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Berlin's Creative Industries Powerhouse
Berlin is more about an entire cluster of little "powerhouses", like Kuma Galerie located right in the heart of Berlin
By Anthony Kammerhofer, GATEWAYmusic
(more articles from this author)
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Many people consider Berlin to be Germany's creative powerhouse. Actually, Berlin is more about an entire cluster of little "powerhouses", like Kuma Galerie located right in the heart of Berlin (district of Berlin-Mitte), a gallery which produces various events from exhibitions to live performances by international artists. "Berlin is such an international artistic scene nowadays", says Bianca Duclert of Kuma Galerie. Let's learn more about their programming and booking policy...

Is Kuma Galerie's innovative programming (live performances, exhibitions etc.) an integral part of the project or is a promoter working in Germany (like you) 'forced' to offer a variety of events?

Bianca: We are totally independent. The gallery's goal is to enhance an interactive exchange between artists, musicians and performers. Kuma organizes its own events and promotes its own artists and musicians. From time to time, we do host events (i.e., exhibitions that we didn't organize, but whose proposals we like).

What is your booking policy? Do you prefer to liaise with booking agents and artist management, or with the artists directly? Do you prefer working with local acts bringing their fan base to the venue, or does your experience show that acts from North America, Asia and other European countries can also attract a crowd at Kuma Galerie?

Bianca: We don't really have a formal booking policy. We deal with the acts that we like. I mean, we do have a mission for the gallery programme, but we aren't stubborn about it. We generally deal directly with the artists. Our artists, performers and musicians come from all over the planet. The main reason is because Berlin is such an international artistic scene nowadays that they either live here or visit quite often. Also my business partner and I have lived in and travelled to so many different countries, the crowd coming to those events is super-international as well, mixing with local fans, visitors, and friends from all over...

What do you consider to be the main challenges you faced when booking acts from overseas so far (particularly from outside the European Union/European Economic Area)?

Bianca: Hmm, that's a good question. I would have to say that answer is probably dealing with travel and transportation costs!?!

There is no doubt that your most faithful fans are open to new developments in the arts. What are the avenues of "customer retention" that you consider to be most favorable for promoting your events (regular newsletters, postings/presence on social networking sites like Facebook etc., text messaging campaigns, vouchers, meet-and-greet events for artists and fans, etc.)?

Bianca: I use regular newsletters, contact lists which are updated after each event, Facebook, MySpace, flyers, word-of-mouth, friends, and other promoters with whom I have a good relationship!!

What are the advantages of networking with other promoters and clubs (locally and/or worldwide)?

Bianca: We send the lists back to each other. I mean we use their contact lists, and they use ours...

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