Firms in Hamburg becoming patrons of the arts

24 February 2021
Cool ideas including foundations, collecting stickers and cultural exchange

Surviving a dry spell of almost a year is proving more than challenging for artists. And the situation is dire for lighting and sound technicians, stage builders and the event technology specialists behind the events. A new initiative called the "Kulturbörse - Wirtschaft hilft Kultur- (wirtschaft)" is now targeting the roadies most of whom are self-employed. Launched by Kai Maser, founder of the Heimat2050 artists agency, and the musician Stefan Gwildis, the duo has approached the HASPA bank with their idea.

EUR 150,000 for artists’ roadies

"That was in last November," said Stefanie von Carlsburg, Head of HASPA Corporate Communications. "Their idea involved approaching entrepreneurs in our customer network, who could potentially act as patrons, and putting us in contact with artists’ roadies." HASPA liked the idea and began turning it around in the evenings and at the weekends. Around EUR 150,000 has been raised in this way. "It's going very well," von Carlsburg stressed. Certain supporters prefer to remain anonymous. However, German singer songwriter Ina Müller's roadies have received backing from Heiko Spiering, CEO of HSP Hanse Shopping, while the Adler Apotheke in Wandsbek has come to the rescue of the Hidden Shakespeare improvisation theatre company.

Stefanie von Carlsburg

Helpful, protective masks for the self-employed 

The Adler Apotheke is using a "corona" stream of revenue to help professionals who have been badly hit by the pandemic. Elderly and at-risk patients are entitled to six FFP2 masks in pharmacies for a price of EUR 2, if they present a certificate of eligibility. "The Adler pharmacy is passing on this money to the cultural exchange," said von Carlsburg. The roadies behind musician and songwriter Antje Schomaker and singer Annett Louisan are among those who can now look forward to this financial backing.

Hidden Shakespeare Improvisation theatre

Sponsors for roadies 

The supporters are akin to patrons. "A quid pro quo such as a private concert for the staff can be agreed upon, but is not a must," von Carlsburg explained. The patrons do not receive a receipt for donations either as "neither we, nor the agency and artists are non-profit organizations," she added. The HASPA customers lending their support do so because they want to help out where possible.

Urban aid and help from foundations 

This desire to help is spreading all over Hamburg. The Ministry of Culture and Media recently increased funds for the independent performing arts by EUR 350,000 to EUR 1.8 million in the 2021/22 season. By late 2020, the Dorit & Alexander Otto Foundation had lent EUR 550,000 to 227 projects through its "Kultur hält zusammen" fund. The foundation has earmarked EUR 1 million to safeguard the diversity of culture in Hamburg.

Collect, paste - help

Passionate collectors can also come to the rescue of the cultural scene. Oliver Wurm and Alexander Böker, the founders of the Juststickit! company that develops Panini albums for cities and German states, are encouraging people to collect stickers in albums under #TeamHamburg. More than 200 Hamburg-based actors, athletes, musicians, authors, journalists and politicians with and without masks are portrayed on the stickers. Around 50,000 albums and 2.5 million stickers are on sale at kiosks all over Hamburg. All profits go towards Hamburg's cultural scene.


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