Just two years after it was launched, pioneering healthy snack brand [N.A!] set up its endowment fund for the contemporary arts, to reinforce its commitment to nature protection, affirm its pioneering vision of art focussed on the environment and invite the public to look differently at the world. At what threatens it and how to preserve it. At the role we all have to play and at society’s most pressing issues. This is the mission of the [N.A!] Fund, which became [N.A!] Project in 2018.
We love contemporary art. Art that innovates, captivates and confronts. Art that understands our times and is not afraid to rock the boat. In line with [N.A!]’s core values, we support art that connects with nature, the environment, global trends, biodiversity, food and the human element.
We believe art can make us engage more with these topics. We see ourselves as an incubator of ideas, projects, and debate. A convener. We support artists who bring the public on a journey and transform their perspective through their works, installations and performances. We believe in art as a means to inspire and act.
We stand with artists to contribute to a positive and guilt-free approach rooted in expert knowledge and in the artist’s sensitive and alternative vision. Through this combination of awakening and wonder, our goal is to foster debate and nourish our future through art.
[N.A!] Project is of course an eco-responsible organisation. Frugality is one of our rules. We print as little as possible and mostly focus on online visibility. We keep travel to a minimum and limit the carbon footprint of our activities.
Our planet is in danger. The threat is so great it has become reality. We are plundering the Earth without replacing what we take and the devastating effects of human activity on the planet are snowballing, with millions of people already experiencing grave consequences. The ensuing migration brings its daily share of tragedies and there seems to be worse to come. Change is urgently needed. Society needs a new model. Political intervention will not suffice. We must each be our own revolution, and we intend to do our part.
We are Nature Addicts, a food brand that believes that art is food too. We choose to raise consciousness and engage the public through the power of art. With science and their own creativity on their side, artists have the power to confront, move, convene and speak to each and every one of us, young and old. Art alone won’t save us but it can enlighten our present and imagine the future.
How we select
Each year we select a limited number of projects to support. They may be ideas from artists whom [N.A!] Project already supports, or new ones. Our choices are guided by natural affinities. We may reach out and co-opt artists or they may invite us to support their project. Sometimes, we decide to launch our own. We will go wherever our hearts, our instincts and fate lead us. Sometimes we nudge things along but we prefer to let art take its course. In short, we have no pre-set criteria. Our selection is free, subjective and unpredictable!
We have been actively supporting artists for years through a more contemporary form of corporate sponsorship that goes way beyond funding alone and is a long-term commitment. We are not building a corporate art collection. We act mainly by supporting artists’ projects, hence our name. All these projects are aligned with our goal as a corporate citizen and patron of the arts. We study each project from its conception, with its creator, and some projects last several years. They eventually come to an end, but our close ties with the artist remain. Once an [N.A!] Project artist, always an [N.A!] Project artist.
Over the years we have built a network of artists all over Europe, and it is important to us that they meet, interact and intersect. This is why we regularly invite two, four or ten artists to our roaming events, which can be academies, residencies, pop-up spaces or attending a festival. We call them our Escales.
Lastly, because we know the artists and the art scene, [N.A!] Project is also a co-producer of all these projects.
[N.A!] Project believes in ideas that break free of fixed venues, museums and permanent exhibition spaces. To us, all the world is a stage. We work with artists in various countries and let their projects guide us, direct us and show us where to go and how they can intersect with others. None of this can fit into a few square metres.
We are attached to the unattached, the temporary, the ephemeral, the moment. We take artists, visitors, experts and students on a great journey. The destination is unknown. All we know is that there will be some Escales along the way. By roaming like this, we create more opportunities for interaction and build a multidisciplinary perspective on a range of environmental, socio-economic and political issues. That is our one and only destination.
Our ties with Elefsina,
of Culture 2021
This ancient city west of Athens has a long history as an industrial port. In Elefsina, Greek statues stand against a backdrop of abandoned factories and chimneys, its landscape forever changed by industrialisation. Yet the city retains many traces of a more ancient past, rich in mythology, with a strong tradition of hospitality towards foreigners, refugees in the past and tourists today. The city has a vibrant culture with many events throughout the year.
Thanks to this, plus its heritage and determination, Elefsina won the title of European Capital of Culture 2021, with support from [N.A!] Project among others. Elefsina aims to become a model for other cities and despite Greece’s economic crisis, it continues to invest in culture as a way to attract people to the city but mainly for the wellbeing of city residents. Environmental protection is at the core of the city’s development plans, which include building a smart city focused on sustainable development and social cohesion, making it a natural choice for [N.A!] Project’s 2017 Academy.
When he became CEO of Solinest, which his grandfather had founded in 1932, Bertrand Jacoberger launched an ambitious plan to overhaul the family company, winning the trust of major international brands like Ricola, Fisherman’s Friend, Werther’s Original, Chupa Chups, Mentos, Tetley and Van Houten. It became France’s No.1 confectionery distributor in the checkout aisle and No.2 in the confectionery aisle. With time, snack brands like Tyrells and Wonderfull and Starbucks beverages joined the company.
In 2010, driven by his commitment to environmental protection and love of nature, Bertrand Jacoberger launched the [N.A!], Nature Addicts brand, which revolutionised the snack market, offering a fruit-based alternative to confectionery and then a range of rice crackers as aperitif snacks. All healthy products with no added sugar, colouring or artificial flavouring. The brand grew quickly and became an incubator for food tech start-ups, acquiring some of them like the coconut water brand VaïVaï.
Throughout all these success stories, the entrepreneur retained his love of art. As a demanding art collector and President of La Filature national theatre in Mulhouse and the Gaîté-Lyrique in Paris, Bertrand Jacoberger is passionate about painting, photography and art installations and performances. He is just as passionate about networking, innovation and new developments in the world today. So he decided to set up an endowment fund, establishing the [N.A!] Fund in 2011. The name was changed to [N.A!] Project in 2018. The fund supports a selection of contemporary European artists with projects linked to the environment, and is guided by its core values: local and global collaboration, long-term support and preserving the balance of life on Earth.
Christopher Crimes was about to start a degree in humanities at the University of Bristol when he changed paths and chose art. He soon felt the need to use his love of contemporary art to serve the community and to work above all for the common good.
He worked on a number of projects before becoming the director of La Filature in Mulhouse in 1992. It was a greenfield project that Christopher Crimes knew had to involve the local population. He reached out to some of the region’s industrial companies and saw the project to completion, remaining as director for fifteen years, with Bertrand Jacoberger as President.
He then moved on to open other theatres before leaving the public arts sector. When he launched the [N.A!] Fund, Bertrand Jacoberger knew he had to have Christopher on board. Christopher Crimes coordinates the fund and works closely with the artists, driven as always by the desire to make a positive contribution to the world and to conservation.