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TBA21-Academy Sets Up Ocean Academy Fund To Save The Seas

Past few days saw a string of events related to artists and the environment. Olafur Eliasson was made the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Development, artists engaged in protests against climate change, and Art 2030 exhibited the work of Jeppe Hein related to environmentalism. Now, TBA21-Academy joined the fray by setting up an Ocean Academy Fund to save the oceans.

Since its inception in 2011, the transdisciplinary enterprise TBA21-Academy (also known as ‘the Academy’) has sponsored artists that seek to have an impact on other disciplines – including the environment. The latest step in this endeavour is the Ocean Academy Fund. Managed by Fondation Philanthropia, the fund seeks to raise money for the causes the Academy has historically endorsed. Markus Reymann, director of TBA21-Academy, said this about the initiative:

“As has become clear, especially today, we need a different kind of engagement. We have the commitment of the TBA21 Foundation for infrastructure, overhead, and administration. Now we want to invite people into projects without them feeling like they need to pay for our organization. The money will go to research and outreach.”

TBA21-Academy, which was co-founded by the art collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, has a long history of endorsing artists and artworks for greater causes. A long-list of its participants includes names like Joan Jonas, Claudia Comte, John Akomfrah and Chus Martinez.  TBA21-Academy also employed a variety of models for helping artists and arts through its funds. For instance, artist Joan Jonas was endorsed for a 3-year trip across the world while making art. The Academy also created a PhD program in arts with the Max Planck Institute, Germany. Current and upcoming projects include Ocean Space and Ocean Archive (an online repository of all such artworks).


TBA21-Academy became just the latest art organization to take a bolder step in the debate on climate change. The issue, which has been the hot topic for the past few weeks across the globe, as especially enticed artists into making a statement. We can see this trend continuing in the near future as more artists and organizations choose to take a firm stand on the issue of climate change.

Edit: Previous versions of this story indicated the Ocean Academy Fund was established by TBA21 Foundation. It was set up by TBA21-Academy.