The Flemish Art Institutions are collectively launching a new TV channel: Podium 19 will be a joint virtual auditorium where new productions from the many Flemish performing arts organisations will be broadcast to a wide audience, for as long as society is suffering from the impact of the coronavirus. The public will be able to enjoy a diverse range of performing arts productions from the comfort of their own home, each of which is programmed by a cultural organisation in Flanders.
“Flemish Art Institution” is a label that is awarded to large cultural organizations in Flanders that have a national and international renown. There currently are nine Flemish Art Institutions: two museums and seven performing arts organisations: Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Brugge (Bruges concert hall), deSingel (Antwerp), Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (Flemish Opera Ballet, based in Antwerp and Ghent) and Kunstencentrum Voo?uit (Voo?uit Arts Centre, Ghent). These seven took the initiative to start this tv channel and they are financing the streaming themselves, with additional support from the Flemish Government.
Flemish public broadcasting organization VRT, together with Belgium’s two largest telecommunications providers Proximus and Telenet are providing technical and logistical support, thus ensuring that this new cultural channel will be available for free to everyone.
A unique project
Many countries in Europe are taking special measures to support the cultural sector. However, a similarly tight collaboration between performing arts organisations, TV providers, incumbent TV channels and the government that benefits makers and audiences is unedited.