From 1987 to Today
Frauenau is situated at the centre of a glass region which stretches across the border between the Bavarian Forest in Germany and the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic. It is a region in which the manufacture and decoration of glassware has been of enormous importance for hundreds of years. This glass making centre, with such a long tradition, is also of great importance as the European cradle of the International Studio Glass Movement which established glass as a fine-art medium from the 1960´s on. The Frauenau artist Erwin Eisch was instrumental as the movement´s European founding father, and Frauenau continues to be a meeting place for international glass artists. The Glass Museum Frauenau and an exciting glass art and cultural scene contribute greatly to Frauenau´s standing in the region, and its national and international standing.
Bild-Werk-Frauenau came into being against this illustrious backdrop with the first Summer Academy for Glass and Visual Art taking place in 1987. The Academy rapidly became an internationally known fixture due to its creative openness and exciting atmosphere as an international meeting place. Artists" workshops, for example in the framework of the international glass symposia in Frauenau, and other seminars make Frauenau a lively art forum.
From 1990 on Bild-Werk-Frauenau expanded to become an active cultural and educational initiative. This intensified the connection of Bild-Werk into the East Bavarian region network as well as beyond its borders. From concerts with music of all kinds, to cabaret and literature, to celebrations and spontaneous performances, new ideas always find a platform in Bild-Werk Frauenau (see Stage).
With this as its basis, the creative and integration work with mentally handicapped people has developed as a further focus of Bild-Werk (see BLAU-kRauT).
Bild-Werk Frauenau courses and events take place in the Academy building, "Tom´s Hall" and in the surrounding buildings, formerly outbuildings belonging to the Isidor Gistl Glassworks in Frauenau. Most notable of these buildings is the Gasthaus Gistl with its events which are well-known beyond the region´s borders, and its reputation as a social meeting place. In addition, some Academy classes in July and August take place in the old "Gasworks", which is within walking distance.
Bild-Werk-Frauenau e.V. is recognised as a non-profit-making organisation for adult-education. The society´s activities are organised and carried out by a team and supported by a world-wide network of people interested in glass and art, who see Frauenau as their focus.
The enthusiasm and commitment of the board, its helpers, members and friends of the society is what has made the International Summer Academy, concerts, encounters, exhibitions and theatre possible and so much loved for over 20 years.
The beginnings and how Bild-Werk developed:
The Bild-Werk Frauenau International Summer Academy
Erwin Eisch, co-founder of the International Studio-Glass Movement, had the idea of founding an Academy in Frauenau along the lines of the "free" summer schools in the USA. In November 1987, this impulse led to the founding of the society, "Bild-Werk-Frauenau".
From 1988 on, with the support of the Eisch Glassworks, the first workshops were set up in converted buildings. Alongside the rooms in the old "Gasworks"( formerly a liquid gas mixing plant) the society had already taken up rooms in the former Hafenstube of the Glass factory Gistl, named "Tom´s Hall", after the American painter Thomas S. Buechner who was a course leader for many years. In July and August 1988, the first ´summer Academy for Head, Hand and Artwork" with course leaders from Germany, the USA and Czechoslovakia, took place. It was a private initiative led by Stan Dengler, and 65 participants took part in two course blocks. There was an exciting feeling of something new beginning and an enthusiasm which propelled the project into the future
The Academy was based, from the very beginning, on an interdisciplinary programme covering all sorts of areas of the visual arts but with an emphasis on glass as an art medium. The international aspect was important from the start, as was the collaboration with Czech glass artists and educational establishments as well as many other European partners. In 1991, the programme was extended with a course block in spring and to encompass theatre, body work, voice work and literature. A further one-week long course block in late summer has been offered since 2000 and in 2006 the first Glass Master-classes took place. Bild-Werk-Frauenau was able to move in to the newly converted and renovated "Tom´s Hall", which opened up new possibilities as it can now be used throughout the year.
The Summer Academy has grown to encompass between 35 and 40 courses. These courses are led by artists and teachers from our region, other parts of Germany, other European countries and from overseas. A total of 190 participants from around the globe take part in courses annually.
Music, Theatre, Cinema, Discussion...
Bild-Werk Frauenau has been working in co-operation with the Gasthaus Gistl since 1990. The Gistl is a pub and cultural meeting place and houses a stage for events. It is located just a stone´s throw away from the Academy. A regular programme of concerts, cabaret and film events enriched the series, for example "Talking about the border – Talking over the border" (1996-2002) and "Discussions about Art" (2000).
At present, around 40 events take place annually, with performers from our region as well as those from further afield. Bild-Werk-Frauenau and the Gasthaus Gistl organise events which bring Academy participants together with locals and the regional art and cultural scene and from outside the region.
People with and without handicap have been working together in the BLAU-kRauT initiative in Bild-Werk-Frauenau since 2005. They meet regularly to paint and exhibit and once a year an Action Day is celebrated which enjoys great resonance with the public. Bild-Werk-Frauenau would like, with this trail-blazing project, to establish an alternative path to interaction with and integration of handicapped people. Creative expression and activity is the reason to come together and is the "alternative" language of communication.
Bild-Werk Frauenau e.V. is a registered, non-profit-making society. All the society´s activities are organised in a team, supported by a world-wide network of people interested in glass and art, who see Bild-Werk as their focus. The great enthusiasm and passionate commitment of the committee and its helpers, Bild-Werk members and friends are what has made the International Summer Academy, Concerts, Encounters, Exhibitions and Theatre possible and so much loved for more than 20 years.