Berlin’s bustling creative scene
As an open-minded, welcoming city, Berlin offers a high quality of life. The mix of cultures meeting in the capital, in addition to the active creative scene and growing startup economy, provide a healthy climate for businesses and young entrepreneurs in the area.
Berlin is also home to some of the world’s acclaimed and independent galleries, attracting collectors from around the world. Besides large museums like the Pergamon, there are a growing number of exhibition spaces like the C/O Gallery and Berlinische Galerie, where emerging talent can stage exhibitions alongside more established artists.
Kulturherbst – Cultural Autumn
When summer is over the weather may be cooling off but the creative scene heats up during Berlin’s Kulturherbst - cultural autumn. With events happening all over the city throughout the year, every autumn the cultural season kicks off with big annual events. Some of the key creative events happening this season include:
The Long Night of Museums - Museumsnacht
Museumsnacht kicks off the capital’s season of culture at the end of August. During the Long Night of Museums, more than 80 museums and cultural institutions open their doors to exhibit their collections outside normal times into the wee hours of the morning. The one-day event gives up-close views of paintings, sculptures and installations, and also hosts numerous live art performances and concerts.
Berlin Art Week is a highlight of the capital’s art calendar and happens at the end of September, featuring international art fairs, exhibition openings, award ceremonies, artist films, and numerous special events. New artist feature along well-known contemporaries in a wide range of genres.
This year’s edition was especially colourful with galleries welcoming over 120,000 visitors over the span of five days.
Bürgerfest: Day of German Unity Celebrations
From 1 to 3 October, the community-focused Bürgerfest celebrated volunteer initiatives, organisations and the life-changing work they do under the motto "Only with you". This diverse programme featured live music, theatre performances and talks, and encouraged people – and artists – to tackle social challenges through community projects.
Festival of Lights
Each year in October, Berlin turns into a city full of light art. The artful displays on the famous landmarks, monuments, buildings and places are turning the FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS into one of the best known light art festivals in the world. National as well as international artists are presenting their brilliant light installations and thus, transform the city into a huge stage. They tell stories, draw attention to the special and present their cultures, arts, crafts and messages. Berlin landmarks, historical places, streets, squares, trendy neighborhoods and hotspots of recent history are staged with light.
European Month of Photography
The newly-launched European Month of Photography runs from the 28 September - 31 October and features 120 exhibitions and 300 events.
100 Years of Revolution
November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the revolution and the end of the First World War. The commemorative ‘100 years of revolution’ will happen throughout the city at 100 locations where the revolution took place. Events and exhibitions offer insight into historical events and highlight how they’ve shaped modern German society.
Funding, Residencies and Exchanges
The capital has become an ideal place for up-and-coming artists to launch their career as smaller collections and galleries help artist stage public viewings, as well as support through sponsored fellowships and competitions.
Funding provided by the Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs focuses on aiding outstanding projects across the non-commercial cultural sector in areas like visual and performing arts, photography, new media, literature, music and cross-disciplinary work. Furthermore, Creative City Berlin provides in-depth information about funding schemes, research programmes, venture capital funds and more financing opportunities for creatives in Berlin.
Projekt Zukunft supports the city’s creative economy via cultural interactions, digital and creative networks, and exchanges with businesses and innovative projects. Together with media:net.berlinbrandenburg e. V. many networking events and opportunities for Berlin businesses are created.
Some cultural institutions also offer short or medium-term Artist in Residence programmes, and community projects like Artconnect Berlin provide advice about getting your creative project off the ground.
If you’re a self-employed artist, you may also be eligible for a social insurance system, the “Künstlersozialkasse” (KSK), which entitles you to a 50% reduction in insurance costs; the state of Germany pays half of your fees.
The Best of Berlin
After the summer break, various theaters and concert halls are back on schedule with different events happening every day. If you feel like taking on the cultural side of Berlin, we have the perfect guide for you.
Text: Trish Elms for Uhura Creative Media
Header Image: Oana Popa