For whom might the table of oysters, fruit, and pastries be set for in Osias Beert's well-known still-life? Sculptor Christiane von Schilling, who guides those learning German through the gallery, believes that questions like these help participants overcome their inhibitions and formulate answers in German. The symbols artists use in their works are internationally understandable, after all. By asking simple questions about the pieces on display, von Schilling coaxes participants out of their shells while also encouraging them to reflect on their own situation. It is common for refugees to relate Max Beckmann's Journey on the Fish to their own harrowing travels, for example. Once the Nazis labelled Beckmann's art as “degenerate” in 1933, he was forced to live a very private life and eventually emigrate to the United States. Von Schilling describes the museum as an ideal place to teach others about culture and language. Susanne Kohlheyer, who coordinates the “Sprache lernen im Museum” project and wants to establish the Staatsgalerie as an alternative place of learning, stresses that it is a “house open to all”.
The Klett Group's financial support is facilitating the ongoing existence of the project, which was initiated in 2010. This sponsorship is an important part of the social involvement portfolio of the Klett Group, which has been actively engaged in refugee assistance for years. In 2015, the Klett Group became the long-term sponsor of a Stuttgart refugee shelter. Along with funding, it provides support in the form of personnel and donations in kind. The sponsorship also includes providing placements and other training positions to refugees from the shelter. To ensure that language integration efforts like these succeed, the publishers of related materials within the Klett Group are contributing their particular expertise in learning German as a foreign language.
For further information, please visit www.staatsgalerie.de.