On our journey back from Teufelsberg our guide informed us about something called “Hometown” and it’s located close to your hotel, she said.
“Thousands of artists * are looking for affordable space, while studios, workshops and open spaces are disappearing. Even Berlin studio commissioner Martin Schwegmann says: The million-dollar program against the studio emergency is almost ineffective. 80 per cent of the approximately 10,000 artists * registered in 2016 looking for studios; Every year, 350 affordable studios fall away, and the trend is rising.” (info: hometown web.site)
So an open-air gallery was created sponsored by many companies, but what I understand one of the biggest sponsors are Berlin Red Buses. They have donated 2 buses that the gallery use as bar and DJ housing. Because in the evenings the gallery turns into a music venue.
Very easy for me to find – just in the back of Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway station, about 15 min walk from my hotel. I had seen the area from the train and was wondering what it was. First I thought it was a travelling circus.
A little rough area to pass … loads of homeless were gathered around the railway bridge, but I felt safe and the bus depot is just by.
No entrance fee … but in the evening I think it cost €5.00 – they have guided tours for €5.25 and they are closed on Monday.
As I arrived a very nice man came up to me … and said if I had any questions he will try to give me an answer. He also introduced me to some of the art and the artists.
Truly amazing place and I really enjoyed spending time there. At first, I was the only one there, but more and more people arrived … and so did some artists.
I was informed that anyone can come and do their pieces, they don’t have to order wall space if there is free space … just to get the spray bottles out.
One of the graffiti (elephant head) is made by Otto Schade, a world famous artist that paints all over the world. A Chilean artist and architect based in London, which art has a price tag from £1.800 upwards. I was told that he has decided that the money he makes on his elephant paintings will go to a foundation to save the world’s elephants.
Then families started to arrive and … they were provided with a white wall, spray bottles and protective masks. They were showed how to use stencils and how to hold the spray bottles. Then they are shown how to work by freehand .. starting with their names.
They were a bit shy in the start but it didn’t take long until the creativity started to flow …. and for the parents too. What a fantastic way to spend a sunny Sunday together with your kids. One of the families were Finish but lived in Berlin. I had the same enjoyment to watch the kids … as they did. It didn’t take long until the white wall was full.
I spent a couple of hours there … and with an ice cold lemonade … enjoyed the sunshine with trying to keeping the head under shade.
In the afternoon had a booked time at the Reichstag Building to visit their famous dome, so I was in no rush.
I enjoyed some great fried chicken at Risa Chicken at Hardenbergplatz …. before I headed for the “bushalte” for #100, it should have taken me directly to the parliament in 15 minutes time. As I arrived the stop a bus just departure and I missed it. After that, #100 was cancelled … because of an event at the Brandenburger Tor.
So I had to take my thinking cap on … look at the public transport map and try to get there using train and underground. It worked fine … until I left the underground station and came out on the “wrong” side of the Brandenburger Tor and had to walk in frying hot sunshine, no shade anywhere.
It was the It was the DE Football World Cup 2018 event … International Fan Fest Berlin at Brandenburg Gate … with loads of artists … and it was the final game: France vs Croatia, that cancelled my bus. Never seen so much people and police. An admission-free event.
I will come back to my dome adventure in my next post.
“A city without graffiti is a city without a soul”