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  6. Awakening interest in art: VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL

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Awakening interest in art: VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – in Berlin

Since April, the Volkswagen Group has provided free admission to Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – in Berlin on the first Thursday of each month from 4 pm to 8 pm.

“We just want to stop in for an hour or so,” says a bearded young man with a young daughter. The two of them have found their way to Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – in Berlin. As he lifts the youngster out of her stroller and then puts on her bright green shoes, he says: “We wouldn’t have come otherwise, it’s just not worth it for such a short visit. But thanks to this initiative by Volkswagen, the two of us can take a quick cruise through and check things out.” After all, instead of the usual ten euro admission charge, today it costs nothing to get in.
The reason: VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL. The joint promotion by Volkswagen AG and the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (State Museums of Berlin) offers free admission to Hamburger Bahnhof on the first Thursday of every month between 4 pm and 8 pm – for a whole year. In addition to the entire permanent collection and current exhibitions, there is also an interdisciplinary program of lectures, artist talks, performances and guided tours in multiple languages.

Kick-off event a rousing success

Some 1,000 visitors streamed into Hamburger Bahnhof in the course of four hours – considerably more than usual. Almost everyone is thrilled by this very special opening to the general public of one of the most important museums for contemporary art. Like Viktor Schönfeld and Swetlana Mamonova – father and daughter. He nods as she sums up VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL with the following words: “It’s fantastic, it awakens people’s interest in art!”

“That was exactly what we intended,” says Benita von Maltzahn, Director of Global Corporate Citizenship at Volkswagen AG. She adds: “I’m delighted by the huge success of this kick-off event!” She feels that culture is an important part of a vibrant society; it appeals to individual creativity and opens people’s eyes to new perspectives. “So it’s important for us to enable as many people as possible to encounter art and culture,” says von Maltzahn.

Culture is an important part of a vibrant society; it appeals to individual creativity and opens people’s eyes to new perspectives.

Benita von Maltzahn Director of Global Corporate Citizenship at Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen Group promoting art and culture

The Volkswagen Group does a fair bit in this regard. On the international level, it supports the work and educational efforts of important art and cultural institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) with the MoMA PS1 in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London. And in Berlin, a vibrant partnership between the Volkswagen Group and Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has been thriving for five years now. Among the fruits of the current collaboration is the company’s support for the “Wanderlust” exhibition, which will open at the Alte Nationalgalerie in May. And naturally also VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL – the new initiative, which has been very well received.

“It was not only many more visitors than usual, but also very different groups of people,” says Udo Kittelmann, Director of the Nationalgalerie, with evident delight. “We are extremely grateful that Volkswagen, a partner of the Nationalgalerie for many years now, has further expanded its social engagement!” He quips: “Other cities such as Paris and London have had such programs for some time – but you know how it is: things just take a bit longer in Berlin.”

Modern and contemporary art for all

The visitors are indeed quite varied: old and young, couples, guests on their own, and even a group of highly interested nuns. Sieglinde Patrick, a native of Berlin, and her husband Dieter came especially because of the offer, having read about it in the newspaper. “It served to remind us of Hamburger Bahnhof, like, oh, yeah, that’s still there,” she says, adding with a chuckle, “The last time we were here was 15 years ago!” 

Art by Joseph Beuys is also on display. A chicly dressed woman stands before an installation featuring an ax and piano and, as she contemplates the artwork, says: “So many people have no real connection to modern art. But it really gets you thinking and expands your horizon.” She welcomes VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL: “It draws a public that usually has little contact with art!”
“Culture should be accessible,” is a sentiment shared by visitor Gianna, who actually has an annual pass for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. “This is already a normal thing in other places.” Her friend Camille adds her two cents: “Art shouldn’t be a luxury object. It has to be accessible even for people who would otherwise really have to think about whether they want to splurge on the admission.” But is art important for a society? “Absolutely,” says Gianna. “Art brings people together and can convey knowledge in a completely different way than a newspaper article, for example.”

Summing up the first Thursday with VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL, it’s clear: Interest is great, and the free admission brings in not only more visitors to Hamburger Bahnhof, but also a different public than usual. A rousing success! The only question is what happens when it’s too full? Udo Kittelmann laughs and says: “Everyone is welcome to join us!”

VOLKSWAGEN ART 4 ALL: Upcoming dates

  • May 3, 2018
  • June 7, 2018

June 7, 2018 / Thu

4 pm to 8 pm

Free admission and free workshops for children, as well as guided tours in various languages, access to the permanent collection and current exhibitions

6 pm

Reading (in French with simultaneous translation into German)

Arno Bertina: “Mona Lisa in Bangoulap. Die Fabel vom Weltmuseum,” 2016

June 7, 2018 / Thu

4 pm to 8 pm

Free admission and free workshops for children, as well as guided tours in various languages, access to the permanent collection and current exhibitions

6 pm – 7 pm

Performance
Tomomi Adachi MAVOtek Part IV mit/ with Breeda CC & Kareth Schaffer

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