Triodos Bank’s Executive Board provides a perspective on the wider world it operates in, its impact and activity in 2016 and its prospects for the future.
Arts and culture
During 2016 Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management finance helped make it possible for 13.7 million visitors (2015: 14.3 million) to enjoy cultural events including cinema, theatres and museums across Europe, as a result of its lending and investments activity to cultural institutions. This means that there were the equivalent of 21 cultural experiences per Triodos Bank customer.
Triodos Bank and Triodos Investment Management finance helped approximately 3,100 artists and creative companies active in the cultural sector (2015: 3,000) as well as financing a number of organisations providing affordable spaces for cultural activities such as workshops and music courses, attracting around 90,000 people.
New productions in 2016 from the film and media sector financed by Triodos Bank in Spain were seen by over 9.7 million people.
Our vision and activities
Percentage of our loans and investments to the arts and culture sector
Loans and investments by subsector
Our vision on arts and culture
Arts and culture play an important role in the personal development of individuals and the cohesion of society as a whole. Creative expression provides new perspectives, inspires and connects people.
Arts as a catalyst for personal and community development
Arts and culture should contribute to personal development and a vibrant civil society. They can inspire and motivate change.
The cultural sector is dynamic and versatile. Cultural entrepreneurship is booming. Many institutions are wholly or partly commercial and target a wide and diverse audience. Triodos Bank fits in to the dynamics of a sector with this entrepreneurial focus and finances innovative cultural entrepreneurs to help increase its impact.
Based on its long-standing commitment to art and culture, Triodos Bank has a leading position in the sector. It develops innovative finance instruments such as guarantee funds. To do this we work together with governments, industry associations and consultants.
A broad church
We focus on cultural initiatives, regardless of their size, that focus on different activities such as – to use a real example – a stage, museum and a restaurant in one company.
Alongside this lending, we have a fund (Triodos Cultuurfonds) for Dutch clients. Launched in 2006, the Fund has pioneered arts and culture finance, helping to make the sector less dependent on subsidies, grants and charity by encouraging cultural entrepreneurship.
Triodos Bank will focus in the future on strengthening local networks and local cultural entrepreneurship.
The benefits to society of the Arts
‘Connection’ is central to our vision in the cultural sector. Triodos Bank finances artists and cultural institutions that bridge, and connect, with society.
This usually involves a combination of high artistic quality and broad accessibility. Connecting with the community is done in many ways: by reaching broad audiences, and by dealing with other parties, such as sponsors, businesses, social institutions and banks. In addition, there is a connection with amateur practitioners who are active in the local area and contribute to social cohesion.
For these reasons, and to provide a richer picture of what financing the arts and culture sector means in practice, we publish the number of people reached at venues financed by Triodos Bank. This is not intended to be the last word on impact in the cultural sector. Indeed qualitative evidence of impact, illustrated through the case studies published here, offer a better picture of the difference Triodos Bank makes. A single, focused arts project may also have a profound impact on a smaller group of individuals rather than a more superficial, popular artistic work on a much larger audience. Nevertheless, we hope the combined ways we communicate impact provides an increasingly rich picture of the impact of our activities.
Herman van Veen Arts Center
What was the challenge for this project?
The Herman van Veen Arts Centre in Soest in The Netherlerlands is situated on an old estate. This arts and culture centre was established in 2012 and is an initiative of Dutch artist and performer Herman van Veen and his long-time guitarist, Edith Leerkens.
Culture and nature come together here and merge. For example, the listed mansion on the estate exhibits paintings by Herman van Veen, there are nature activities for children and adults in a freely accessible park, and an old field barn is home to a small theatre. The venue has 80 seats and offers a platform for young artists who want to combine theatre, music and dance.
How is the approach of the project innovative?
No tickets are for sale for performances in the Arts Centre’s theatre; at least, not in advance. Anyone who wants to attend a performance can simply drop by. And this is how people get to know the estate and discover what other activities are on offer, such as exhibitions.
This innovative concept makes the Arts Centre a personal experience. It does not focus on the anonymous ‘theatre consumer’ who buys tickets online, but on people who are receptive to surprises and encounters. People who wish to support the Arts Centre can become a friend and stay connected for a longer time.
What impact does Triodos Bank have on this project?
The relationship between Triodos Bank and the Arts Centre goes back several years already. Right from the centre’s start, the bank has been in discussions about the funding and running of the estate. And in 2016, the bank provided a mortgage to acquire the old mansion, a national monument.
In this, Triodos Bank and the Triodos Cultural Fund – each of which provided half of the funding – joined forces with the Dutch national restoration Fund (Nationaal Restauratiefonds). The Fund is responsible for financing the restoration of the building, which houses exhibition, office and work space. Following restoration in 2017, it will also serve as a venue for receptions, dinners and business meetings.
