The Northern Times, together with The Waterhouse Gallery, take a post-festival look at holding The Waterhouse Gallery Festival during the Coronavirus pandemic: “For the situation we are in, this was a perfect compromise”
By Adriana Dancu
The Waterhouse Gallery was a social art festival, lasting one month-from November 14 to December 13, exhibiting a variety of art pieces focusing on street and fine art by both local and international artists. The festival, part of the Viva con Agua foundation and charity for water access, looked at a variety of water-related issues, and considered how to sustainably improve global access to water and sanitation.
Organising an art festival with a social function as well is demanding and time-consuming, especially in these trying times. To see if the festival achieved its aims, while respecting the anti-Coronavirus measure, we spoke to both an organiser, and an artist from The Waterhouse Festival. They described the fun they had participating in this festival, and what they could improve in future exhibitions.
“A breath of fresh air you might say”
Annika Klingenberg, an organizser with the Waterhouse Gallery, and Daniel, whose artist name is Natte Sokken, said that it was a pleasure to get involved in such an interesting project. They said they met amazing people, and for both of them, their study field and love for arts motivated them to be a part of the festival.
For Annika, one of the advantages of having an outside exhibition, is that “you don’t have to pay an entrance ticket or come at a certain time,” people were free to roam the canal, and enjoy the art whenever they wanted, a way to “democratise art,” as Annika put it. Daniel, however, tried to put more emphasis on the paintings: “to me it felt like attention for the art wasn’t a given. My response to this was to try and create something that tries taking this attention. It might tell the people walking in the streets to look around and smile!”
According to Annika, the festival tried to connect to, and convey, Viva con Agua’s goals. Therefore, the decision to organise the festival along the Groningen canal was not coincidental, and neither was the exhibited art. “I didn’t use the message [of Viva con Agua] as a starting point. But to me there is a correlating message in the end product,” says Daniel
When asked what they would improve in a future exhibition, Annika said that she would try and focus more on the interactive aspect, when watching the paintings. Daniel said that he would focus more on making art stand out: “I would add little spotlights on the paintings, give it that late night museum feel.”
The Waterhouse Gallery festival was a pleasure to organise and participate in for both Annika and Daniel. They got to do what they love, while at the same time raise awareness about an important world issue.
The Waterhouse Gallery will be back in Groningen with more exhibitions at the beginning of next year, however, the pandemic will influence their format.
Image via the Waterhouse Gallery