packed openings, including a press opening. It is true that shipping and carnet fees to Venice are expensive, so it is preferable to have gallery support or a grant to defray costs. My work was partially funded by GAA/the European Cultural Center so my expenses were not exorbitant. While it is true that GAA requests support to defray their installation and production costs (their catalogue is a decent publication), I’ve exhibited in many top university galleries and commercial galleries across Canada, the US, Europe and Asia (not juried shows, rather curated and one or two-person shows) and many do precisely the same. Some cover all aspects of promotion and installation themselves and some do not. I also think it is important to distinguish between commercial galleries and the ways in which they operate at fairs and other kinds of exhibition opportunities, which insert the artist’s work into the larger sphere of contemporary discourse. All that seek to defray exhibition costs are not scams and each situation should be carefully weighed in relation to the ultimate benefit to the artist.

    • Anonymous

      Hi there! I got contacted to exhibit with them next year, and I just thought your response was very informative and interesting. Do you mind talking a little bit about your experience in 2018 to me? I would love to hear about it!

  • Anonymous

    I joined last year’s exhibition and the gallery representing me paid for it. All in all, I didn’t feel it was well curated, prestigious or worth the money. It is certainly a great record to have on a CV, especially when talking to collectors, but that’s about it.

  • artist

    Hello there,
    I was contacted from GAA as well to exhibit next year during the venice Biennale. Some of the names are huge, and the rest has to pay. But of course this is not money that can come out our pockets, so the only opportunity is to make a good research.

  • James Alfred Friesen

    I have also been contacted recently for my architecural photography. Not sure how they “noticed” my work in western Canada, but I’ve had a few pics in a few european web articles. But nothing i thought was an impressive example of my skill. I actually bothered responding though, and requested they send the 500-page catalogue from last year, while i consider their offer, and they said they would! Still thinking about how I’d get my investment back, and why they choose such open-to-the-point-of-meaningless themes…

  • Julie

    I have just been contacted as well by GAA, did the two people above end up doing it last year? It seems crazy one sculpture for 10-15000 euros? Not including shipping or travel? Please respond if you have any other info about it. Thank you!

  • anonymous

    This group is doing a fantastic job at bringing artists together from all over the world to explore specific themes. Some very famous artists and well known artists exhibit with them as well as less well known artists. They are very involved with and approved by the Venice Biennale committee, put on symposiums and performance events during the Biennale and during the year and on all the calendars. They advertise heavily (I saw a huge ad at the airport) and attract articles in major publications for some of the individual artists’ exhibitions. These exhibitions attract visitors from all over the world and the artists have great exposure. They do not take commissions for art sales, but refer interested buyers directly to the artist.
    I did exhibit with them and feel it was an honor to be there. This group is very professional, kind and courteous, as well as very intelligent. Venice is an incredible venue with art exhibits all over the city during the Biennale. The cost is high as well as the cost of shipping the artwork and other issues involved. An artist must be motivated to do this and perhaps somewhat entrepreneurial.
    Some artists are represented by a gallery who pays the expenses, while some artists find funding in the form of grants or corporate sponsorships. It is definitely a different experience than showing at a gallery in the United States.

    • samantha talbot-kelly

      Re: your EUropean Cultural center art experience written on Brainard Carey’s Praxis art site.

      Hi – I have been invited this year and I am wondering whether I invest the time to gather corporate sponsors to fund my work. I am not going to pay out of pocket. My thinking is the sponsors will be credited and my art is the catalyst to acknowledge a cause I am concerned about. They knew my work, they found me off an International sculpture public site. I can’t imagine the Venice Biennale would allow ECC a non-profit to get away with fraudulent behavior if they weren’t genuine or legitimate. Do you?
      What’s the downside of going? Raising funds ?
      Thanks for your time,
      Sam TK

  • tim roepe

    Yes very simple:
    You were contacted; I presume, without ever showing anyone your work. You were asked for money; rent space to pay for a wall, which is money towards paying rent in a tent space, which the person you rent from must profit.
    This is a standard “pick up ” line which plays on your vulnerability and ignorance of this type of business model.
    You are baited not with actually being in the Biennale, but “during” . To use that as some sort of advantage for you is quite obviously a red flag. Use of the word “Global” is another red flag.
    You would be setting yourself up for a monetary loss and some serious disappointment. The added cost of shipping work, and staying somewhere which would be wise during the show is money you could put towards more effective ways of getting known and work sold.

    If you have any doubts about their credibility, you should find an artist who showed with them and hear what they have to say.
    The venue should be able to demonstrate artists who have shown and works they have put into serious collections.

    This is the standard for dealing with any of these type of venues.
    The entire fair scene is run by people with little or no credentials in the field of art, who are passing themselves as credentials and grabbing money from whatever direction they can; artist, or buyer,

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Tim. The only reason why I’m considering this is because they actually have the Venice biennale badge on their sites and I’ve watched the previous exhibitions and seemed legit.
      They also have exhibited during the architecture biennale this year and being an architect I could evaluate the quality of the works shown and they were good.
      My opinion is that they ask emerging artists for money to pay the exhibition of affirmed artists too. Is it something that can happen?

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