For a long time, the corner of Erzbergerstraße was not particularly inviting. For years, the old bunker just stood there, mouldering away, the plaster peeling from the walls, overgrown with weeds and covered with grime and rubbish. Now, though, things are brightening up. Under a project organised jointly with “Atelier Strichstärke der evangelischen Hephata-Stiftung” (an art workshop run by the Protestant Hephata Foundation), EWMG has given the bunker owned by the city of Mönchengladbach a new look.
They are real eye-catchers, the monkey, lion, giraffe and other exotic animals that watch motorists and pedestrians from the securely closed windows and doors on the ground floor of the old bunker on Erzbergerstraße. With a helping hand from the professionals, hobby artists from Atelier Strichstärke sprayed the nature motifs set in an abstract background.
“In the medium term, we plan to redevelop the site, and that involves demolishing the bunker”, City Director and Technical City Councillor, Dr. Gregor Bonin, explained. Until then, this art project brings a breath of fresh air to the district – as appealing, vibrant, colourful and diverse as the graffiti and their creators. “We’re responding to the wishes of local residents for a quick, short-term makeover.”
The artists who work in Atelier Strichstärke are special. They may have a handicap, but they also have enormous artistic and craftmanship skills. “I’m delighted Atelier Strichstärke has come on board for this project”, said Dr. Ulrich Schückhaus, who sits on the board of trustees of Hephata-Stiftung. Inclusion is something that is very close to the heart of the EWMG Chairman. “The artwork on the bunker proves how enriching diversity is for our city. The artists from Atelier Strichstärke and their graffiti bring positive change to the city landscape.”
Similar graffiti can be found on the underpass in Bunter Garten and on junction boxes across the city. “Many of the artists have discovered their own style”, say Yvonne Klaffke and Barbara John from the Hephata-Stiftung who founded Atelier Strichstärke in 1997. So the artwork on the bunker is much more than just a fresh coat of paint. Professional graffiti is artwork and (hopefully) protects the buildings from pointless scribbles and smears.