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© Magnum fotograaf Carl Dekeyser

Our mission

Arteconomy connects art, creative industries, science, technology, economy and education in order to let them step out of conceptual framework. The aim is to create new ideas, new products, new services and move towards a different view on company culture.


How do we realize our mission

  • pursuing a balanced partnership between all actors
  • creating space where people can meet and develop their competences, knowledge and attitude
  • stimulating quality engagement
  • focussing on the process and the end result in a long term vision
  • aiming at an interaction between experience and reflection


Our DNA is cooperation via connection

Cooperation via connection between the art world and the economic world aims at developing people, their interpersonal relations and the goal they want to realize through mutual exchange. Both partners are equal and share responsibility. Such cooperations create a framework of more organically shared answers and solutions within the project, the company, the society. The end result is holistic and has a qualitative impact on the people as well as on their interpersonal relations and the goal they want to achieve.


History of Arteconomy

Arteconomy has started from the experiences of many years of an organically grown collaboration process between Espeel Constructies, Roeselare and plastic artists. This collaboration from 1989 to 2008 has been described and documented in the book Walk with me, written by Charlotte Bonduel and Luc Derycke and published by Lannoo. Dutch and English version available.


 Fotoreportage van Magnumfotograaf Carl Dekeyser over de samenwerking tussen Constructies Espeel en de kunstenaars Jan Hoet doet de afsluit van het kunstevent Touch Me bij Espeel ConstructiesKunstenaar Michelangelo Pistoletto op bezoek bij Espeel ConstructiesKunstenaar Jan Fabre test de tafels bij Espeel Constructies voor zijn productie Je suis sang.

© Magnum fotograaf Carl Dekeyser

A brief history - evolution in an international context
  • The cradle of Arteconomy is Espeel Constructies

In 1989 the firm started to help artists realize their works of art in metal. Michel Espeel, the husband of Julie Vandenbroucke, was its CEO. During the visit of the Minister of Culture Luc Martens in 1996 the idea grew to organize an exhibition with new artworks of artists in collaboration with Espeel in the Cultural Center De Spil in Roeselare. In 1998 it took place under the name Noodingang (in English: 'Emergency entrance'). In 1999 Mr and Mrs Espeel took part in the project Woolways of Fabrice Hybert in Cittadellarte (Italy). Also in 1999 the artistic happening Heavy Metal about video art and photography was shown in the production hall. The images were about power, time, rhythm, achievement and focused action, concepts that are closely linked to the economy.


Rouwstoet voor de begrafenis van 100 l water tijdens het kunst event Heavy Metal/performance van Johan De WitKunstenaar Joëlle Tuurlynckx geeft uitleg aan de medewerkers van Espeel Constructies over haar project  Espeel Constructies produceerde voor financierde het werk van Isa GenskensKunstenaar Claire Roudenko-Bertin werkte langdurig samen met Constructies Espeel

© Filip

  • 2001 is the year when the idea of Arteconomy slowly matured

Early in February 2001 Julie Vandenbroucke organized the happening Touch me in the company. After this Julie felt she wanted to follow a different direction. She understood that a chain of collaborations, events and influences from outside worked as a process of change in the company. She wanted to share her experiences and see if the obvious added value of the combination of art and economy could be accepted as a method of change for other companies. The idea was still new and found its first expression in the word Arteconomy. It was created because of a new website and a booklet that Julie took to the first production fair in Cittadellarte in Italy in the summer of 2001. Talks with Giuliana Setari, the president of Cittadellarte, encouraged Julie and in 2002 she started the organisation Arteconomy.


artwork Honoré d'O  produced by Espeel ConstructiesProductie kunstwerk Kris VerdonckProductie kunstwerk voor Hans Op de Beeckvervoer van kunstwerk De Rugzak van Paul Gees voor plaatsing in Turnhout

© Honoré d'O

  • The pioneering period

In 2004-2009 the seminar Art and Economy: We Don’t See any Difference started. The book Artists and Entrepreneurs: a New Relationship was published as a result in 2006. After this, the entrepreneurs who took part in the seminar wanted to experiment and gain more experience.
The first projects departing from the needs of the company were started. The artists tried to find an answer to this need and the projects got a lot of attention from the media, the art and business world. The presentation of these projects took place in 2009 which meant the pioneering period had come to an end.

  • 2009- up to now

Arteconomy establishes itself as an intermediary. In other European countries similar intermediaries get subsidies as innovative players. They can profile themselves as pioneers.
Since there are no subsidies in Flanders, the search to keep the organisation viable and profitable is one of our big concerns. Another part of the core business of Arteconomy is the realisation of concrete projects in enterprises/organisations, readings, debates, studies, international meetings and the continuous look-out for innovative products.

  • Development and evolution of the international context

The dates mentioned in this brief history of Arteconomy fit in with the international emergence of the concept of the creative industries and organisations based upon them. In 1966 The Artist Placement Group (APG) was founded by Barbara Steveni en John Latham in London with the aim of integrating artists in enterprises. This group was a pioneer. In 1994 we see the term Creative Industry for the first time in the Australian paper Creative Native: A Policy for Leaders of Followers. In 1997 it was noticed by the Creative Industries Task Force that was started by the Department of Culture, Media and Sports in the United Kingdom. Since then the term has been internationally recognized partly because of the strong international profiling of British government initiatives by the prime minister at that time Tony Blair.

In 1998 Cittadellarte was founded in Italy by the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto. The  book Artful Creation - Learning Tales of Arts-In-Business by Lotte Darsø was published in 2004. It was the first book that brought together on an international level, fifty-three interviews about projects between artist and enterprises, projects by Unilever UK, Volvo, Rank Xerox amongst others. Still in 2004, invited by the Minister of the Economy Patrica Ceysens, Richard Florida came to Flanders to talk about his book The Rise of the Creative Class (2002). Shortly after that Flanders District of Creativity was founded in order to make ‘enterprising Flanders more creative and creative Flanders more enterprising’.