Important visual arts associations and organisations in Germany

Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Deutschen Kunstvereine

The Association of German Art Associations (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Deutschen Kunstvereine (ADKV)) represents a large and growing number of Kunstvereine across Germany that present and support contemporary art. The ADKV sees its mission as a catalyst and a mediator working at the conjunction of culture, education, media and politics. Service: representation of political interest, information and advice for its members, publications, joined public relations, addresses. 

Focus: network, cultural politics, training, visual arts

Akademie der Künste

As an important art institution with a long tradition, about 500 artists of all disciplines from around the world join the Akademie der Künste (AdK) in Berlin. Among others it counsels the Federal Government as regards arts and culture. Aims: awards, exhibitions, readings, concerts and discussions, documentation and archiving. 

Focus: cultural policies, support, network

Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler

The Federal Association of Visual Artists (Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler (BBK)) is the professional representation of free-lance visual artists in Germany. The BBK is in contact with all political parties, ministries and authorities and aims at improving social and legal working conditions of artists. Service: information for its members regarding living and working as an artist, projects, addresses, state and regional associations.

Focus: working conditions and cultural politics, representation of interest, training, visual arts

Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien

The Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien (BVDG) represents the interests of gallery owners and art dealers to political bodies, media and the public. Service: representation of interest, cultural support, public relations, training, exchange of experience.

Focus: cultural politics, network, visual arts 

Deutscher Künstlerbund

The Association of German Artists (Deutscher Künstlerbund) is an association of visual artists, who commit themselves to the protection of their interests while respecting each other’s work. Aims: cooperation in national and international committees and boards of curators; advice and artistic debate; exhibitions.

Focus: artistic discourse, advice, visual arts

Deutscher Kunstrat

The Fine Arts Council (Deutscher Kunstrat) is a section of the German Cultural Council (Deutscher Kulturrat). It is an association of visual artists’ organisations, mediators and parties exploiting art and aims at being a voice for the arts sector within political discussions.

Focus: cultural politics, network, visual arts


The Federation of Women Artists and Patrons of the Arts (GEDOK - Verband der Gemeinschaften der Künstlerinnen und Kunstförderer) represents the interests of women artists of all disciplines and aims at professionalizing artistic work of women. Objectives: networking with other institutions and disciplines, exhibitions, awards.

Focus: cultural politics, network, visual arts

Fachgruppe Bildende Kunst of ver.di 

The Fachgruppe Bildende Kunst (department visual art) is a sector of the trade union ver.di and unites professional visual artists. It represents professional interests of artists.

Focus: cultural politics, visual arts 

Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste

The Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK) ( International Association of Art in Germany) supports international artistic exchange. It represents the interests of visual artists at the European level. Service: information on working opportunities and support schemes in Germany and abroad; individual advice; contact details for international exchange programmes; database.

Focus: cultural politics, mobility, network, visual arts 

Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, ifa

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) promotes art and cultural exchange in exhibitions, dialogue and conference programmes. It connects civil societies and moderates discussions on international cultural relations. Service: support schemes, exhibitions and discussions, database.

Focus: cultural politics, mobility, network


The Artists’ Social Security Fund (Künstlersozialkasse KSK) executes the Artists’ Social Security Act (Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz). Duties: examination and insurance of artists, publicists and journalists, as an intermediary it forwards the contributions to the insurances; handling of the ‘employer’s share’.

Focus: social law

VG - Bild Kunst Verwertungsgesllschaft

The collecting society BILD-KUNST was founded by authors (visual artists, photographers, filmmakers). Duties: licensing and support of individual rights (e.g. reproduction rights, resale right); organisations of copyright fees; representation of interests towards political bodies and administration. Service:  information on copyright law, contracts, etc. examination of authors’ rights. 

Focus: copyright

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