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The non-profit organization ACC (Autonomous Cultural Center) originated in 1987, before the fall of the Berlin wall, when students occupied a derelict Renaissance building in the center of the town where Goethe (inevitably) had had his first residence in Weimar (1776/77). Shortly before the re-unification, ACC protagonists were able to secure the house with the aid of private sponsors. The institution now consists of a gallery and a café and offers a cultural program that includes theater, literature and lecture series. Between spring 1989 and 2020, the ACC organized and curated more than 250 exhibitions (roughly five per year) of international contemporary art, through which the gallery has become a center for international cooperation and exchange. Simultaneously, the ACC focuses on the achievement of local artists and inaugurated an international artist-in-residence program. The current space is comprised of two connected buildings with 400 square meters of space consisting of 20 rooms in five former apartments.
A selection of works produced during the residency period may be presented in a group exhibition in the following year.
The City of Weimar pursues the following aims in its role as an initiator and partner of the International Studio Program: to combine financial support for artists with the presentation of contemporary art in the urban realm, to serve as a forum for artists and as a catalyst for an encounter between them and to gain international recognition for the resulting activities. By these means, international cultural exchange is to be promoted and prejudices eliminated. The support provided includes the provision of a combination artist's studio/apartment in the Municipal Studio Building. Newly restored, the Studio Building is one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Germany. It contains 11 studios rented to different artists for limited time periods. The International Studio Program is supported by the State Chancellery of Thuringia.
Located on the ground floor of the historical Municipal Studio Building, the studio is about a ten-minute walk from the ACC Galerie Weimar in the town center. In addition to the visiting international artist, the well-lit studio building accommodates ten other Weimar artists. In its cellar, the Municipal Studio Building has a small printmaking workshop for etching, lino, and wood printing, for which it provides basic tools. However, the studio (30 square meters/323 square feet) does not offer any other special equipment, such as photography, video, digital, etc.