Austrian Cultural Fora are vital to showing the world what an innovative, creative, and vibrant country Austria is today
The origins of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York go back to a group of Austrian refugees including writer Mimi Grossberg, pianist Paul Wittgenstein, former Federal Minister Guido Zernatto, and writer Irene Harand, a Catholic champion against anti-Semitism and National Socialism. In 1942, at a time when Austria did not exist on the political map, they founded the Austrian Institute.
The mission of today's Austrian Cultural Forum New York has changed and developed over the years. This former meeting place for Austrian emigrants, where arts and culture played a major role as a matter of course, has turned into a place of encounters and for representing a modern European nation. Particularly contemporary arts and sciences are presented to an American audience, and young creative Austrians are given the opportunity to venture into the American (cultural) market.
Mozart, Mahler, Freud, Klimt, and Zweig are Austria's poster children in the United States. As mainstays of world culture, they generally do not require promotion from Austria. Our mission is to show that our country produces extraordinary artists, intellectuals, and scientists to this day. Hailed as an architectural masterpiece, the Austrian Cultural Forum in the heart of New York City provides the ideal conditions for this enterprise. The exterior of the spectacular building designed by Raimund Abraham, who died in 2010, promises innovative and exciting cultural debate – and delivers on its promise on the inside: in the form of acclaimed and inspiring exhibitions, concerts, premieres, performances, conferences, and readings, where we present our foremost talent in the American cultural metropolis.
An important part of this work is, of course, networking and collaborating with local cultural and academic institutions. The projects and contacts that result from these efforts contribute to successful cultural work, rendering ideas into projects that emit positive social impulses. Innovative, creative, and incredibly vibrant, Austria continues to develop its reputation as a cultural nation – in New York as well as in the 29 other Austrian Cultural Fora in the global network of Austrian culture abroad. (Michael Spindelegger)