Cinema, Museums, Supporting Artists: How Cultural Institutions Help Ukrainian Refugees – Culture

Evil forces kidnap a baby dragon. An elf and a raccoon help free him. The 2019 Ukrainian children’s film Clara and the Magical Dragon takes on a whole new meaning with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But refugee children and families who attend the free specials at Berlin’s Hackesche Höfe cinema are especially happy about the short distraction, said managing director Gerhard Gross.

Like many cultural institutions today, his cinema also offers free admission to refugees. “Most of the guests we receive are women with children – their children or relatives and friends.” That is why he wants to include several Ukrainian children’s films in the program, starting with “Klara” at the end of March.

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The film will be shown in the original language – without subtitles in German, which primary school and preschool children will not be able to process. “You have to make a decision.” Gross also wants to show films without dialogue like “Shaun the Sheep,” preferably for “welcome” classes of Germans and Ukrainians.

In the art world, too, many institutions give Ukrainian refugees entry for free. “We not only want to express our solidarity symbolically, but also very privately,” a staff member at the Berlin Museum of Technology writes to Tagesspiegel. Since March 9, people from Ukraine have free entry there. So far we’ve made 1,048 visits.”

Here, too, entry is free for people from Ukraine: at the Berlinische Galerie.Photo: Promo / Nina Strassguetl

The Berlinische Galerie and Berlin’s State Museums, which include the Old and New National Gallery, also waive entry to Ukrainian refugees. Ukrainian identity card, passport or residence permit is sufficient as evidence.

Artists’ shows

Many homes not only make going to the museum easier for Ukrainians. There are also numerous performances by Ukrainian artists. The Professional Association of Plastic Artists in Berlin (BBK Berlin), for example, has waived fees for using ceramics, media and sculpture workshops, such as ovens, to refugees since the start of the week.

In addition, BBK in Berlin put its own directory online on March 31, which refugees can use to find and rent studio space. “We need urgent help,” says employee Jana Burkhart. Nearly a thousand regular state-funded studio places are subject to a long-term privatization process; On the other hand, the current offering is a kind of “bulletin board,” according to Burckhardt. BBK Berlin verifies the ads and then publishes them on the website. However, only a few have been received so far.

Community studios on the outskirts of Berlin

The Künstlerhof Frohnau on the outskirts of Berlin allocates shared studios with sleeping quarters. “Seven rooms, five of which are currently occupied,” says CEO Kaya Bhakalam. Communications were made mostly via Instagram, with Künstlerhof posting an appeal. “There are also people now who aren’t entertainers at all, but who just connect quickly,” says Bhakalam.

There are “forty to fifty” ordinary studios. Refugee assistance is intended for short-term stays of “a few weeks or months”. During this time, the Künstlerhof supports the residents in their daily lives: with visits to the authorities, for example, or with corona vaccinations. “We want to provide a support network.” A joint art festival is scheduled for the fall.

The Art Foundation grants 2.5 million euros

“We are faster and more flexible than government funding,” says Martin Horns, general secretary of the Ernst von Siemens Foundation for the Arts. The private foundation offers 2.5 million euros to hire Ukrainian restorers in German museums.

Museums must submit applications. Usually they already have contact with some colleagues from Ukraine that they can work with. So you are the candidate the organization uses to keep the program running efficiently. “We don’t look long to see if the Ukrainian scores match up with the German scores — or something. It’s important to us: can someone work quickly in the museum?” Horns says that the “classic case” is “an art historian with a child fighting.” her husband now.”

Among the funded museums are the Bode Museum in Berlin and the State Art Collections in Dresden, as well as the much smaller Lübeck Museums. For example, they are looking for an employee to review a Ukrainian folklore group. “Museums always have very few staff,” Horns says. Thanks to their experience, the refugees have done valuable work. “The program is not only charitable, there are outputs.”

Seven contracts have already been concluded, and the foundation has already spent almost half a million euros on them. Contracts are usually limited to one year. But most refugees want to return sooner.”

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