I am really pleased to be able to interview Elaine Vis about this year’s spectacular treat for lovers of the creative arts in Utrecht, the Atelierroute. She is incredibly busy as she and her colleagues put the final touches to the programme, so we were lucky to catch her.
Elaine Vis is a visual artist specialising in site specific and installation art. She is also a journalist and organizer for Projectteam Kunstliefde for Atelierroute Utrecht and UtrechtDownUnder.
Take a look at her web site to see what she can produce: www.elainevis.nl Her work is stunningly original.
I started by asking Elaine where did the idea for the Atelierroute come from? It seems that it just happened, though a great deal of hard work goes into it.
“In Holland there are many cities where the artists open their workshop doors once a year for the general public. So that the public can take a look ‘in the kitchen’ of the artist.”
She thinks that it is surprising to see how different the professional practice of artists can be. And that through this scheme we can get to know the artist and interesting conversations can arise, both about the techniques that are applied and about the ideas underlying the artworks.
The key to this is that, “It is naturally a matter of bringing a broad public in contact with art. For free.”
The Atelierroute Utrecht is organized by the project team of Kunstliefde Ruimte voor Beeldende Kunst in Utrecht.
Kunstliefde, is an artists’ society, founded in 1807, and is one of the oldest artists’ associations in the Netherlands (Rietveld, Mondrian and Dick Bruna were members).
She explained that
“In the exhibition space at the Nobelstraat Utrecht, Kunstliefde create 10 exhibitions per year with extra attention for contemporary art, Utrecht artists and young, appealing talent. In addition to the exhibition program, there are stage evenings, courses on the Nobelstraat in Kunstliefde.
Every year ten recently graduated artists take part in De Belofte, a project run by Kunstliefde.”
This is an incredibly forward-looking initiative by the society and artists should be aware of the opportunities and the public should take advantage od the exhibitions that are delivered for them.
Atelierroute Utrecht is for all artists in the city, not just for members. Every two years, a large audience gets the chance to take a look at the studios of Utrecht creatives.
In addition to the Atelierroute, the project team of Kunstliefde is organizing UtrechtDownUnder. This is a biennial exhibition at a surprising location in the city with mainly current, high-quality art from Utrecht in 2019.
Is Utrecht a particularly artistic city, I asked Elaine? From my own experience, it is and I wondered why.
“The students of the School of the Arts choose to live in Utrecht more and more after their education. In the past they left for Amsterdam and Rotterdam because there were more facilities such as studio spaces for artists.”
This shows that Utrecht is more than just a place where Universities and Schools are. It is a living breathing city that welcomes people to stay. Her doors always seem open and it is wonderful that students feel at ease here enough to become citizens of the city.
Elaine thinks that the infrastructure in Utrecht has now improved and that many more studio spaces are being built and there are various platforms for showing art.
“In addition, Utrecht is expanding on the outskirts of the city, while interesting start-ups and artists’ workshops are emerging on industrial sites such as the Werkspoorkwartier.”
During the Atelierroute you will be able to take a look behind the scenes and see exactly how much work goes into being an “artist”.
Elaine loves the fact that, “Utrecht has beautiful museums (Centraal museum, Catharijne Convent, Universiteitsmuseum) where contemporary art also has a place. In addition, contemporary art can also be seen at artists’ initiatives and research institutions such as BAK, Casco and Fotodok.”
If there is any criticism it is that the gallery circuit is limited. But for fine art it is best to go to gallery Utrecht and for contemporary art to Sanaa, KUUB, Moira and Kunstliefde.
Although Elaine is one of the organizers she will still be taking part this year and she is renowned for her Installation art. To get a taste of her imaginative work take a look at her website here. www.elainevis.nl
I wondered what this year’s highlights are, Elaine thought for a while before choosing, “Salon of Utrecht and Amersfoort based artists in the beautiful Rietveld Paviljoen Zonnehof in Amersfoort.”
This has been open since 12 of September).
I asked Elaine whether Utrecht inspired her. Her reply was in itself inspirational
“Yes, a vivid beautiful medieval centre with young highly educated inhabitants. Scale perfect, in a few minutes you can go out of the crowd and be in parks and woods outside the city. But it is the challenge for the politics that the city will not grow too much; so that living, festivals and tourism will be in balance.”
As usual, I asked our interviewee where her favourite place in Utrecht was? Elaine had two, “The Pandhof near the Dom and the Zocherplantsoen, the park around the inner city. A bench near Sonnenburg in this park.”
I wondered if Utrecht did enough for the creative arts?
Elaine replied, “Today the city profiles as a city of ‘the creatives’ the people who make things; artists, designers, game industry. So, there are facilities created by the city. Most outside the centre, because there is still space and there are the old industrial buildings.”
In the past she thought that there weren’t enough spaces for artists, but now she sees that new studio spaces are being developed in Leidsche Rijn.
I asked who should take the lead in the artistic world, promoting and sharing. Elaine thought it should be the Municipality and the Artists themselves.
The organisation is grateful to the municipality for financial support and also for the contributions from the artists who made the studio route possible.
Wes should note that in addition, Kunstliefde is the initiator of Art Utrecht, the digital platform for visual art in the city with the project team of Marion Wagenvoort, Monique Sep, Elaine Fish, Lou Vos, Brigitte Heslenfeld and Mariël Oolthuis.
So, take the opportunity to look behind the scenes of the artist’s workplace.
And in this case, there are a myriad of different types of artist. There should be any number that inspire you and the web sites on this page should do the same.
Why not get involved.? Ask the artists where you could learn the skills on show. It is never too late to start.
and to see a list of all participants and cycle and walking tours of the project, check out their website: www.atelierrouteutrecht.nl