The Foundation for Contemporary Arts Prague joined the Center for Contemporary Arts Prague to follow up on the activities of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts (1992-1998) founded by the Open Society Institute N.Y. under the patronage of international philanthropist George Soros.
Soros Center for Contemporary Arts – Prague (SCSU-Prague) was founded in the fall of 1992 as a part of the network of similar centers originating in former Communist bloc countries. In 1998, this network consisted of 20 centers in total. The main sponsor was the OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE, Inc. New York established by Mr. George Soros. From its foundation until June of 1994 SCSU belonged to the Central European University; from July 1994 until April 1997 it was a part of the Foundation Open Society Fund Prague, and from May 1997 it has been an independent foundation.
The controlling organ of the center was a Board made up of five renowned professionals – art historians. The members of the Board were always changed after two or three years.
The objective of the SCSU, similarly to its successional organizations, was and still is the development of civil society. Individual programs were designed both for the support of liberal creativity of individual artists, as well as to strengthen the social role of fine arts during a time of fast changes taking place not only in the area of politics and economy, but also in the social and cultural sphere. SCSU’s activity was directly focused on individuals as well as institutions working in the Czech Republic, but with the goal to integrate local art production and its ideological foundations to a mature civil society. An important attribute of the strategy was and still is SCSU’s orientation on contemporary art – that is not on the confirmed cultural values of the past, but on actual liberal creativity, on the undecided presence, open future and on the tolerance for new and different opinions.
In 1999 the SCSU-Prague transformed into two new organizations that have been continuing in its activities: Foundation for Contemporary Arts – Prague and Center of Contemporary Arts – Prague, o.p.s.
The joint mission of both the Foundation and Centre for Contemporary Arts is to support innovative and top quality artistic production in the sphere of contemporary fine art as an important part of a healthily evolving civil society.