The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative


The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is an international philanthropic programme designed to assist rising artists achieve their full potential. Artists are sought out from all over the world and brought together with great masters (Anish Kapoor, Rebecca Horn and John Baldessari, to name a few) in which to creatively collaborate in a year of mentoring.

Launched in 2002 and keeping in line with its tradition “of supporting individual excellence”, Rolex aims to make a significant contribution to the art world. This is achieved through various arts: dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts. Rolex thus manages to establish itself as a positive contribution to society in every possible format of interaction. Through means of an Advisory Board, distinguished artists are selected and then help to endorse potential members (who are chosen through nominating panels, with various sources and much deliberation!) and thus it remains an exclusively invitation-only participation.

“The biennial Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative will help perpetuate an artistic heritage and make an uniqe and lasting contribution to the arts.” – Patrick Heiniger, former CEO Rolex SA

Mutual agreement between mentor and protégé as to meetings (purpose, time and place) create a flexibility for development with no less than six weeks being spent in interaction. Rolex provides logistical and financial support. At the termination of the year Rolex maintains an ongoing interest in the protégés’ careers and continues to promote their work.

Thus far, 173 artists, art world leaders and other cultural luminaries have participated in the programme. With global participation, a culturally-rich community is established, and enhanced by it’s depth and scope. The Rolex tradition serves to honour those who make or essay to make a positive contribution to the world. The support given by Rolex promotes cultural awareness worlwide and in different strands of society, enriching the community and allowing art to be experienced by a wide audience.

Catullus, in Carmen I:

“And so, have them for yourself, whatever kind of book it is,
and whatever sort, oh patron Muse
let it last for more than one generation, eternally.”



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