Ilja van Heijningen starts as program leader BKOR

The new BKOR (Visual Arts & Public Space) program leader is Ilja van Heijningen. With her arrival, the team, which provides visual art in the public space of Rotterdam through BKOR and Sculpture International Rotterdam (SIR), is back at full strength. One of Van Heijningen's major challenges is to define a new long-term plan with which Rotterdam can give new meaning to its name as an important city of sculpture in the Netherlands (and even globally).

Ilja van Heijningen (Eindhoven, 1970) studied General Literature, Art Policy and Management at Utrecht University. After her studies, she started working as a communications consultant at IFFR, Galerie MaMa, Rotterdam Festivals and Codarts, among others. After a career that took her past Rijkswaterstaat, Stichting BOOR and Knowledge Center for Cultural Education (KCR), she became a senior communications advisor at the municipality of Rotterdam. Her portfolio included the refurbishment of the Coolsingel, the renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Katendrecht and Stadionpark-Feyenoord City area developments. Van Heijningen sees the transition to art in public space as a natural process in which she wants to immediately use her acquired knowledge and experience for Rotterdam's art and culture. “In addition, visual art in public space is the most challenging form of art for me. Precisely because these works of art are accessible to every citizen of Rotterdam. And precisely because everyone has an opinion about it. Beautiful, ugly, dirty, beautiful, it opens the conversation between Rotterdammers and all too often fills residents of a neighborhood or street with pride.”

Ove Lucas (director CBK Rotterdam) is delighted with the arrival of Van Heijningen: “I am really pleased that Ilja is joining our team, she adds a solid dose of communicative and strategic knowledge. Thanks to its predecessors, our organization has firmly anchored itself throughout Rotterdam and has been able to deliver quality, but we are now really on the threshold of a new era. I expect that we, together with the municipality and other stakeholders, can now formulate a new vision of art in public space and also agree on the right preconditions for this. With the knowledge and experience of Ilja and the quality of our team, I have a lot of confidence in that.”

Publication date: 23 / 02 / 2023