You sense the history of SvanekeGaarden as soon as you walk through the old gate and cross the cobblestones into the courtyard. The ochre-coloured half-timbered building, built in 1856–1857, was once one of the town’s most highly frequented merchant estates. By the early 1990s, however, the buildings were in a dilapidated condition, until renowned theatrical producer and actor Preben Harris got the idea to establish an international venue for culture with theatre, music, literature and art exhibitions in the beautiful buildings near the waterfront. SvanekeGaarden is now a lively hub of cultural activity, hosting cultural events for local residents and visitors alike all year round.
Firmly rooted in the flourishing local milieu with a vast collaboration network of local and national cultural institutions, SvanekeGaarden presents each year a number of interesting contemporary names in virtually every genre you could think of. Preferably with a new angle, because SvanekeGaarden is constantly on the move in keeping with the times and the surroundings.
The old detached building in the centre of the courtyard houses a small auditorium and stage, forming an intimate yet functional venue for concerts, performances and literary interactions with authors and writers. Across the courtyard is an exhibition venue for local and national artists alike. To the rear is a lower garden with a shade-giving mulberry tree and a bullace tree – the primal mother of all plum trees – which still flowers every summer despite being more than 100 years old. You can continue through the black garden gate at end of the lower garden down to Svaneke’s charming waterfront. SvanekeGaarden is a contemplative setting for art, culture and music while at the same time creating a unique environment for a dynamic fusion of artists, visitors, sculptures and the charming ethos of the old buildings.
The programme of events scheduled for SvanekeGaarden is a healthy mixture of exhibitions, concerts and lectures, and it is continuously updated on SvanekeGaarden’s website. In 2022, SvanekeGaarden is embarking on a wide-ranging commitment in terms of exhibitions, and over the summer it will exhibit the works of Danish–French artists Jean Moreaux and Else Raasum. The exhibition gathers a selection of pop art and calligraphic work by the two artists entitled ‘PARLØB’ (literally ‘partner race’). Exciting local projects are also the pipeline, such as an open choir weekend and preparations for a puppet theatre museum. The latter is the result of SvanekeGaarden having inherited 100 different puppet theatres, currently being restored by volunteers in the venue’s multi-workshop.
SvanekeGaarden rents out its performance venue, exhibition spaces and multi-workshop and has three artist residences for rent at its disposal as well. Artists can apply to rent the premises for a creative stay and immerse themselves in their work in these lively surroundings. Much of the familiar warmth you will encounter when you arrive at SvanekeGaarden is particularly due to the venue’s
enthusiastic local volunteers, who do their best to create the site’s ethos when events and exhibitions need to be set up and run.