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 stages of thinking, dreaming, creating, resting and nurturing that ultimately give rise to something new and profound.

We support artists

At NW, artists have access to a space for unrestricted artistic development. It is our great privilege to guide artists through the most experimental stages of their burgeoning creative process and nurture their artistic development. Here’s how we do it:

  • We forge lasting relationships and collaborations with emerging and established artists, on both the local and international level.
  • We open up our exhibition spaces, cinema, kitchen and offices to artists, granting them access to resources and infrastructure. At the same time, 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 ground of our open house.
  • We share the fruits of our artists’ creative processes in a format that best complements each project. Our exhibitions, focus programmes and events all fit into a larger, varied programme, devised in close collaboration with our artists and local community.

We love film

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. We believe in cinema that stimulates, excites and challenges viewers – cinema that creates room to dream.

Our vision

A place for community

NW is deeply rooted in the community of Aalst and the wider Dender region. We have a genuine fondness for our eccentric city with all its intricacies, contradictions, traditions, 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 be seamlessly interwoven with the everyday life in our community.

Resisting division

Being for community means resisting traditional divisions, 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. While we are critical and have a clear point of view, we always choose kindness and tolerance above all. Truly, 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. We are guided by 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 (‘Fair is Fair’), a knowledge platform and toolbox that NW helped to come up with.

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.