Arts and Culture

Arts and culture have long been part of the Olympic programme. In Ancient Greece, art and sport were considered perfect partners. The ideal was to achieve harmony by exercising both the body and the mind.

With the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, Pierre de Coubertin advocated for a strong alliance “among athletes, artists, and spectators”. At early editions of the Games (1912-1948), art competitions featured in the programme and medals were awarded in architecture, literature, musical composition, painting and sculpture...

Today the IOC, working in close collaboration with a multitude of partners a multitude of cultural players within the Olympic Movement and beyond, leads or supports the production of arts and culture programmes of during Games time and between the editions of the Games.


Olympic Art Visions is a programme of commissions by the IOC to leading contemporary artists, to allow for the creation of large-scale public art installations and participatory “live performances” during and between different editions of the Games. The programme aims to bring people together through the presentation of pioneering artworks in public spaces, and to encourage them to join in a fresh dialogue around the Olympic ideals and values.
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Olympism Made Visible is an international photography project that looks beyond professional athletics to trace the Olympic values and their impact when sport is placed at the service of humankind through community-based activities around the world. It explores the power of sport as a tool for social development and change, as seen through the eyes of renowned international photographers who work at the intersection of fine art and social documentary.

The first series, composed of some 100 photographs, was produced in 2018 and is now available for loan for exhibitions. Watch this space for series number two - to be launched in 2020!

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Olympians are active in a variety of different fields including the arts – as painters, filmmakers, musicians, designers and poets. The IOC welcomes and encourages their creative energy through special collaborative projects that happen during and between editions of the Olympic Games.

During the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, for the first time the IOC invited Olympian artists to create new works on site in collaboration with other athletes. Find out more about what happened in PyeongChang!

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Since the early 20th century, each of the Olympic Games editions has left a moving image legacy: the Olympic Films.

World-famous film directors such as Leni Riefenstahl, Kon Ichikawa, Claude Lelouch, Milos Forman and Carlos Saura were commissioned to create full-length documentaries providing an artistic view of the Olympic Games.

The Official Olympic Films have been inspired by the Olympic Moment to push the boundaries of the Olympic documentary tradition and create powerful cinema as part of the Olympic Games’ cultural legacy.

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Since the early 20th century, posters have been created by Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to promote and advertise this major sporting and cultural event. Some OCOGs have invited internationally renowned artists to create highly individualistic posters and become part of a powerful visual legacy forever associated with a specific edition of the Games. Many of these visual art posters have become artistic and cultural icons.
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Culture & Education Hub

The Culture & Education Hub is the first point of contact to facilitate Olympic Culture and Education initiatives.
Our mission is to raise awareness of Olympic history and values by providing support and inspiration to cultural and educational institutions to develop and put in place their cultural and educational projects.

Do you need any assistance with the ideas, design, content or implementation of your programme?

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