How can public art inspire social change?
Berlin and Prague are hubs for makers, innovators and artists. Public art, be it music or street art, builds connections between communities. From government-sanctioned graffiti walls designed to spark a conversation to modern sculptures and monuments, Berlin and Prague are the ideal place to kick-start an exploration of public art. In these cities, we can explore the roots of the local creative movements and consider how we can use public art of all kinds to impact the world around us.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city has become the creative capital of Europe attracting all sorts of artists and social entrepreneurs from around the world to this dynamic and changing city. Prague also underwent its transformation and has emerged as a city of public (and at times controversial) artwork.
In both cities we can work with local artists and social innovators to learn about how the cities are becoming centers of expression and creativity. We can hang out with graffiti artists and technologists (we can have a stronger STEM focus too) and explore how art played a role in the history of the region and the fall of the Iron curtain. We will visit the Lennon wall in Prague and the East Side Gallery to see some of the more historical public art but also visit contemporary museums and monuments and visit some of the emerging spots in both cities.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has become an epicenter of creativity and entrepreneurship in central Europe. We will work with local innovators to study the creativity and unique culture of the city. We’ll explore the city’s famous sites, both modern and old, and speak with experts to learn how the city has managed to develop some of the most artistic communities in Europe. Students will engage in meaningful conversations with locals about the city’s graffiti walls and what the art means to the community - with a special look at some of the more controversial art by David Cerny, a famous Czech artist known for his political commentary.
We will explore the old town of Prague as we learn how the city evolved over centuries, as history always has an effect on communities and the arts. From a visit to the Lennon Wall to a street art workshop, we will fully immerse ourselves in the culture and history of Czech creativity.
We will also pay a visit to a local tech and social entrepreneurship center to meet with innovators and startups to get inspiration for our work. From our connections with local artists, techies, social entrepreneurs and makers, we will begin to draft up our own ideas to make America more creative and bring the importance of public art to the forefront.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and an EU political and economic leader. Berlin’s unique history will influence our trip as we visit parts of the city formed on both sides of the wall. We will see how the collapse of East Germany has created the perfect conditions for one of the most creative and progressive cities in Europe to flourish.
We will take a “creative tour” of the city, visiting local art galleries, museums, design workshops, and maker-spaces. We will meet with local artists and innovators who are inspired by the city, and learn how the culture of Berlin has evolved to embrace its vivid history. Here, we’ll station ourselves in a local workspace where we can start to flesh-out and design our own projects or unravel the connection between art and history. With all of the compiled research and experiences, students will have the tools to create their own public arts projects or ideas.
Variations & Projects:
On trips to Berlin, Germany, or Prague, Czech Republic, we can add other stops in artistic cities in either country or even a bit further afield. From spending time in Hamburg or even heading further North to the design mecca of Copenhagen, to shorter stops in Dresden, Leipzig, or moving South to Budapest there are a lot of directions to go for a trip anchored in Berlin & Prague (or even just one city).
From an outcome or project standpoint the trip can be an introduction to art, post-communist expression, or street art specifically. The trip can also be a jumping off point for students to create their own projects or even art pieces. After spending time exploring the movements, history, and creatives in both cities, we can settle into Berlin and get our own work-space for students to create their own public art pieces inspired by the trip, mentored by locals, and even tested around the city.