A Perfect Place for Artists | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 17.08.2004
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A Perfect Place for Artists

A new cultural concept in the western German town of Essen offers artists free space and inspiration to work on their projects.


The "Unperfekthaus" promotes messy creativity

When Reinhard Wiesemann bought a villa to offer computer software training a few years ago, he came to appreciate imperfection.

"It was a construction site, but it was really fun to work in that environment," Wiesmann told DW-WORLD. "It was very productive."

Now the computer specialist is hoping to replicate that atmosphere for artists. He has transformed a former monastery in the middle of Essen into a "creative center" to give young artists a chance to focus on their work without having to worry about paying the rent.

"Everyone who has something to offer gets a room free of charge," Wiesemann said, adding that artists just have to present ideas that are creative, interesting and legal.

Besides the space, the basement of the Unperfekthaus, or imperfect house, is filled with materials, such as wood and paint, that ompanies have donated to the project.

While the building's official opening is scheduled for October, 140 artists have already begun working in studios on six floors.

Imperfection sparks creativity

Das Unperfekthaus in Essen

The Unperfekthaus in Essen

The house lacks a coherent design, but that's part of the concept to encourage creativity, Wiesemann said.

"People cannot do anything in a perfect environment and (just)become spectators," he said. "The more the surroundings fade into the background, the more active people can become."

To fund the project, Wiesemann charges admission. Visitors coming to the house can, among other things, watch artists working in their studios, participate in yoga classes or attend lectures.

"If things keep going the way they are, the project will finance itself," he said.

Petra Salhöfer, who directs Essen's culture office, said she welcomed the center.

"It's a great idea," Salhöfer said, adding that she hopes similar projects will be set up elsewhere as well to offer young artists a chance to get started.

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