In the new edition of The Berlin Experts we talked with Julia, Rica and Maria, from networking platform Artconnect Berlin. It started off as project to connect the different creative branches and personalities in Berlin, but it quickly grew into a highly valuable agency for creatives and creative businesses in our city. In the last years the guys behind it have been helping and supporting talented freelancers and professionals who have landed in the creative scene of Berlin, offering them not only the opportunity to express themselves but also to share their skills with the right people and build a constant strong network of contacts around them. Enjoy what Artconnect is all about and how important their faith in Berlin is, after the jump.
How did you come up with the idea of starting Artconnect Berlin and what is it about?
Julia: Artconnect Berlin started because of the need of putting all the creatives that come to Berlin in touch with each other. The idea was born because I had multiple jobs (artist assistant, gallery assistant and freelance web designer) and I realized that for some reason I was the meeting point for a lot of people to get in touch. I saw there was a need for getting connected and how difficult it was for some of my friends to come to Berlin and integrate.
I also saw the huge potential that many of these people had but how it got lost because they couldn’t find jobs or help in how to start. I was sure that something could be done about it and I decided to create a network to connect people, centralize the information about the creative scene and keep them informed.
Since then Artconnect Berlin has evolved into something slightly different. Now we do not only try to centralize information, keep them informed about events, opportunities and arts, and give them an online & offline space to get in touch with each other; now we also offer educational services through our workshops but most importantly we have an agency, to provide jobs to many of these talents that live in Berlin and make sure that Berlin’s potential is reinvested into its creative scene and does not fly away somewhere else. We want to help the city become a place for artists to stay and not simply go through. We want to make it home and keep it cool.
Artconnect Berlin is a doorway for newcomers to Berlin’s creative community. How do you support them in their careers and projects?
Rica: We support them in several ways:
1) We give them a platform, where everyone can make a portfolio profile for free and a blog to browse through and discover who and what’s going on in Berlin. They can get in touch with people and participate in open calls, events, etc.
2) We offer them workshops to introduce them in Berlin, like for example, Creative Freelancing in Berlin, which is a workshop for those who want to start freelancing in the city.
3) We try to give them jobs through our agency making sure they can stay in Berlin and keep this place as cool as it is now
4) We try to bring different kind of activities in our space in Neukölln in which creatives can meet people from Berlin’s creative scene.
What is the best part your job?
Maria: Meeting great people from all over the world, building strong friendships, learning from our co-workers and discovering interesting projects in Berlin.
How does Artconnect Berlin reflect your own integration with the creative scene of Berlin?
Rica: I like the idea of giving a space for expression to everyone, I try to connect and help as many people as I can. And that’s how I see Artconnect Berlin, a place where people can have their own space for expression, a place where creatives can be heard and helped. I also think Artconnect Berlin is not only a reflection of the people who run it but the people who make it: its users.
If you had the opportunity to improve something in the art scene of our city, what would it be?
Julia: I would make it more even (or democratic) without such elitism and give more chances to upcoming talented artists.
What are your top three advices for young creatives just starting out?
Maria: Get organized and structured, know how to present your art, not only produce it! And network Go around, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. And always have business cards with you wherever you go – even if it’s just the link for your online portfolio.
What is coming up next for Artconnect Berlin?
Rica: Every 2 months we have our Networking Brunches, we just hosted the last one a few weeks ago with the amazing people from EyeEm and Artfridge. The next one is in on August 17th with the guys from Sonice Development and ÜBerlin.
September will be also a hot month with the Social Media Week, where we are responsible for the “art day” in the festival, Artconnect Berlin’s birthday and a big surprise that we can’t say now… but to keep track of all our activities, people just need to follow us on Facebook or sign our newsletter, we promise not to spam anyone!
Julia, Rica, Maria