“Senate eat on street”
This is Westwerk.
Westwerk had its first event on February 7, 1986 on Admiralty Street 74. It existed before this street started to house Hamburg’s art scene and the poster “Senate eat on street” hung in the early years on the facade, to point out the uncertain circumstances of the future.
Westwerk was founded during the time of the Harbor Road and the Red Flora, it was the cultural counterpart to these communities and can nowadays remind one of the Gängeviertel. Westwerk has always had its own independence seeking a cultural rather than political presence. Five of the founding members are still part of Westwerk whilst all the others, about 30, have joined over the course of the years.
It is an artists’ house that has been running continuously since its inception. It is a tenant community out of which the program is made collective where, factual, un-objective, controversial and collegial discussions are encouraged. A total of 2400 square meters are provided for 40 studios whose tenants range from artists and musicians to filmmakers, etc. allowing for almost every creative division to exists in this house. Westwerk is also a neighborhood and in summer, life here reminds one of Montparnasse and GZSZ, a space where, culture is lived, day by day, constantly creating new projects and ideas. It is a happy island on an island.
Over the years, Westwerk has become an institution in Hamburg’s cultural scene. Every year Westwerk presents 20 art exhibitions and 30 other events in the fields of music, media and theater. So far there have been over 1000 events. Westwerk is a brand of Hamburg culture.
Westwerk started as an off-site artist’s space, but has been more, much more, for a long time: it is the place that is at the threshold between the museum, the art society, galleries and artist spaces, a role which is otherwise empty in the Hamburg art scene. Westwerk’s role closes the gap between that which is bigger than small, and smaller than big. It is a place for special, grand projects, for trials and experiments, for partnerships and communities between artists that would otherwise not occur. Westwerk collaborates with other institutions to develop new projects and communities such as the art laboratory with the Deichtorhallen and the cooperation with the project group. It is difficult to find any other place as concerned with international exchange as this.
It has grown and strengthened over the years with the result that almost all relevant Hamburg artists have exhibited here, and the lists of the Hamburger Arbeitsstipendiaten and the artists of the galleries read like a chronicle of the house. The 150-square-meter showroom offers one the platform to jump from the artist scene to a larger audience. It is the place for young artists to face a larger exhibition and for older people to showcase their work extensively.
In addition, another 100 square meter room allows for presentations, concerts and events, whilst the basement is home to a recording studio and rehearsal rooms for musicians. This 250 square meter total exhibition space is continuously operative, and the schedule is always too full and the money always far too short. The Westwerkers are always looking for sponsors and supporters. Here is an urgent need to strengthen.
Westwerk has been supported by the city since 1991. This promotion never covered the running costs and all members work as volunteers and butter in money and time for the past 25 years. The money is always scarce, and this need is always inventive. Westwerk needs a promotion that is above the pure operating costs and not below, every cent program must first be earned here.
In the hope that the money is less scarce and the Western workers still remain inventive.
That’s how it should be.
We look forward to everyone.