European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Impacts of 2003




1. Report by

Eberhard Schrempf

He was in charge of marketing and vice director of programming. In his statement to culturefighter he speaks about a key to success what the 60 Million Euro budget made available by the city of Graz, the Government of Styria and the Republic of Austria. They decided not to put money into existing projects but to pick up a trend for which everyone had been waiting for over 20 years, in order to have a Museum of Modern Art. Always political infights had stopped the process. There were also three attempts to get the designation.

Graz was, however, once Cultural Month when the concept existed for a short period of time with Max Aufischer a leading spirit at that time. He connected with the ECCM Network under the auspices of Spyros Mercouris whereas the new group around Graz 2003 went their independent way which was picked up later by Liverpool 2008 and Ruhr 2010, in order to create an informal network.

Eberhard Schrempf describes this transition once the title was designated as a 'magical moment' in the history of the city for suddenly everyone pulled their weight and was willing to work together with the other. He makes out two distinct and important impacts:

For one, infrastructural changes meant new buildings went up: the Kunsthaus Graz, the house of literature, the children’s museum, concert and other performance venues. He praises that all were built through private-public partnerships. As a result, it changed the face of Graz compared to the previous years.

Second, the people of Graz had till then always felt to be inferior to Vienna but he claims that this complex disappeared completely as a result of this change.

Another impact was that visitors increased by 26% since this decisive year had put Graz on the map of many. It has made the city one which is worthwhile to pay a visit and to spend more than just a few days there.



2. In an article written ten years after, it is stated that the trend of visitors has been steady. This is mainly due to having, so the claim, attained a sustainability of the arts and the cultural sector. Especially a certain standard was kept if not improved upon. Source: "Graz 2003: Was blieb vom Kulturhauptstadtjahr?" (5.1.2013)

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