Updated: Oct 25, 2021
What is the SPOT Schiphol community? The SPOT Schiphol Community is a large online and offline business platform for every employeein the Schiphol area, of which they can become members for free. With over 4060 members from 600 organisations, SPOT connects professionals from companies such as Microsoft, KLM, ABN Amro, GrandVision, Reckitt Benckiser, and Handelsbanken, but also many smaller tenants. What makes this place like an “oasis of both work and fun” is that the community combines work and entertainment through a variety of high-quality events attracting young talented workers, who then have the chance to inspire one another. Some instances of the developed projects are inspirational sessions by The School of Life, TEDx events featuring intriguing speakers, exercise classes with professional teachers, art tours, and field-specific themed lunches.The community provides everyday added value to the workplace of many different kinds of professionals within the area of Amsterdam Airport.
"With the use of the new pillars Work, Play, Balance, and Benefits, we're helping professionals to find what they're looking for both during and outside of work hours" - Annick Oosterlee, the Community Manager for the Spot Schiphol Community.
What is "Office walk with a twist"?
From 2015 SPOT started a collaboration together with the Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA), which involved bringing international street art to a new and unusual environment for them: a corporate business community with the intention of entertaining and developing social activities with and for this new public. Following the success of the street art tours given to the Schiphol community SAMA and SPOT decided to present Office Walk With a Twist in June 2018: a one-hour street art tour (about 1.5 km) that took the workers along the street art pieces of Oak Oak, Sandrine Boulet, Orticanoodles.. with a special focus on the brand new pieces of BTOY! Anna Stolyarova, director of the Street Art Museum Amsterdam personally guided the tour through Schiphol Central Business District uncovering the secrets and anecdotes of the newly added pieces. "It's the perfect team outing! Both healthy and inspiring!" - said a community member.
As already mentioned, a lot of different fun and interesting activities are developed in this district including TEDx talks.. So take also a closer look to Anna's TEDx talk about Office Walk With a Twist at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tJyhu--viU
To give further and accurate information on the ongoing project, I personally interviewed Anna Stolyarova, the founder and curator of the Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA). This is the result of the back and forth:
What was the relationship of SAMA with the SPOT Schiphol community before the project?
In 2015 Schiphol Real Estate invited SAMA to work out the concept for bringing some street art to their social areas.Together with Carolijn Schoof we created "Office Walk with a Twist" which was matching Schiphol's slogan at the time "Corporate with a Twist". The project turned into a 6 years collaboration during which we produced 32 artworks, from tiny ones like a notepad or a Snoopy to pillars for VIP Excellence Services.
As the founder and curator of SAMA, did you reckon there was a need to strengthen the relationship with the Schipol community? If yes, why?
Art brings all different people together, even if only in a discussion of what one likes or
dislikes - what each finds beautiful. Street Art takes you on a journey, a passage through familiar places but with a little twist, a surprise: it makes you look at the same thing differently. For example, when we turned one of the yellow beton blocks into the Van Gogh's Hat - it was a showstopper. In addition, whilst you are on a journey, you begin to discover other things around you. Once I was asked by the DANONE to give a tour during their Health Day and it was really rewarding to hear one lady commenting "I pass here every day and never realized that there is a Starbucks or a Food Truck here." Sharing is caring!
Did you find the Schiphol SPOT community into the street art tour? Did they ask a lot of questions about what they saw?
During many tours that were given over the years, and Free Tour is part of the package for the SPOT community when we create the artworks, people are very excited to discover something new about their surrounding environment. They are curious about “what's around the corner” and sometimes join more than once to see new works. I find that people like to know how the art was made and a story about the artists; but it is the humour, the personal anecdotes, the storytelling and the element of surprise that grab most of the attention.
Any other projects related to them soon?
We are excited, not that everyone is on the Digital Train, to launch the IZI.travel APP in 2 languages, Dutch and English, to allow those slowly returning to the office locations to take their own journey with an Audio GPS-lead guide. I am sure I'll throw in a few QR codes to make it even more multimedia and let people see the movies we made during each stage of production over the last 6 years.
It's good to be back! What is currently happening in the Spot Schiphol Community?
On the 28th of September Lívia Vereščáková and I, Ginevra Galilei, both interns at the Street Art Museum Amsterdam met Annick Oosterlee, the Community Manager, in Schiphol. Then Livia, specialized in art restoration, started to carefully do her job with 4 pieces of Sandrine Boulet that had completely faded away: beginning from Notepad, then going to Tribute to Klaus Nomi and Professor Love and finally Chicken from Space. Even if street art is an ephemeral type of art which is usually let take its course, the result of this necessary action for the community was amazing - Sandrine Boulet in person also complimented - and made Schiphol street art ready for the next entertaining step conducted by Anna Stolyarova together with Annick.
For further information on the restoration read the interview with Lívia Vereščáková Carefully restored ‘vandalism’ wrote by Annick Oosterlee, the Schiphol Community Manager, at this link: https://www.spotschiphol.nl/en/news/carefully-restored-vandalism
As already mentioned, on the 7th of October Anna could be back to her old pleasant ways giving an interesting tour to the new director of Marketing and her team of ±30 people. After the long break due to hard Corona times, it was great to finally have the opportunity to continue the socio-professional relationship established with the local business community and above all with the tour activities. Even after 6 years, this collaborative project between SAMA and SPOT, still has the power of entertaining and directing the community’s attention towards street art, both entertaining them with funny jokes or making them deeply reflect about socio-political engaged messages; of course depending on the purpose of each artwork and the background behind it revealed by the storyteller Anna Stolyarova.
To conclude, we would like to remind the audience of the launch of the IZI.travel APP in Dutch and English already mentioned in the first interview. This option will be for free, as it was the guided tour, to allow those coming back to the office locations to still take part in a self-tour with the help of an Audio GPS-lead guide and the support of multimedia content to understand each artwork realization process.