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Grant for the Sustainability of Independent Art Initiatives 2017–2018

SAHA provided support for the operations of Loading, MARS, OJ, Orta Format, and Tasarım Bakkalı within the grant program established in order to support the Sustainability of Independent Art Initiatives.

The grant was initiated in order to facilitate the growth and development of independent non-profit art initiatives with an emphasis on ongoing public programming and activities.

Loading is a non-profit and independent art space based in Diyarbakır. It was established in 2017 with the motto ”A space is good...”. Rather than bringing together artists living and working in Diyarbakır under one umbrella solely, Loading aims to tackle through discussion some of the issues artists face while thinking, producing and developing new work, while also archiving contemporary art practices of Diyarbakır since the 2000’s and composing artist portfolios. Loading was established with the aim of strengthening artistic awareness and the interaction of Diyarbakır with the international arena.

MARS was initially established in 2000 by Pınar Öğrenci as an architectural research and restoration office, and transitioned in 2010 to MARSIstanbul, an artist initiative that serves as a hub for artists from Turkey and abroad to develop exhibition projects.   The aim to be a “space for art” was born with the first event hosted by MARS, the spring exhibition of artist Erim Bayri.  MARS aims to contribute to Istanbul’s art scene by sharing its space through inviting artists, art critics, curators and art audiences. 

OJ Art Space was founded in the Asmalı Mescit neighborhood in Taksim as an independent art space in 2016.  In it’s first year  OJ hosted 10 contemporary art exhibitions, and furthermore took on the form of an important network for artists, curators, and writers from different countries interested in pushing the boundaries of contemporary exhibition making. OJ focuses its efforts on creating unique spaces for artists from Turkey to concentrate on new methods of exhibiting while also conducting communication in order for participation in international media and publications. 

Orta Format
Orta Format is an online magazine publishing interviews, articles and projects on contemporary photography. It is a non-profit and an independent journal edited by Tevfik Çağrı Dural, Şener Soysal, and İpek Çınar. Orta Format is the result of a collective effort and its content forms around research relating to photography-art which is the foundation of its editors’ working practices. The magazine is open to research and contribution while aiming to be straight-forward and understandable by providing a refined interface unlike other familiar internet applications.

Tasarım Bakkalı
Tasarım Bakkalı is a 10m² independent art space, established with the motto of “accessible art and arcitecture”.  The space is located in the center of Yeldeğirmeni district, a neighborhood currently undergoing a period of change, transforming socially and culturally. Since establishment in April 2015, Tasarım Bakkalı has functioned as an open display place for many artists and designers. While exhibiting the works of artists established within the Turkish art scene, Tasarım Bakkalı has also provided exhibition opportunities for talented younger artists and architects. Widening its portfolio with international artists as a part of the artist-in-residence program which started in 2017, Tasarım Bakkalı produces events such as monthly exhibitions, artist talks and performances.

SAHA Open Call (Application Deadline: Passed)

Application Documents*:
- Letter of intent (600 word max.), 
- Short summary/pitch abstract on the mission and vision of the Independent Art Initiative (600 word max.),
- Short summary/pitch abstract on the recent activities of the Independent Art Initiative (covering the activities of a maximum of two years),
- 2 images of the venue and 6 images related to the activities of the Initiative,
- The foreseen annual activity report and calender (2017–2018),
- A forecast of the annual budget, and a list of sponsors/supporters of the organization (if any),
- Biography of founder/s of the Independent Art Initiative,
- Contact information.

Independent Art Initiatives that have previously received this grant and wish to apply again are requested to kindly contact SAHA in order to obtain further documentation.

Application criteria:
- Non-profit and independent initiatives with a permanent space that run regular public programmes are eligible to apply. Deadline for Applications: 6 October 2017 Friday, 17.00
Announcement of the results: 30 October 2017 Please send your application via e-mail to and attach all related documents in PDF format as a file (documents should not exceed 7 MB in total).