The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) was founded in 1973, with the initial goals of offering the finest examples of cultural and artistic production from around the world and introducing new initiatives and movements to arts enthusiasts in Istanbul. Further goals included presenting the cultural and artistic assets of Turkey to the world and turning Istanbul into a major center within the international culture and arts community.
IKSV is run by an elected Board and a general manager assigned by the Board. Under the general manager are 7 artistic directors responsable for the festivals and 5 administrative departments. Today the number of full time staff employed by the Foundation has reached up to 80. The Foundation also employs part-time and seasonal staff varying according to needs.
The yearly budget of IKSV is around 14 million Euros (in cash and in kind).
The main sources of funding are sponsors followed by government and international funds, individual donors and ticket income.
IKSV aims at creating an international medium to promote and feature not only the cultural heritages of Turkish society but also those of other societies in the world by facilitating the sharing of inspiration and creativity among arts and the artists which would lead the peoples of distinct cultural backgrounds towards a better understanding and contribute to world peace by creating a sense of global awareness through the arts.
The general objectives are:
To make Istanbul one of the world’s foremost capitals of culture and the arts.
To create a continuous interaction between the national and the universal and between traditional and contemporary values via culture and the arts.
To actively contribute to the development of cultural policies.
The first Istanbul Festival ran from 15 June to 15 July 1973 and contributed greatly to the establishment of the concept and phenomenon of the ‘festival’ in Turkey. The Istanbul Festival originally focused on classical music, but eventually included film screenings, theatre and dance performances, exhibitions and contemporary music concerts. Over time, groups of events from different artistic disciplines gradually evolved into distinct festivals. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, organises the Istanbul Festivals of Music, Film, Theatre and Jazz, as well as the Istanbul Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, autumn film week ‘Filmekimi’, and the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition. Also active on the international stage, İKSV organises festivals in major European cities and has managed the Pavilion of Turkey at the Venice Biennial since 2007.
In addition to organising festivals, biennials and events in Turkey and abroad, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts works in these fields
• conservation of traditional arts and cultural heritage
• encouraging and facilitating artistic production in diverse disciplines
• cultural policy development