Supported by the European Cultural Capital Agency, the first Biennial took place with the “I’m Changing, Do You Realize?” theme between November 25 and December 25, 2010, at public venues at the center of Istanbul: in Antrepo 5 (Sanat Limanı), Haydarpaşa Train Station and Tuzla İdris Güllüce Culture Center. An opportunity was offered to over 5,000 young people and children to take part in an art event, not as a spectator, but as an artist – through diverse, interesting and original paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, videos, documentaries, and dance, music and body performances.

The Istanbul Children and Youth Art Biennial is a first for Turkey and one of the few of such events in the world. It is a significant event due to the role it plays in arts and education. A record number of nearly 65,000 people took part in the events and workshops. Participants included the students themselves as well as writers, artists, art lovers, teachers, parents and members of the media, who all got to see the Biennial display works by 3,500 students from 320 schools in three different venues.

Curators Maria Sezer, Leyla Sakpınar, Gülçin Özdemir and Esra Çelikkanat decided on the “Dream Child, Real Child,” “Dream or Real?” theme for the 2nd Istanbul Children and Youth Art Biennial in November 2012.

High-traffic areas were selected for the 2nd Biennial: Istanbul City-Line Ferries; Şirketi Hayriye Art Gallery in Kadıköy; Kadıköy Merkez Art Gallery; Beşiktaş Municipality Mustafa Kemal Center, with an area of 2,000-square meters; and Kadıköy İskele Square. A total of nearly 23,000 spectators saw 287 projects (paintings, new media, photographs, videos, ceramics, installations, and so on) and 94 events held by 4,433 students from 298 schools.

The 3rd Istanbul Children and Youth Art Biennial in November took place with the “Small is Good” theme at Beşiktaş Municipality, Mustafa Kemal Center, Beşiktaş Çağdaş, Şehir Hatları ferries, Doğuş University, Şirketi Hayriye Art Gallery and SALT Galata between May 15 and June 15, 2014. A total of nearly 36,000 spectators saw 349 projects (paintings, new media, photographs, videos, ceramics, installations, and so forth) and 246 events held by 7,311 students from 291 schools.

The Biennial carries out operations with the corporate partnership of the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of National Education and the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV), and with collaboration from many public agencies and NGOs such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Governorship of Istanbul, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Beşiktaş Municipality, Kadıköy Municipality, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), Akbank Sanat, Şehir Hatları A.Ş., Fotoğraf Vakfı, ENKA Foundation, AKUT, the Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul, the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Istanbul, ÖRAV – Teachers Academy Foundation, and Bilgi University, the Community Volunteers Foundation.