Strengthening Civil Society Through Arts and Culture | Open Society Foundations (OSF)

The Open Society Arts and Culture Program works at the nexus of arts, culture, human rights, and social advocacy. Through its grant program, the program strives to encourage broad-based critical reflection and catalyze social action in parts of the world where open societies are absent or weak, and where the cultural rights of minority groups are endangered.

The aim of this call for proposals is to strengthen alternative and autonomous cultural infrastructures and innovative arts initiatives, to raise professional standards in the art world in the Arts and Culture Program’s regions of activity, and to promote reform in the arena of cultural policy.

Eligibility Criteria

Projects that aim to draw on the power of culture to help build open societies in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Moldova, Mongolia, and Turkey, and that involve one of the following activities:

  • Cultural production
  • Creating or strengthening cultural platforms
  • Professional development and capacity-building


Purpose and Priorities

Projects that address one or more of the following priorities of the Arts and Culture Program will be considered to bring added value:

  • Capacity building: Strengthening the capacity of individuals and organizations to implement and sustain good practices and effective ways of working.
  • Collaboration: Building alliances and networks with other projects and organizations to encourage knowledge sharing within the country of operation and beyond.
  • Diversity: Promoting greater equality and access to cultural goods and activities for the most marginalized beneficiaries.
  • Public Engagement with Critical Social Issues: Using the power of arts and culture to promote discussion, debate, and critical reflection on social issues of importance to target communities and beneficiaries.


The supported activities are described in detail in the attached application guidelines.


Please download and carefully read the complete Application Guidelines attached before you fill in the Letter of Inquiry, which is the first step in the application process. This document is designed to give you all the information you need to apply. Should you need further clarification, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), available as part of the guidelines.

Open Society Arts and Culture Program Call for applications

From its inception, the strategic policy of the Arts and Culture Network Program of the Open Society Institute, has been proactive, inspirational, and a catalyst for Soros Foundation cultural activities, multifaceted in approach and inclusive of all groups of people and disciplines of artistic expression.

The Call is open to applicants from and activities in one or more of the following countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Ex-patriots of the abovementioned countries who are willing to return temporarily to their country of origin and share their expertise with local organizations or individuals may also apply.

 Projects that address one or more of the following priorities of the Arts and Culture Program will be considered to bring added value:
– Capacity building
– Collaboration
– Diversity
– Public Engagement with Critical Social Issues

Grants are offered for the following three activities:
1. Cultural production
2. Creating or strengthening cultural platforms
3. Professional development and capacity-building.

Applications may be submitted by non-profit legal entities (non-governmental and public
organizations, libraries, museums, cultural centers, associations, communities, registered
charities, etc.) that work in the field of arts and culture.

Individuals can apply under activities 1 and 3 (professional development only).
Former grantees of the Arts and Culture Program may apply on the condition that a final
report from the previous grant period has been submitted and approved.

Assistance is offered from in-country mentors for applicants who are invited to develop a full project proposal. ACP mentors can offer advice and feedback on developing a welldesigned proposal.

Application deadline:
31 December 2012
Applications can be submitted on an ongoing basis

More information, including guidelines, forms, country coordinators:
Daniela Bolganschi

Mark Weil, Uzbeck Theatre Director

European News
Uzbek Theater Director Killed
By MANSUR MIROVALEV, Associated Press Writer

Fri Sep 7, 5:51 PM

MOSCOW – Mark Weil, an Uzbek theater director whose productions caused controversy in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic, was stabbed to death outside his home, a theater spokeswoman said Friday. He was 55.

Weil was attacked in front of his apartment building in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, late Thursday night, said Oksana Khrupun, a spokeswoman for the Ilkhom theater. She said he died on the operating table at a hospital.

Actors at the theater, reached by telephone, said Weil was taken to the hospital by neighbors who described seeing two young men in baseball caps waiting for the director in front of his building.

Police were investigating, but refused to say whether they had identified any suspects, Khrupun said. Calls to the police were not answered.

The actors, who had rushed to the hospital, said Weil was not robbed and that the director said before the operation that he did not know his assailants.

"To the last minute, he kept talking about tomorrow's premiere," said musical director Artyom Kim.

Ilkhom, which Weil founded in 1976, was the first independent theater in the Soviet Union. He gained popularity for staging uncensored productions that combined elements of Uzbek folk theater, Italian commedia dell'arte, absurdist plays and pantomime.

"Our credo is not to repeat ourselves, and each new project obliterates everything we've done before," Weil told The Associated Press in 2006.

Khripun said the director's last words were, "I'm opening the season tomorrow, whatever happens."

The actors said the premiere _ a production of The Oresteia by ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus _ would open Friday night.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Weil's theater began participating in festivals throughout the world, and he directed productions in Moscow and Seattle.

Sarah Nash Gates, who collaborated with Weil as executive director of the School of Drama at the University of Washington in Seattle, fought to keep her composure in a telephone interview. She recalled Weil downplaying U.S. State Department warnings of lawlessness in Uzbekistan while welcoming Washington students visiting Ilkhom.

"He always said the theater never had any enemies," Gates said.

"He had a gift for a director of really getting to the core of the material," she added. "and then he could lead actors to demonstrate that."

Ilkhom has stood out as an oasis in Uzbek theater life, which has been hit by economic hardships and a talent drain.

Some of Ilkhom's productions touched on gay love, a taboo topic in a predominantly Muslim country where homosexuality is punishable by up to two years in jail.


Associated Press writer Tim Klass in Seattle contributed to this report.