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Museums Collaboration in Amsterdam Nieuw-West


Through this pilot with Amsterdam Museum & Van Eesteren Museum, SAMA will explore and develop the use of street art as a tool to discuss topics that matter in a collaboration.

Many street artists consider street art to be little gifts to the citizens. Free art. At SAMA we agree. But street art does a lot more than providing a smile. We see how street art functions as a tool for social purposes. SAMA beliefs in democratic approaches and is known for its participative projects. To actively involve local residents in street art projects, SAMA has experimented with different methods, from organising accessible street art activities with food and music, to offering full decision making in choosing the art work out of various artist sketches, to co-creation of a mural. We also experienced how street art functions as a tool for dialogue.

'Street art as a tool' method

SAMA will further explore and develop the use of street art as a tool to discuss topics that matter in a collaboration pilot with the Amsterdam Museum and the Van Eesteren Museum. In this collaboration, we will organise street art workshops around selected topics for local residents and entrepreneurs. A new facet in this pilot for SAMA is that the shared thoughts, ideas and stories on these topics will be documented. The output of the workshops provide insight in what resonates with the local community and can help generate new and relevant content for public programming.

Our main idea is that Nieuw-West is a Garden City: living, recreation, no industry, working outside the city district. The district has four valuable collections, namely the Van Eesteren collection, the collection of art in public space (originated with the 1% scheme in the 1960s), the wall art collection from the same period and a contemporary collection of approximately 250 Street Art works.

The nature of the collections, namely collections that can be viewed in public space, is closely related to the idea of ​​the Garden City. By connecting these collections in the form of public offerings, the story of the Garden City and how it develops can be told.

Collaboration between the collections already takes place sporadically, for example, the Van Eesteren Museum developed a podcast about wall art in 2021, in which it also included art from the SAMA collection.

In addition, we see that the Amsterdam Museum is developing projects in Nieuw-West, such as the temporary Jacob van Geel Museum and 'Women of Nieuw-West', with which they collect stories from residents and offer them a platform. It would be nice if the various collections were connected and the organizations worked together more. Both the Van Eesteren Museum and the Street Art Museum are small organizations that work hard to keep their heads above water. The two public collections are maintained by the Kunstwacht, but without any museum effort. The Amsterdam Museum does not have a fixed program or a location in Nieuw-West and lacks local know-how.

The board of the Street Art Museum foundation, which is responsible for the continuity of the foundation, states that by linking these collections together programmatically, organisationally, and educationally, a fully-fledged (Open Air) Museum in Nieuw-West can be created. A Museum that by its nature fits the Garden City of Nieuw-West. Which, through its collections, has the potential to bring public flows to the district with interesting Urban/architecture tours and activities. Due to its local roots, it has the potential to introduce residents in a contemporary way to their own creativity (for example through workshops based on Street Art techniques) and to the consequences, ideas of urban development that will take place in Nieuw-West in the coming years (for example workshops on forms of living, interior design, etc).

The role of the Amsterdam Museum will be an extension of their urban mission, and will logically follow from this. We do not know what form and programmatic content this Nieuw-West Museum should have. We don't know what the best form of collaboration is. We don't know how promising the idea is. We would like to investigate that.

By developing this idea in an interactive way with partners, we can sketch a well-founded picture (business plan) of this Nieuw-West Museum. Large and interesting enough to stand a good chance of being included in the city's A Bis. And in that line of thinking we guarantee the continuity of the SAMA foundation, we can further professionalize. (More educational projects and other public activities, more users/visitors, stronger marketing.)

With this plan, the Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) is requesting a contribution from the AFK to carry out a research program in which the opportunities for collaboration with the Van Eesteren Museum (VEM) and the Amsterdam Museum (AM) are explored. The aim of the research is the professional development of the Street Art Museum Amsterdam, which is located in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. As an organization, SAMA is dependent on project assignments and has no structural financial support.

By entering into a sustainable collaboration with other heritage institutions, SAMA aims to be able to take steps towards professionalisation, and ultimately to guarantee the continuity of SAMA. SAMA sees valuable and logical cooperation partners in the locally established Van Eesteren Museum and the proven Amsterdam Museum.

With this proposed plan, SAMA therefore wants to investigate this collaboration at the level of program development, collection access, organization and communication.

Why ‘street art as a tool’?

Street art is an accessible art form, and making art together helps conversations flow. Street art as a tool brings participants self-awareness because they express their thoughts and emotions in an artwork, and social-awareness because they discuss the topics together. Taking part in creating a public art work together also connects people with each other and their community, and contributes to a sense of proudness.

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