Kunsthalle / Journal #3 / Art for all

Art for all—new lines of communication // When founding director Wichert took up his duties at the Kunsthalle in 1909, he set himself the—at the time revolutionary—goal of creating an open space for exchanges and meetings irrespective of age and origin: creating a “Kunsthalle for all.” “Today, this attitude still spurs us on to create a palette of art mediation that is as varied as possible,” explains Dr. Dorothee Höfert, head of the mediation of art department.
“The new building is opening up new ways of strengthening communication with our visitors, creating a wide range of possibilities for making sure that all kinds of voices are heard,” the art historian explains. The aim of art communication, she says, is to make sure that there’s something for everyone—be it in the form of a hands-on workshop or an after work guided tour. “What’s important to us is to encourage everyone and anyone to visit the Kunsthalle, even those who are new to the art world or who rarely have the chance to visit and find out for themselves what art can mean for their own lives.” This is also the idea behind the Museum Suitcase, a project that the firm Roche has been running for three years now, which is designed to introduce children at elementary school to art.
In the future, tried-and-tested tools such as the Museum Suitcase or conversation-rich guided tours will play just as important a role as new features, such as an app for the museum. The highly individual expectations of visitors—shaped by modern, globalized society with its diverse cultural and social forces—call for tailor-made offers. “Some people like to be left alone to wander freely through the exhibition space and appreciate the works on their own, whereas others are looking to be brought face-to-face with specific artistic positions; they might want to exchange ideas with other people, or even roll up their sleeves and get actively involved straight away. The open structure of the “city within a city” is the ideal framework. There are two practical workshops where visitors both young and old can look out over Friedrichsplatz as they unleash their creativity and experiment with color and form. Their artworks are then put on display in small exhibitions for friends and family on the top floor.
“Now more than ever is the time to look forward and view communicating art as an exciting process—as something you actively help shape, rather than just passively experience. We don’t think of ourselves as ‘teachers,’” says Höfert, “but much more as the partners of the public.” “The artworks form a starting-point for us to see things together, to perceive, discuss, and experiment collectively as part of a creative and dynamic process that makes visiting the museum a real experience for everyone involved.”

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