Empty museums, closed theatres and deserted concert halls. This is what it has looked like everywhere over recent months. The coronavirus pandemic put a stop to life in many places, including when it comes to art and culture. And these institutions can have a particularly meaningful, unifying role in difficult times. With the current easing of restrictions, they are able to open once again, getting people’s hopes up that they can once again enjoy cultural experiences and education.
After all, art and culture are of tremendous importance to society. They hold significance for every single individual. Experiences with art open up new worlds; they offer an opportunity to look critically at yourself and at the subject of creative artists. Cultural education is a must for individual creativity and personal artistic work.
Art and cultural offerings are not to be taken for granted
German cultural politician Hilmar Hoffmann once said “art is for everyone.” But culture is not always accessible to everyone, it is sometimes out of reach, so art and cultural offerings are not to be taken for granted. “Changing that is an important task which Volkswagen has taken on,” said Benita von Maltzahn, Head of Cultural Engagement at Volkswagen. “To make art and culture accessible to the masses, we collaborated with the museum association Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in 2012 and have brought a large number of collaborative projects to life during this time.”
There have always been new and surprising encounters with art. When more than 100 international artists came together for the Festival of Future Nows under the direction of the Danish-Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson, when classics from romanticism became newly accessible in the “Wanderlust” exhibition and when the sound pioneers of the electropop band Kraftwerk appeared at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Volkswagen was always present, as a promoter and partner alike.
By supporting future-oriented initiatives in art and culture around the world, Volkswagen is doing its bit as a corporation to make the ideas and perspectives of many creative artists more visible, meaning that they can be reflected on by people from all walks of life. Creativity and innovation are inextricably linked for Volkswagen and form the basis of a company as well as a modern, progressive society.
Volkswagen ART4ALL opens doors
So, the Volkswagen ART4ALL format was brought to life at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin (Hamburg train station – Museum of the Present Day – Berlin) in 2018. Those interested in art and culture will once again soon have free admission to the former terminus of the Hamburg-Berlin railway on the first Thursday afternoon of every month, to admire the largest, most important collection of contemporary art in the world for example. In addition to guided tours in various languages and workshops for children, the programme offers supporting events such as talks and performances given by artists.
This format and Volkswagen’s entire cultural engagement is aimed at everyone, no matter where they come from, what their status is or what they need to access culture and education. After all, in a multicultural society, art and culture become of increasing importance for social development – to promote integration and showcase the positive aspects of cultural diversity.
With success: Volkswagen ART4ALL was presented with the “Corporate Art Award” at the European Parliament in Brussels in November 2018. This was followed by the AKF Award accolade in 2020, presented by the cultural society of the German economy at the Arbeitskreises Kulturförderung (AKF) (working group for the promotion of culture) online meeting.
Partnership with Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin extended
These awards are evidence of a successful, valuable programme in the arena of cultural promotion, which is now being extended: The partnership with the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has been extended by another two years. The Volkswagen Group thereby demonstrates sustainability and credibility in its objective of making art and culture accessible to the masses and sends out an important signal in these difficult times: Things are moving forward! Museums and cultural institutions are opening and one will be able to experience the diversity and vibrancy of culture once again.
Even more distinctively for many people from now on, since the Volkswagen ART4ALL format is branching out to one of the world’s most famous museums: the Neue Nationalgalerie – built by one of the most prominent architects of modern times, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
The building has been being completely renovated by star architect David Chipperfield since the beginning of 2015. Now, after around six years of work, the masterpiece of the classical modern period is returning to the cultural industry. “The reopening of the Neue Nationalgalerie really is a world event and we at Volkswagen are delighted to be part of the occasion,” said Dr. Thomas Steg, Volkwagen’s Head of External Relations and Sustainability.
The renovation was something of an art project in itself: a concept of invisible reconstruction. The latest technology with the look of 1968. Believe it or not, 35,000 parts were removed for the renovation – including 14,000 natural stones – and were archived and stored. The dismantling alone took a year. Now, the Neue Nationalgalerie is opening its doors once again and everyone can join in with Volkswagen ART4ALL.