Art Education – Inter-Culturally
In 2022 we started a three-year exchange project for future art teachers. Each year, three Swiss universities and one partner university in the South Caucasus are sending students and lecturers to participate in the project. In spring 2022, the exchange took place between Armenia and Switzerland and in September 2022 and January 2023 between Georgia and Switzerland. At the moment we are preparing the third part of the project, which will take us to Armenia again in October 2023.
How is art taught in public schools in the South Caucasus? What are the educational goals of the curriculum there? And what do these look like in different Swiss cantons? How do the – sometimes implicit – values and orientations of the respective societies flow into school teaching? What is the understanding of art in the different countries’ approaches to teaching? The participants are able to explore such questions in joint practical work.

CAS Further Education course Arts and International Cooperation
CAS Arts and International Cooperation brings together professionals in arts practice, peace building activists, project managers from international organisations. Through theoretical concepts and practical exercises you will engage in joint discussions and exchange with experienced lecturers. A central element of the course is a study trip to actual art projects in fragile contexts.

Teachers’ Training
Schools in the border villages of Armenia affected by the war are facing severe teacher shortages. Against this background, an exchange of ideas between artasfoundation and the Armenian State Pedagogical University – the only institution in Armenia responsible institution responsible for teacher training in the country – has resulted in the offer of a futher education training for practicing art teachers from peripheral regions of Armenia. It is the first of its kind in the country. In the summer and fall of 2022, the course was held for the first time with 37 art teachers from the border regions. Due to the great demand, the project is being continued this year. The first workshop of this second edition took place in August 2023, the second follows at the beginning of November.

Call for Donations for Armenia!

As a consequence of the Azerbaijani military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, almost 100,000 people had to leave their homes in the past few days. artasfoundation does not provide emergency aid. But in exchange with artists in Armenia, we are creating a space in which children and young displaced people will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of artistic and social activities through which they can regain control over their own lives, imagine their future and communicate their emotions. Support us and donate to this venture now!

INVITATION to the Artas Event

artasfoundation community meeting
Saturday, 11. November 2023 at 15.00 h in the Kunsthalle Zurich

artasfoundation is in the middle of a transformation process towards a more broadly based, international structure. The operational responsibility for our work is distributed among a group of several people in Switzerland and in our project areas. We would like to tell you about our projects and offer you the opportunity to get to know everyone involved personally. That's why we invite you to an exchange on Saturday 11. November at the Kunsthalle Zurich, where the exhibition As in a Melody or a Bird's Nest by the Georgian artist Elene Chantladze, with whom our foundation has a very personal story, will be shown. We also receive a tour from Otto Bonnen, curator of the exhibition, followed by an aperitif. Please, register by e-mail.


Artists and Art Anitiatives in Conflict-Affected Regions

Discussion Event in Zurich
Wednesday, 18. October, 19 h
Kulturhaus Helferei
Kirchgasse 13, CH-8001 Zurich
sign up

We present the work of our foundation and discuss with the audience the possibilities and limits of art in times of acute violence. You are cordially invited! Free admission.

Jour Fixe

artasfoundation regularly invites you to the Jour Fixe in Zurich to discuss ongoing projects as well as issues related to the work of the foundation or political developments in the partner countries. 

It's a hybrid event, the discussion is held in English. If you wish to be regularly informed about the agenda each month, please sign up for our Jour Fixe invitation list here.


From the current circular

What can contributing to peaceful coexistence through art in conflict regions mean in concrete terms in the war and crisis in Eastern Europe? The attack by Russian troops on Ukraine and the resulting dire war also challenges the political settlements in the Caucasus. In Armenia and Georgia, where we were active with projects this autumn, the situation is also far from stable as fighting flared up again between Armenia and Azerbaijan in September. In the streets of Tbilisi, Yerevan or Gyumri, we observe countless young people who have arrived from Russia. They look bewildered, staring at their mobile phones or computers in cafés. In Armenia, the locals hardly believe what they see: ‘Instead of the usual imperial hubris, we now see claimants: Russians queue from 5 AM for naturalisation in Armenia!’ In Georgia, Ukrainian flags are everywhere and trust in the government is low, just like in Armenia.

For our projects in Armenia, the resurgence of border clashes has meant daily weighing: The planned workshops take place in safe locations, but the participants come from the frontier region with Azerbaijan. Was it quiet in their villages in the last few days? Will they be open to artistic activity in such tense circumstances? Will the parents of participants accept to send their children to a workshop in a safer place or will they prefer to keep the family united at home? Will we be able to provide a glimmer of hope for young people at such a sombre time? We have gained experience with art initiatives post-conflict and to prevent violence. But what if violence is imminent or, in some cases, already underway? Deciding whether an art initiative makes sense here is a tricky balancing act. Opting to cancel, postpone or try amounts to walking a tightrope. This remains true even though we can rely on a good local network and trusted people.

So far, our decisions have paid off: We postponed one workshop and held three others (see the reports below). With very few exceptions, all registered participants took part in our programmes and resolutely engaged in artistic work. In the process, joy, laughter and togetherness emerged in spite of the worrisome climate. However, the question remains: Where to draw the line? Where can art nurture and where shall it leave fear and survival take precedence? Grappling with this conundrum has become our daily routine!

1artasfoundation would like to underline that its use of names and titles particularly in regards to conflict regions should not be understood as implying any form of recognition or non-recognition by the foundation or as having any other political connotation whatsoever.