Volkswagen is distinguished for its success in auto engineering, but the German car manufacturer should also be celebrated for its engineering of arts education programming. In a five year partnership with MoMA and MoMA PS1, Volkswagen has provided invaluable opportunities to emerging leaders in the arts, especially with its VW Fellows Scholarship Programme.
Started in 2012, the program offers students the chance to work in New York at the Manhattan-based MoMA and the associated Queens MoMA PS1 with various museum departments. The three 2016 fellows, selected from a pool of over 100 applicants, are assisting this summer in conducting fundamental research and writing, event and exhibition production, archival documentation, and executive task management. The program was designed to give students an inside-look at museum operations in the hope that they will continue to use their skills in the arts world after their tenure at MoMA. Since the program’s formation, alumnus have moved on to work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bard College, and other arts institutions.
Head of Volkswagen’s Cultural Engagement, Benita von Maltzahn, said, "there is a time-honoured principle which also applies to culture and the arts: you learn especially well from especially good ideas. Within the art world, MoMA stands for those ideas and that is why we are very pleased to be able to open MoMA’s doors to young and talented people. Here, they benefit from an outstanding opportunity to generate innovative ideas and new perspectives thanks to the VW Fellows Scholarship Programme."
Volkswagen’s arts education work and partnership with MoMA don’t stop there. Over the years, the partnership has created numerous programs catered towards teenagers and students, such as the recent “A Tale of Three Cities” initiative, a MoMA Teen Program which brought together students from London, Chicago, and New York to pioneer an online art course for teens by teens. The effort resulted in a four-week online course which has reached students in over 70 countries around the globe, engaging them with the international arts scene and teaching them about the politics, communities, and challenges that form the contemporary art world.
With the VW Fellows Scholarship Programme and numerous other education initiatives, Volkswagen’s role as MoMA’s Lead Corporate Partner of Education proves that the best road to success is one that supports a culture of artistic innovation.