Art is essential for the city and the region. The provincial and city authorities must recognize the importance of this and support artists and museums | opinion

Artists provide energy and creativity, says Lammert Waslander. He hopes that the provincial council of Groningen will recognize and support the importance of art in the province.

By a thread is the title of a painting by Wilma van der Vliet, currently on display in the 24 Independent Realists exhibition in the Møhlmann Museum in Appingedam. In his painting, Van der Vliet expresses his concerns about the continued existence of insects in our world.

Activists stuck to paintings also made it clear to us last month that nature and our climate are connected by a thread. Good that attention was drawn to the climate, too bad that art was misused for it.

Van der Vliet makes it clear with his painting that art itself can draw our attention to the climate better and more confrontingly. Not only nature, but also art is under pressure, both in the city and in the province. The survival of the Møhlmann Museum is also currently hanging in the balance.

Prolonged conflict

Owner Rob Møhlmann, like many Groningen residents, has a long-standing conflict over compensation for the earthquake damage to his monumental building. Obsessed with art, Møhlmann renovated his museum yard in 2008 and has always kept it well maintained with constantly changing exhibitions. He therefore becomes very hurt and angry when the Institute of Mining Groningen classifies his injury as delayed maintenance.

It is very sad to note that many Groningen residents still have to fight for recognition of their earthquake damage with all the stress and worries that come with it. Concerns that are exacerbated at Møhlmann by impending high energy costs.

I hope that the provincial council of Groningen will recognize and support the importance of art in the province. Our province is home to many artists, many successful art events are organized, for example in larger cities such as Usquert and Den Andel, but also in the small Westerdijkshorn. They provide energy and creativity in our beautiful province. Support for museum Møhlmann from both Appingedam municipality and the province seems logical and obvious to me at the moment to guarantee the continued existence of this important museum, as well as the recognition of the earthquake damage.

Workshops under pressure

Not only the province, but also the city of Groningen, thanks in part to the presence of the Minerva art academy, is a breeding ground for artists. They all need a workplace, but the studies in Groningen have been under pressure for some time. HVK (Kunstnernes Lejerforening) submitted a petition to the municipal council in October for the preservation of 62 studios in the city centre. Broedplaats Backbone050 in former school building De Vinkenborgh is under pressure because the lease with the municipality expires at the end of 2022 and the building is in poor condition.

Artists who live and work in Biotoop in Haren organized a sales exhibition, not because their studios are under pressure, but because the high energy costs make it difficult for many to rent and pay for a studio or house. The municipality recognizes the importance of art and artists and hopes to turn the empty Niemeijer building on Paterswoldseweg into a creative breeding ground, a building that they do not yet own and where there is still a long way to turn the plan into reality.

Art essential for the city

I ask both the provincial and city authorities to show the importance of art in Groningen with clear actions. Creative breeding grounds, Minerva, the Groninger Museum and a university with more than 50,000 students who inspire and pollinate each other are crucial for the city’s development and attractiveness.

In nature, pollination by insects is essential for the survival of plants and nature. Insects whose existence, as Wilma van der Vliet shows, hangs by a thread, just like the art in Groningen.

Lammert Waslander from Groningen retired psychologist

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