What impact does the project have on the sector?
The Arts Centre offers young, artistic talent an opportunity and, in this way, contributes to the further development of the cultural sector. The focus is specifically on artists who combine different genres, which fits in with the versatility of Herman van Veen himself.
The centre also demonstrates the added value of organising cultural events at a location characterised by nature. Indoors and outdoors are combined. The tranquillity of nature outside inspires the shows and other activities inside. In addition, theatre performances are also staged partly outdoors.
What impact does the project have on society?
The Herman van Veen Arts Centre inspires, and in many ways. It is a beautiful place where exciting things happen. It has a specific focus on children. For example, there are treasure hunts through the woods on the estate. And it is home to the little house of Alfred J. Kwak: the little duckling that gained worldwide fame partly through a 52-part television series.
The attention on children is deliberate. Herman van Veen is a champion of children’s rights and patron of the Lot’s Foundation, which promotes children’s rights across the globe.
How does the project share the vision of Triodos Bank?
Triodos Bank contributes towards a society with quality of life. The Herman van Veen Arts Centre is doing the same in many different ways; through the cultural activities staged there, but also through the centre’s contribution to the conservation and development of nature’s values.
The centre is also breathing new life into the old mansion on the estate. The centre, the bank and the Nationaal Restauratiefonds together make it possible to preserve this national monument of significant cultural and historical value.
The Curzon Clevedon Community Centre for the Arts
What challenge was the inspiration for your project?
A substantial part of the building that houses the cinema was used for storage, office space and various light workshop uses but yielded (next to) zero income for the charity. We needed to find an alternative use for this difficult space that would not only secure the long-term future of the Curzon, but would also help to enhance Clevedon’s rather depleted town centre by offering a greater community experience than the single screen cinema alone.
What was your innovation that addresses this problem?
The opportunity arose to introduce a substantial food and drink offer at the Curzon via a capital redevelopment, with a named high profile provider. This created a strategic opportunity to undertake joint marketing of the combined leisure/night out experience in an entirely new way, providing an evening out that offered the opportunity to mix great films and arts entertainment with superb food in a unique venue (‘Teatro Lounge’). The town is now able to boast a venue that not only offers its community a cinema and cafe, but communal spaces for all ages to meet, network, hold workshops, exhibitions, music events and talks.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?
With the support of Triodos Bank we are now looking at a secure future. Since the opening of Teatro Lounge, we have a new found freedom to innovate and develop programme ideas and there is not constant pressure to increase ticket prices, which is much appreciated locally.
What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?
We are fortunate to be able to survive as a single-screen, independent cinema in these times. Many other old cinemas have been bought out by bigger companies and don’t have the freedom to programme films or community events as they would like. The Curzon remains as a rare example of the cinema still offering the primary leisure option for the people of the town, as it was in the 1920s.
What impact has your business had on the community?
The Curzon is well-loved and the people of Clevedon are proud of its unique heritage and they are delighted to see the business doing well now. As well as getting stopped in the street to be congratulated for the improvement to the cinema, we are getting terrific reviews.
In addition to our regular film programme, we offer outreach screenings in residential homes; we work with the local sixth form to run an annual film competition for under-18s in North Somerset; we offer guided tours of the cinema; we run special silent film events; the Christie Organ Experience; computer coding workshops; and also animation and craft workshops for children.
How does Triodos Bank share your vision?
We believe that Triodos Bank really does understand the value of culture to a community. Although this value seems intangible, it is demonstrated to us every time a customer thanks our staff and volunteers for a great night out.
We define cultural institutions as museums, theatres, cinemas, music venues, libraries and art galleries. Stores like bookshops are excluded.
We define artists as individual people creating art, authors, individual film makers, etc.
We define creative companies as film makers, TV-producers, theatre groups, orchestras, etc. Distributers of creative work are excluded.
The number of people reached via affordable spaces can be either tenants that rent a space for their own use, or can be participants to a workshop or other cultural activity.
New film and media productions are only taken into account in the year of release and only one representative episode from a TV series is counted.
The number of visitors to cultural events and the number of tenants and participants are provided by institutions Triodos Bank and its investment funds finances.
The number of spectators of the film and media sector are sourced from the Spanish Cultural Ministry.
In our calculations we only measure the projects with a direct relationship to our finance or investment. We include 100% of the impact when we co-finance a project. If it is not possible to record 100% of the data required, we use conservative estimates.
The ‘Impact per customer’ calculations used throughout the annual report are based on a total of 652,000 customers at the end of 2016.