THE ASSOCIATION OF NORWEGIAN VISUAL ARTISTS
Norske Billedkunstnere (NBK) is the national organization for visual artists in Norway. NBKs long-term commitment is to promote and secure the intellectual, social, legislative and economic interest of the professional visual artist. The government and parliament recognizes the organization as a negotiation and consultative body.
There are approximately 2,900 members in NBK (out of 4.5 million inhabitants). NBK is composed of 20 sub organizations: 14 regional organizations, 5 nation-wide skill-based associations and a society for the younger artists. Artists will normally be member of one regional organization and one or more skill-based organizations depending on their artistic expression. An executive Committee of 6 members and a chairperson, which are elected by the General Assembly every second year, govern NBK. The administration consists of 9 employees.
NBK is responsible for the annual state exhibition – Høstutstillingen – the major national contemporary art show held virtually every year since 1882. A national jury selects the artwork for the exhibition; Members elect the jury for a two-year period. NBK also allocates grants from the government grants for artists program as well as from funds controlled by NBK. NBK also publishes its own magazine, Billedkunst, with 7 issues a year that provides important information for members in the organization.
In addition to the activities carried out by NBK centrally, the sub organizations carry out extensive exhibition programs in their own galleries as well as programs with travelling exhibitions on a regional or national level. The skill organizations publish their own specialized magazines; and the regional organizations run art centers with an extensive program aimed to promote art throughout their region. Some also manage their own pre college art education institutions.
NBK has made several notable achievements in recent years: It has promoted special tax legislation for the visual artist, increased grant budgets, promoted legislation for the public display of art, and implemented a new state institute for the promotion of Norwegian contemporary art abroad (OCA). Today, it takes action in behalf of its members: To preserve the grants and guaranteed income; improve the social security scheme; keep the artistic judgment within the artist’s committees work for better studio conditions for the artists in the pressed urban areas and expanding the studio capacity; and to facilitate international exchange in the visual arts.