Founding story

From ballet stage to European Culture Forum

Graduation speeches tend to be the moment when luminaries pass on their wisdom to the next generation. “For the past 10 years you’ve learned the rules, in the next 10 years you will learn how to break them”, we were told when I graduated from English National Ballet School in 2002. This could not be further from the truth! For the next 10 years, I applied those rules, working myself up the ranks in ballet companies. After a long time, I started to break them in unexpected ways. University enabled me to take a bird’s eye view on our world and gradually something dawned on me: there was so much potential and so much need for artists to help overcome the challenges we face in our world today. I just had to figure out how to do it! Then I was up for Graduation again. I was told: “Success does not mean raising to the top; it means changing the world”, and, “don’t settle for plan B, the safe plan, unless you have tried plan A, even if it might require a miracle”. So the first thing I did post graduation in June 2013 was write a speech I intended to give at the European Culture Forum, which is organized by the European Commission every two years. Then a miracle happened. A few months later I found myself heading to Brussels to speak up about what had occupied my mind for years and to present an idea — the idea for THIS program.

-Gloria Benedikt

Building a base

The idea was immediately picked up by Vasileios Lapodis Laopodis, President and Founder of CULTUREPOLIS, former official of the European Commission. The following day they started sketching the first draft for what now has become The Citizen Artist Incubator.

That day, Gloria also saw an other artist on stage at the Forum: the composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven. Listening to his vision and watching an inspiring video of his work, which was screened there, she realized that they were thinking along the same lines.

Two weeks later Merlijn and Gloria sat down and decided to join forces to develop and obtain funding for the Citizen Artist Incubator. Additionally, they have also worked together to build support for citizen artists for the past 2 years. HERE you can see what they have been up to.

Copyright Citizen Artist Incubator 2016