Each and every child can and should paint – but not every child is given access to art via its family. As part of a pilot project, Achim Freyer, the well-known painter and director, hopes to boost the creativity of primary school pupils far outside of a school setting. All the artworks that are created during the 2-day painting workshop in cooperation with the Freudberg Community School Berlin (Freudberg Gemeinschaftsschule), will be exhibited in Freyer’s KUNSTHAUS and subsequently auctioned off for a good cause. One of the works of art is now on exhibit in the Schulz Hotel Berlin Wall.
A fairytale-like villa
The environment: A magical villa and a huge collection of artworks that are displayed across three floors; hanging from walls and even from ceilings – picture for picture and room for room. Lopsided steps, creaky floorboards, angles, corners and always one room more than you expected – plus a glass veranda with a view to the garden.
A fairytale-like world of adventure for children (though not just them!): a true paradise. Not something that is experienced virtually or via the media but something that is real and palpable, issuing forth from another world, the world of the artist Achim Freyer. And he is here himself in yellow suspenders and with large white dots painted on his black trousers.
An atelier for children
Three, large and high-ceilinged rooms in a villa that is usually reserved for temporary exhibitions. Now this space is being repurposed as a painting studio for children. The floors are covered with paper and a supply of paint and artist’s palettes, paintbrushes and pencils is available for the children to work with. The resources at their disposal are plentiful.
But before they can get started they are given a mission.
Achim Freyer spends the whole morning with the pupils from Freudberg Community School as he guides them through his collection and animatedly talks to them about artists and works of art. His enthusiasm is contagious. The children – equipped with paper and pencils – take notes and make sketches based on what they just heard and saw. A large number of drawings are created this morning.
Inspired by a favorite picture
Children’s hands or, more precisely, their implicit perception and immanent authenticity turn these sketches into works of art in their own right and worthy of a special spot in the exhibition.
These drawings also serve as the starting point for the next day’s work. Taking a cue from their favorite pictures, they begin to paint. First with a bit of hesitation but before long, things explode in a frenzy of materials and colors.
The desire to look at the originals paintings from the collection keeps cropping up. The children are eager to return to the exhibited works to confirm or retrace their memories. They are encouraged to work independently and are also permitted to move about freely throughout the rooms as they explore and gather information.
Collective painting à quatre
Or, in the words of Wolfgang Ullrich: Here at the Achim Freyer Foundation, "we try to hang art lower". In other words, we try to make art more accessible to observers and approachable unreservedly and without fear. With the many themes that these artworks take up – along with their differing formats and artistic techniques –the pictures in the collection inspire the children to experiment themselves when it comes to mixing colors, painting over their work and composing paintings.
Own theme worlds inform their artworks, which take on a life of their own. The children work with intensity and enthusiasm. They also begin to produce collective works, painting one picture as a team of four of five individuals. At the end of each workshop day, the children gather on the veranda to talk with Achim Freyer. They reflect on their impressions and what they experienced and also plan the upcoming exhibition.
Children receive acclaim for their artworks
Achim Freyer approaches the children with a sense of earnestness and esteem that continues in his the analysis of the created works. The selection, the hanging and staging of the works of art – all these things are critical factors for a successful presentation and require a lot of time.
The workshop ends with the start of the exhibition. During the vernissage, the children – along with visitors – are once again given the opportunity to paint. A large blank canvas beckons to be transformed into art; this time exclusively in black. A large communal work of art is created and makes all the experiences of the past days relatable.
"…mit Kinderaugen gesehen (seen with a child’s eyes)…offers impressions into what has not been seen before. Look at things from a new perspective!"
Berlin’s Freundberg Community School, which participated in the pilot project, is all about fair access to education, equal opportunity and cultivating a love of learning. Its pupils represent a cross section of society. In an effort to do its part to realize equity in education, Schulz Hotel donates 5% of its profits to enable disadvantaged pupils to enroll at the school.
Nizar Rokbani, one of the founders and managing directors of Schulz Hotels, is enthusiastic about the art project:
"We are pleased to offer children, who otherwise might have no access to art, the opportunity to get to know and practice art together with a famous and inspiring personality like Achim Freyer. After all, it is not self-evident that children find this access through their families", says Rokbani.