A mission of artistic development

NW is an open house for contemporary art and film. Yes, that means we develop and curate programmes and invite people to experience art and film. But that’s only the beginning. Because to us, art is not just the final product, but also the extensive, often unseen process that precedes it. It involves the profound stages of thinking, dreaming, creating, resting, and nurturing that ultimately give rise to something new.

At NW, artists have access to a space for unrestricted artistic development. Our greatest pleasure lies in guiding artists through their most experimental stages and nurturing the burgeoning creative process. Here’s how we do it:

  • We forge lasting relationships and collaborations with emerging and established artists, both on a local and international scale.
  • We open up our exhibition spaces, cinema, kitchen, and offices to artists, offering access to resources and infrastructure. Simultaneously, we provide vital support by sharing our knowledge and experience. Together with artists, we enthusiastically seek valuable collaborations with external curators, thinkers, and writers, all to enrich the fertile creative grounds of our open house.
  • We share the fruits of our creative processes in a format that best complements each project. These exhibitions, focus programmes, and events form a diverse programme, formed in close collaboration with artists and our local community.

Our film programme is grounded in the same mission of artistic development. To us, film is a realm for exchange, dialogue, and community building. Collaborating with artists, curators, partners, and local residents, we curate thematic focus programmes ranging from artist films and documentaries to archive films and art house cinema. As an integral part of our open house, our cinema serves as a space that ignites social debate, stimulates, excites, challenges, and, importantly, leaves room to dream. 

A vision hors catégorie

NW is deeply rooted in the rich soil of the Dender region and Aalst. We have a genuine fondness for our eccentric city with all its intricacies, contradictions, traditions, and history —and, of course, its people. Nestled on the right bank of the river, we transcend the conventional role of an art and film house; we are a lively community centre where everyone has their place. Our workspaces, meeting areas, café, and kitchen are the beating heart of various local organisations. Our neighbours aren’t just nameless visitors, but co-creators of our programme. We exist for, and because of, the neighbourhood, and we love to explore how artistic development can seamlessly weave into the everyday life in our community.

The scope of our vision, however, reaches well beyond that. We resist traditional oppositions, such as centre versus periphery, or local versus global. Instead, we present fresh interpretations and alternatives to established realities, drawing inspiration from diverse worlds, communities, and traditions. Driven by curiosity, openness and innovation, we question prevailing thought patterns and consistently refine our perspective. We are critical and have a clear point of view, but we always choose mildness and tolerance above all. Really, NW’s vision transcends categorisations and offers a home to anyone who is eager to explore art and culture.

Fair is fair

Solidarity, transparency, sustainability, and responsibility. Or, to delve into specifics: a shared social responsibility that encompasses fair compensation, a secure working environment, and a commitment to diversity. An equal voice in discussions and a transparent exchange of information and expectations. Sustainable partnerships formed under the right conditions and rooted in mutual trust. These are the key principles of Juist is Juist (translating to ‘fair is fair’), which NW helped formulate.

These fundamental principles guide our collaborative approach, communication, and decision-making at NW. By adhering to them, we actively contribute to creating a fairer, more inclusive industry where everyone plays by the same rules.