A New ‘Temple’ for Community – Contemplating in Nature and among Modern Art (Stoa169)

You walk a lovely agricultural Bavarian landscape close by a small river. A bend on the trail opens a new sight, and there you see a hall of art in the middle of nature. On a part of an agricultural meadow near the village of Polling, on the banks of the river Ammer, in the middle of Pfaffenwinkel, an open columned hall is being built: the STOA169. More than 100 artists from all continents were selected to design one column each, which together, as an archive of today’s art, would carry the common roof of the STOA169.

Picture sent by Wolfgang Stark

STOA169 reminds not only on meditative buildings in Indian temples or on the buildings of the ancient Greek philosophy of ‘Stoicism’. It is a modern community building architecture in which people of all ages, background, colors can come together. The open hall and more than 100 columns individually designed by well-known artists represent the state of modern art from all continents. simultaneously it reflects our heritage as human beings, our past, present and future challenges as a planetary community.

Does an open hall for art as part of the nature (no walls, no fees, no rules) create community today? It invites individuals, families, young and old to come together and be inspired – connects people who have never met before. Many discover new perspectives by wandering between the columns: for some it is a place for peace like a temple, for others a ‘bonbonierre’ of surprises. Kids just love to run around, hide between or climb the columns. The majority of visitors leaves with shiny eyes and a smile on their face. That is how you create community.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany

More info here at wolfgang.stark@stw.de

Nia Wa Ja Shu – Make the World New A Choral Cantata to Build Communities

In March 2020, days before the first lock-down in Germany, we had our final rehearsals for the world premiere of ‘Nia Wa Ja Shu – Make the World New’ together with more than 260 students and many teachers of a well-known liberal arts school in Germany (Camerloher Gymnasium Freising). The new dramatic choral work, composed by Peter Michael von der Nahmer (New York), has been inspired by ‚Fridays for Future‘-Movement and features ‚paper‘ as a former main carrier of information through the ages – starting from hand-writings to a disposable information carrier of today.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Germany, the world premiere with several performances with 750 visitors each had to be cancelled. Only one performance in front of a camera to record the video could take place. But, this situation has given rise to a project in which many young people have a voice for themselves and their future and the questions that come with it. The young musicians and singers felt understood. They are still able to convey their message over the internet and receive feedback from all over the world.

Even if COVID has forced us all to a different lifestyle and even if the focus of the news is limited to these topics, we should not forget that both art itself has and has always had a meaning, that it brings people together, that it can help to convey and address important issues and that there are still many things in this world that are important to think about.

Story shared by Peter Michael von der Nahmer, Germany.

More info here or please contact at: pmvdn1@gmail.com

Enjoy Art and Nature – Creative Art Bicycle Tours

‘Umanand aufm Land’ (Rumble in the countryside) was the motto of several weekends around Bad Waldsee, a small town in Germany’s south-west. Public biking along a cultural trail has been accompanied by musicians, actors, acrobats, photographers and many more who showed their art along the way. More than 40 artists took part. A local cultural association as organizer, supported by the municipality, and funded by a state corona aid program offered an innovative way to experience creative art in nature.

Picture from dieBildschirmzeitung

The event caused an incredible enthusiasm for organized Creative Arts Bicycle Tours in the countryside with the participation of diverse artists. All kinds of groups enjoyed biking in nature combined with cultural events. The demand by the citizens has been overwhelming. Private sponsors offer their support and Creative Arts Bike Tours will be organized again next year. Local artists finally developed a platform for their work.

These events show that culture and art is an important part in our society. Art not only creates openness and generosity, but also community building in times of crises.

Story shared by Cornelia Gretz, Germany.

More info here or please contact at post@cornelia-gretz.de

Be Elevated! Meet your Loved-Ones in Nursing Homes During Lock-Down from Outside

During Lock-Down nursing homes and hospitals in many countries had to restrict access for visitors and relatives. This causes a lot of isolation and psychological pain both for relatives, patients and residents. An unusual solution has been found for visitors who have been keen enough to get uplifted on to the fourth floor of the buildings from outside. One of the largest suppliers for professional working platforms offered some of their more than 2000 rental working platforms as an innovative visiting device.

Picture by Stephan Rumpf

They place easy-to-use electrical working platforms in front of selected nursing homes. Visitors who wish to communicate with their mother, grandfather or other relatives living in nursing homes, but cannot get access to the rooms due to COVID-19 hygiene restrictions, are invited to get uplifted via the working platform with the help of technical professionals. This is how social isolation in nursing homes and hospitals can be prevented to a certain degree in times of heavy restrictions.

‘Be Elevated’ is a good example for creative partnerships between business and non-profit organizations in times of need. Both parts use their strengths and flexibility to find unexpected solutions for people in need. The example may inspire openness to experiment and co-create innovative solutions linking unusual partners.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany

More info here or at wolfgang.stark@stw.de

Culture Delivery Service

Musicians had no possibility for events, shows and concerts and therefore no income during the lockdown. In Munich they were featured by the so called “Kulturlieferdienst” (Culture Delivery Service) organizing little pop-up concerts in the streets, registered as demonstrations for culture.

Kulturlieferdienst Munich

People had fun joining the spontaneous happening in front of their house, giving donations to the musicians.

The street stage is a real win win situation for everybody!

Story shared by Ina Laux, Germany

More info here or at info@lauxarchitekten.com

1:1 Concerts – How you can Experience an Intimate Form of Community in Public Spaces

A 1:1 CONCERT features a 10 min. non-verbal 1-to-1-encounter between a listener and a musician. The opening eye contact and ensuing mutual gaze is the impulse for a very personal concert where both sides experience an unprecedented intensity allowing proximity from a distance. The concert attendees do not know who is going to play. Whether they hear a jazz saxophone, a double bass or a baroque flute will come as a surprise. Moreover, the concept explores extraordinary concert venues – concerts can take you to an art gallery, a quiet backyard, an empty factory hall or an allotment garden.

