An article by Alternative Art Guide
When you enter Kunstraum, it is impossible to not think of the history of its surrounding neighbourhood. Located on the Old Street post-war estate near the Barbican centre, Kunstraum can be found in an old church hall. The walls are rich with the memory of generations gone by. The area has experienced great change over the last 50 years with a complete rebuild in the 1960s following the destruction the Blitz becoming. And in recent years, the area has become a commercial hotspot attracting new businesses, media and tenants. However, there is still a strong sense of community within the area. Generations of families still live in the surrounding housing blocks and have been a powerful resistance to this expansive gentrification project.
So how does Kunstraum fit into this? Nestled in the low apartment buildings on Roscoe Street, Kunstraum has been naturally nestled by the local community.
Over the last 8 years, since its first opening, Kunstraum has worked hard to integrate and include the local neighbours as much as they can. The ethos of inclusion stands strong within the walls of the project space. They are interested in being welcoming; they are invested in inviting in locals of all walks of life to experience the art that they exhibit.
This integration links in well with the three point program that the space runs: Friends and Neighbours, Kunstraum Live and Exhibitions.
Friends and Neighbours aims to connect the local community through ongoing projects with neighbouring organisations. Kunstraum works with local playgrounds, housing blocks and ongoing events like their carnival to include and excite the local population.
Kunstraum Live is a major part of the organisation: the team organise around 20 events a year which explore a range of different topics including lectures and performances. They have, over the past few years, invited a range of international artists all with different yet equally interesting backgrounds.
Regarding their exhibitions, Kunstraum has built a reputation internationally for producing ambitious and innovative exhibitions and performance projects.
So what does it mean to visit Kunstraum? Well you’ll have to find out for yourself. But one thing is for sure, upon entering the one church hall, you feel as though you have found yourself in the heart of a vibrant and historic London neighbourhood.