Art Factory: A Place for Creative Expression
Two long time residents of Luxembourg, Pascale Soares and Lidia Rahal, share their story about the creation of the Art Factory. A place for creative expression where art is accessible to everyone in Luxembourg.
1) Please tell us a little bit about yourselves…Where do you come from? How long have you lived in Luxembourg?
Pascale: I am a French citizen living in Luxembourg for more than 20 years. I am a sociologist and I’ve worked in the field of international development for several years at different international organisations and as the Head of an NGO. In addition to my interest in social activism, I am also passionate about the arts. I enjoy water colour painting, but I really love all artistic expressions because they are genuine and represent freedom to me.
Lidia: I am from Algeria and I have a multifaceted experience with a profound interest in cultures, people, and civilisations. I traveled a lot in order to study, work and discover. Now I live in Luxembourg and i’ve been here since 2003.
2) Who came up with the idea of the Art Factory?
Pascale: I initially had the idea, one year ago, at the time I was thinking of creating a place where beginners could follow courses, prepare exhibitions or work together in a very flexible manner. The main ideas was to allow people who can not afford art classes, or who do not have time to commit for a year-long course to practice on a short-term basis, by providing them with workshops or weekends on different topics or media.
I soon realised that it would have been difficult to find a place without good connections and a solid budget, and that it would be even better to mix beginners and professional artists, and go to the places where these populations were located rather than trying to gather them all in one place.
So we started to propose creative workshops in a refugee shelter in Oberkorn twice a month, and to this day it is still running very well. Our audience were initially children, but we soon got their mothers and fathers involved.
Lidia: The Art Factory is above all Pascale’s idea. It started taking shape within our creative workshops with the refugees in Oberkorn. The goal is to create a meeting space between artists and non-artists to exchange their points of view, experiences and to provide their opinions on each others project in order to create a common artistic piece of work.
3) When did it start?
The Art Factory began to take shape in September 2016
4) What is the goal of the Art Factory?
Pascale: Our goal is the promotion of arts and culture for those who are not familiar with or who do not have access to it.
To encourage an artistic practice in all sectors of the population, including the less privileged and to create connections and exchanges between the artistic world and the rest of the population.
Lidia: The aim of Art Factory is to highlight Luxembourgish Art and artists, whether the artist is a painter, a sculptor, a musician or whatever they may be. In my view Luxembourgish artists do not have much reach and they have A LOT to offer.
For me, Art is a form of expression, a means of communication, which speaks to everyone whatever their origin may be, language, culture, with Art we can communicate, it is a neutral ground where everyone can get along, talk to each other and collaborate.
The aim is also to teach people whatever their religious and cultural beliefs are about art, not necessarily to make them artists, but to exchange and express themselves.
5) How many people are involved and where does it usually take place?
We are three members in the organisation Pascale Soares and Alix Rassel-Burton, and myself. The Art Factory concerns all artists regardless of their artistic expression and we receive help and support of all types of people depending on our needs.
6) Are you looking for volunteers? How can people in Luxembourg get involved?
Pascale: We are looking for volunteers with an experience in art, who would be willing to duplicate the workshop in other shelters on behalf of Serve The City, and would be willing to commit for at least several months. Volunteers who speak Luxembourgish, French, English or Arabic/Farsi would be great!
We are also looking for professional artists for another project in preparation.
Lidia: Yes, volunteers who carry out an artistic work interested in one art form or another. I am curious to see what the residents are able to do in the company of a professional artist.To allow them to test their limits, to experience a unique and enriching experience for the volunteer and for the artist himself.
We are open to all artists and we appeal to anyone who wants to experiment, via social networks and any other means of communication.
7) What do you envision in the future for the Art Factory?
Pascale: We have a project in preparation which will require working with professional artists and refugees or asylum seekers. The collaboration would result in a book, a website, and an exhibition around National Day.
Lidia: In the short-term, we are planning to publish and exhibit art work that will be carried out for our first project, which consists of a collaboration between artists and refugees. In the long term we would like to have a place of exchange for the Art Factory.