Picture by 1:1

1:1 concerts started already in 2019 in a small rural monastery in Volkenroda (Thuringia/Germany). During the lock-down the idea of intimate 1:1 concerts spread from a small monastery in rural Germany to many cities and places and crossed borders to the Netherlands, France, Austria, and even to India and Australia. More will follow.
Both listeners and musicians report that the 1:1-format creates a very intimate and intense experience of belonging and giving. At the same time it is a unique way to enjoy music and connect to a person and to art.
Donations go to an emergency fund for musicians.

To experience community and belonging you do not necessarily need a large group of people. The special moment of being 1:1 with a musician, artist, writer, reader in an performance which is just for you comes as a surprise of feeling a sense of community and deep emotions for both – performer and listener.
1:1-concerts, readings, art or cultural encounters are easy to replicate and to organize. The 10minute-format and the meeting of two people without words only needs small preparation on no permits. They can happen everywhere, even in your garden or backyard. Spread the idea!

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany

More info here or at wolfgang.stark@stw.de

KlangKunst: Creative Choir Rehearsal during Lock-Down

The Covid-19 pandemics changed everything for the ‘Klangkunst’-Choir we are proud to be part of: the lock-down stopped a perfectly planned trip of the choir in April to New York City to perform ‘Carmina Burana’ at Carnegie Hall. Even worse, like for many other music groups, it went from ‘very busy’ preparing performances to ‘no rehearsals at all’ on to ‘online rehearsals restricted by internet quality’ and ‘singing on your own at home’.

Picture sent by Wolfgang Stark

Our longing to sing together created inspiring ideas: to meet as a regular choir was impossible due to Corona restrictions; but when public rallies with up to 50 people have been allowed again by local authorities, Andrea, our choir director, asked for permission for a public rally called ‘Klangkunst Choir Public Rehearsing’. Physical distancing and each singer’s individual place has been assured using colorful knots on a ‘chorus line’ (see picture).

Singing in the parking lot in the back of the town hall 6 feet from each other has been both a special and beautiful experience for all of us: late April has been cold, but lovely in Germany and it was not easy to listen to your singing buddys. But, the idea of singing in public inspired us and changed our view of the value of not only doing music together but also feeling as a community and sharing our common passion.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany

More info here or at wolfgang.stark@stw.de

COVID-Comedy-Video-Series

My sister and my brother-in-law made a series of comedy videos during the lockdown. These videos were sent to family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues to spread cheerfulness and laughter in this serious, disturbing time.

The recipients of the videos were pleased that they could at least see my sister and my brother-in-law in the video, since personal meetings were not possible. Thus one felt closer again, despite the distance. In addition, the funny content of the videos was a welcome change in the midst of the disturbing news. Many recipients felt that a newly released video was often the highlight of the day, as it made everyday life, which was marked by social withdrawal, a little happier.

With regard to social interaction: The videos were a good occasion to get in touch with each other and to exchange ideas. The effort that went into creating the videos was worth it, as it brought cheerfulness to the recipients and gave them a sense of closeness. With regard to technology: An Internet connection that is too slow has often meant that the videos could only appear after a considerable delay.

Picture by John Barnard Whittaker “Comedy and Tragedy”, Brooklyn Museum.

Story shared by Franziska Schulz, Germany

More info at franziska.schulz@hochschule-bc.de

Stories of Corona everyday life

After the lockdown in the course of the Corona Pandemic almost the whole public life in our small village has come to a standstill. The official community newsletter, which is delivered to every household on Thursday, became thinner and thinner as there was hardly anything to report except the regulation of the lockdown. That is why we started the series “Stories of Corona Everyday Life”.

For 8 weeks now we have been collecting stories about the changes in everyday life during the Corona crisis, the worries and fears, but also encouraging experiences.

A few extracts: A woman reports about her concerns when her husband was ill. When news came that he was negative, she looked after her orchard and saw a stump with new shoots: “That’s what spring looks like – old things fade away, new things grow.” My 85 year old neighbour tells how she lacks contact to other people, but many have offered help. The football player misses the sociability and weekly structure given by football. He’s constantly thinking about what he would normally doing right now. And a group of women has started sewing face masks almost in piecework.

We get very personal stories, which are also an expression of the overall social situation and uncertainty. However, every story contains not only uncertainty, loss or concern, it also contains new perspectives and positive experiences that encourage others. The citizens’ stories are now eagerly awaited. Last week, the community newsletter was delivered one day later on Friday. This has caused many to go to the mailbox again and again and to ask the neighbours if they already had the newsletter.

Story shared by Luise Behringer, Germany.

More info here or contact luise.behringer@ksh-m.de

Social Hackathons vs Corona

Around March 15, 2020 German Start-Up-Companies, the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Social Entrepreneurship Foundation, Impact Hub Berlin and a large group of ‘Techies’ collaborated with the German Government in a call on a nation-wide hackathon to cope with social consequences of corona. Within one week, more than 40.000 participants, more than 2.000 innovators and 3.000 mentors registered and joined in a 48-hour hackathon.

As a result, hundreds of project ideas how to cope with corona have been developed within one weekend, 200 projects have been selected for a short-list and 20 projects received funding awards.

As a consequence, regional coworking spaces and other urban and rural initiatives are planning social hackathons in their region.

Social Hackathons may be future tools for addressing challenges in communities and local regions. May attract specifically young people of the area who could collaborate with administration, politicians and business people. Easy to be supported and funded by local companies and administrations.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany.

More info here.