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Despite the myriad of tools at the disposal of today’s creative community, artists can still find it incredibly difficult to get their voices heard and their work seen. Perhaps it’s ironic, that in an age where communication is so easy, communicating more effectively is becoming harder.

This is where the young and energetic eyewear label, Ace & Tate, come in. Earlier this month, the brand launched the Ace & Tate Creative Fund, a project designed to find, support and promote the work of emerging artists the world over.

Funded through the sale of Ace & Tate’s eyewear, with the label donating €1 from every sale to the fund, successful applicants will receive a one-off project-specific grant, as well as ongoing mentorship and guidance as the artist’s projects are realized. What’s more, artists will also gain access to new audiences and industry knowledge thanks to the Creative Fund’s board members, who will also be assessing applications for the Fund. Board members include Ace & Tate’s founder and CEO, Mark de Lange, as well as Will Hudson, founder and director of It’s Nice That, the artists and filmmakers Lernert & Sander, and Mario Lombardo, the multidisciplinary creative and founder of BUREAU Mario Lombardo.

We managed to catch Mark de Lange during the Creative Fund's launch party at Amsterdam's Bright Side Gallery to discuss the project, as well as the challenges facing artists today, and the importance of community and mentorship in the creative arts.

So this Ace & Tate Creative Fund sounds like a great and worthwhile project. What qualities are you looking for in prospective applicants and do you have any advice for them?

We’re looking for passionate applicants with original project ideas that excite their audience. This is quite a unique opportunity, so we’d advise applicants to really think out-of-the-box and show originality in their proposals. Their ideas really have to grab our [the creative board members’] attention and include as much information, planning and inspiration behind it for it to be worthy of a grant. We’re hoping to see ideas from a variety of disciplines ranging from film and photography through to music and designers.

In what specific denominations will grants be given?

We won’t be handing out specific denominations. We will decide on how much each project requires on a case-by-case basis. Whatever the artist needs to realise their project in the best possible way, we will, of course, endeavour to give that to them.

Outside of financial support, how will Ace & Tate provide for artists?

Beyond the one-off grant, successful applicants will also gain valuable exposure to new and influential audiences, including members of the Creative Fund’s board, selected media partners, Ace & Tate’s international customer base, social channels and established networks. We’ll also offer guidance along the way, but the main aim is to provide creatives with the independence that we ourselves value so much.

You mentioned “exposure to new and influential audiences.”  Can you go into some specifics about that?

By promoting the artists through our social channels and carefully selected partners and creative board, we will amplify their presence, expand their existing networks and ultimately create new audiences for the successful applicants.

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In your own words, why do you think communities and mentorship are important for creatives?

Well, the creative process is endless and there’s no right or wrong, which means you can benefit from people who have already gone through similar experiences in their career. Having that someone to support and guide you helps not only your self-confidence but allows you to keep pursuing what you’re good at.

How do you see this project evolving over the coming years?

We want the Ace & Tate Creative Fund to become recognized. Over the years I hope that we can be proud of the artists we have supported. It’d be amazing for us to see them become successful in their own right.

Aside from that, we hope to have the amenities to hold creative workshops, host exhibition spaces and work with more renowned media partners, creative board members and aspiring artists in the future.

Why do you think emerging artists need a leg-up in 2016? In today’s creative climate, where everything is highly saturated and digitally driven, what’s advantageous and disadvantageous for young creatives in this environment?

Having a leg-up allows for the really talented people to cut through the noise and be able to communicate and showcase their work. We have noticed that many talented creatives are good at actually creating things but not at necessarily marketing themselves in a way that they can be seen and heard. That’s where we feel the Ace & Tate Creative Fund will support them to become more visible within and outside of the creative community.

The great advantage is that there are so many tools for upcoming artists to now use, it’s just finding the way to best use them. We hope that the Ace & Tate Creative Fund will allow them to do just that and much more!

Follow the story of Ace & Tate’s new project via #atcreativefund or find out more info or apply on the Ace & Tate Creative Fund’s dedicated site.

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