In November it was announced that Dutch patron of the arts Elise Wessels van Houdt is to receive the ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Angel Award 2016 for her lifelong support to performing arts in the Netherlands and beyond.
The ISPA, a worldwide network of more than 450 leaders in the performing arts, represented in more than 185 cities around the world, praised Wessels as a trendsetter in private support for the performing arts. Wessels was nominated for the award by Holland Festival, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Philharmonie Haarlem and other Dutch ISPA members. She will be awarded the prize on 14 January 2016 at the ISPA conference at the Times Center in New York.
Elise Wessels (1943) is the owner of Nihon-no-Hanga, a private museum with a special collection of early 20th century Japanese prints. The museum is free to the public, with the core of her collection set to be left to the Rijksmuseum, so that it remains accessible.
Her love for the performing arts, particularly music, are shown by her support for a variety of Dutch musical institutions, as well as the Für Elise Foundation which helps Japanese musicians in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to obtain better instruments. She is also a member of the International Council of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Society of Friends of Bayreuth.
Wessels’ involvement and financial support make her extremely important to the performing arts in the Netherlands, particularly at a time of declining government funding.