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Foam informs and inspires the widest possible audience by presenting all facets of contemporary photography.
We accomplish this by organising a range of activities. These vary from exhibitions to publications, debates and educational projects. Foam discovers, develops, defines, publishes and stimulates. In this process, scouting and presenting young, emerging talent is one of our distinguishing qualities. Many activities take place from within the Amsterdam museum, but for specific projects, Foam will also approach an international audience.
Foam frequently organises events abroad, often in close collaboration with our partners. Foam is situated in the heart of the international photography community and aims to be constantly up-to-date. We respond to the latest developments in photography with original yet relevant projects, and are not afraid to break with tradition and strike new paths. In this process, quality, flexibility, innovation, accessibility and entrepreneurship are core values.
In the Amsterdam museum, Foam exhibits all facets of the photographic medium, in surprising ways and with the utmost attention to quality: from contemporary to historical work and from fine art to applied photography. World famous photographers are exhibited alongside young, emerging artists.
As part of the cornerstone 'Talent Development', we organise specific projects, such as exhibitions in the 3h space within the museum, or shows with work from Foam Magazine. Monographic presentations are alternated with themed or group exhibitions. With on average sixteen shows a year, there are almost always several exhibitions on view simultaneously. The majority is initiated and produced in-house by Foam curators. Alongside exhibitions, Foam frequently organises additional public programmes for both professionals and the general public.
The museum visitors continue to be Foam's most important target audience. Foam annually receives over 200,000 visitors at the canal side location on the Keizersgracht. This makes Foam by far the most-visited photography museum of the Netherlands with visitor numbers comparable to acclaimed institutions in New York, Paris and London.
Foam Magazine is an international photography magazine that appears three times a year, each issue surrounding a specific theme. The magazine functions as a platform for all genres of photography: from documentary to fine art and from contemporary to historical. Both well-known and relatively unknown talent can be found in Foam Magazine.
One of its noteworthy and distinguishing characteristics is the high-quality, innovative graphic design, chosen for each issue, in which form and content always reinforce one another. Original, distinguishing, and always exceedingly relevant. The magazine is distributed in over 25 countries worldwide.
Discovering, presenting and stimulating international photographic talent takes a prominent place in many of Foam's activities. We utilise our close-knit network to quickly scout new talent and present it on one of our platforms. Especially for an organisation like Foam, this is of great importance.
Within the museum, the programming of Foam 3h is focussed specifically on exhibiting the work of young artists. Each year, Foam Magazine also dedicates an entire issue exclusively to the international talent that is discovered in the renowned Talent Call. In recent years, Foam has also created a travelling exhibition of these works. Foam annually organises the Foam Paul Huf Award for artists under 35 years old. Talent development is our central focus in many educational projects, as well as at the Unseen Photo Fair. And lastly, the Foam collection is also focussed on acquiring the work of young, promising photographers.
Foam Talent at Atelier Néerlandais, Paris © Dimer van Santen
As an active, enterprising organisation, Foam does not feel limited to its museum. Foam explicitly makes itself known as an institution with international ambitions. After all, contemporary photography clearly has an international dynamic. Therefore Foam organises many activities that take place on location abroad, either in collaboration with partners or on its own. For instance, every year Foam presents the Talent exhibition (based on Foam Magazine's Talent issue) at various locations abroad. Exhibitions, lectures and debates are organised for specific international locations. The international Unseen photo fair and the internationally distributed Foam magazine are also examples of Foam's international ambitions. In any internationally relevant situation, Foam will appear with a tailor-made activity. We consider it essential that these activities are inviting, surprising, and innovative.
The photographic image is essential to the way we visually process reality and how we communicate. Therefore, the ability to read, define and understand imagery is essential. Education is of the utmost importance to Foam. Foam focuses on all ages: from young children and teenagers to adults and seniors. In our approach, active participation of all parties is essential.
Foam achieves this through a wide range of educational projects: from guided tours to long-term projects, both local and international. Many of our projects take place on location: at a school or in a neighbourhood. In these outreach programmes, photography has proven to be a great tool in bringing people in contact with each other, and in helping people develop their own critical attitude towards photography and image making.
Launch Amsterdam Vertelt Magazine, 2017 © Foam
Foam wants to be more to Amsterdam and its inhabitants than just a museum on the Keizersgracht. Foam deliberately chooses to actively take part in the community and aims to get the widest, most diverse audience possible involved in the museum and the photographic medium.
Firstly, Foam seeks out those people who cannot or are not so much inclined to visit the museum, so that they too can experience the joy of viewing and practicing photography. Secondly, Foam considers it one of their responsibilities to contribute to talent development. As photography is such an accessible medium, it is particularly suited to bringing people in contact with art and culture, and getting them to participate in cultural activities. And finally, in Foam's experience, photography is a particularly useful medium for enticing various audiences to exchange experiences and point of views, and for stimulating participation. For instance, in the past Foam has occupied various pop-up locations and developed a number of neighbourhood outreach projects.
In 2007, Foam, opened a specially designed print sales room under the name of Foam Editions, where a carefully considered selection of signed prints from young, international photographers is offered in limited editions. Foam Editions focuses on the novice photography collector, by offering, amongst other things, a course in collecting. The establishment of Foam Editions was made possible with a starting capital raised by Foam Fund, a group of engaged private benefactors.
Cultural entrepreneurship is a high priority for Foam. It's as big a part of the organisation's DNA as collaborating with others is. Currently merely 20% of the annual income comes from (city) funding, the remaining 80% is generated through entrance fees, fundraising, sponsorship and other commercial activities, such as the bookshop, the webshop and paid memberships. It's going well, and we need to keep it that way. There are many ways to get involved with Foam and support our activities, exhibitions and projects.
Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Foam Members, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.