Fortress for Women


Open Call


To all interested female artists in the Tyrol – South Tyrol – Trentino Euroregion



Artists transform the Franzensfeste Fortress in a Fortress for Women

For nearly two centuries, the Franzensfeste had been a predominantly male-dominated structure – not only since its completion in 1838, but also during the building phase which started in 1833. Soldiers from all over the Habsburg Empire, and later from different Italian regions, were stationed here. For decades the massive granite buildings, made with millions of bricks, were used as warehouses for weapons and ammunition.

The Italian Military abandoned the colossal structure in 2003, meaning the Fortress could be repurposed for another, more peaceful use – its vast halls and rooms became the stage of many an art and cultural project.

Since 2008, the Franzensfeste has hosted contemporary art exhibitions, making a name for itself in the international art scene.

The rooms and their history all play a role when it comes to the exhibition’s themes. Art in all its possible and diverse forms of expression can create an exciting dialogue with the spaces steeped in history; it often will stand in sharp contrast to the room, or even become symbiotic, seamlessly merging into the walls.

These countless exhibitions also featured artwork created by female artists, showcasing their point of view. A perspective which attempted to break the male shackles from the past which were still tightly wrapped around the fortress.

Over the last few years, we have endeavoured to shine the light on the issue by promoting smaller events in occasion of International Women’s Day.


We would now like to go the extra mile. This open call is meant for all female artists interested in setting up a temporary atelier in the Fortress during the winter months of January and February 2022 to work on site on the theme of “Courage/Mut”.

The artworks will be displayed during the vernissage on 8 March 2022, and the artists will have to present at least one artwork to be put on display during the exhibition.

Ideally, we would like to select between 10 and 12 artists from different areas and/or disciplines – visual arts, performing arts, literature, film, and music. It would be quite interesting if artists would come together while on site and create joint projects and cross-cutting works of arts. The Franzensfeste should, at least temporarily, become a fortress for and of women.


Project scope:
We want to offer participating artists the opportunity of setting up a temporary atelier and to process the history and experiences of such a historically charged place into artworks. We also aim to give them a platform where they can express themselves and shine a light on what it means to be an artist. The last year and a half has decisively proved how even artists can suffer during precarious situations and have to find new ways to survive – with courage and creativity.

The project will be repeated either as a Biennale or Triennale in the next years. The aim is for it to become a fixed format.

Project patrons:
We are currently in talks with South Tyrolean businesswomen who are interested in becoming patrons. Their role would be to actively support the project not only by financing it, but by providing their input in terms of ideas as well as offering a wider platform for representation.


Sound good?

If this is something which interests you, and you want to work in an atelier for a couple of days or even weeks between January and February 2022 at the fortress, send us your application.

What we offer:

  • Heated rooms you can work in between January and February 2022
  • €500 for materials per artist
  • Use of the bistro kitchen to prepare meals during your stay
  • Use of the workshop under caretaker supervision
  • Support by fortress staff
  • Purchase of one of the artworks after completion of the project
  • Communication about the project on our website, social media (Facebook, Instagram) and as ads in print and online media

We have also partnered with a local hotel which is just a 10-minute walk from the fortress. You can take advantage of the special prices should you wish to stay there.


Documents required:

  • CV and portfolio
  • brief description of your project ideas on the theme of “Courage, Mut” (sketches, drawings, photo montages, and renderings are appreciated)

The Jury consists of the South Tyrolean Artist Association and other art experts. The Jury will assess the applications and choose the ideal candidates.


The following criteria are assessed during the selection phase:

  • a convincing project idea
  • artists who have had similar experiences in a community atelier or have created a project during an artist residence will be favoured
  • artists from different areas and disciplines
  • and a varied age group.

Application deadline: 31 October 2021. Send your applications to


Contact persons:

Esther Erlacher:; Tel. +39 0472 057212
Sandra Mutschlechner:; Tel. +39 0472 057209