International member and Public Figure Ana Martins on discovering art in AmsterdamGepost op 22 mei 2018 om 16:36 door Roxy Merrell
“There is an element of surprise and exploration to We Are Public that I really cherish.”
Finding your way in a vibrant city like Amsterdam can take time. We Are Public offers you a shortcut to the best art and culture in the most exciting venues in town. Little known fact: we want to invite all international audiences to take part! All our events on the English website are suitable for non-Dutch speakers.
To get the scoop from an international member, we spoke to actress, theatre-minded blogger and Public Figure Ana V. Martins to find out more about overcoming language barriers, finding hidden spots and discovering Dutch opera and theatre.
Tell us a little bit about you. What sparked your love for art and culture?
I have always been into art & culture. As a child it was all about drawing and reading, later on I pursued a degree in theatre and I now work in artistic related fields. In Amsterdam this passion has taken the shape of a blog called Amsterdive, where I write about art and culture, amongst other topics.
What was your first impression of Amsterdam’s art scene when you moved here?
The first obstacle I’ve found when exploring Amsterdam’s artistic scene was the language barrier. This became increasingly easier as I started to become fluent in Dutch. At first, I have started exploring art-house cinema venues; the obvious thing to do as an international living in Holland.
Later on, the thing that struck me the most was the quality of Dutch theatre and opera – how progressive and innovative it can be. The diversity and amount of cultural offer in Amsterdam in general is nothing short of amazing for me.
How was that different when you discovered We Are Public?
We Are Public introduced me to Dutch theatre and opera. Also, because you guys curate the programme for us, it saves me 90% of the work and effort I would otherwise have to put into choosing a show or a relevant cultural activity.
Meanwhile, I have visited all the well-known cultural venues in town. I get a boost of inspiration every time, from visiting a venue or seeing a show that I wouldn’t otherwise. There is an element of surprise and exploration to We Are Public that I really cherish.
Would you recommend We Are Public to other international, non-Dutch speaking people living in Amsterdam?
I totally would! It’s a great way to find your way in the city, even getting to know the culture better. I mean, access to all relevant art & culture events in town? A carefully selected programme with activities for every day of the month? Theatre, dance, opera, lectures, cinema, all together in one subscription? For me, it feels like a dream come true.
With increasingly less funding available for artists, do you think it’s important we – as audiences – support the arts?
I really do believe it is important for us to support the arts, and help stimulate our artistic environments and that relates to what I said about the role art plays in our lives. If you think about it, art is the only thing that can save you sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times a movie, a book or a concert have saved my day and gave me hope to keep on going. I believe We Are Public is one of those initiatives that helps support the arts in The Netherlands.
Did you discover an unexpected or surprising find recently?
Opera has been an unexpected discovery for me. I have become a big fan of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet. Before, I had this idea that opera was something old-fashioned and oftentimes heavy or boring. NDT has proved me wrong. Their productions are mind-blowing.
Have you discovered a new favourite (more obscure) spot in the city?
The favorite place that I’ve discovered with WAP was the theatre house Frascati. I love the sort of shows that they host and their uber cosy cafe in the back of the house, with all those quirky decorations. Another favorite is club De School, which I love for their attention to progressive, experimental, underground art initiatives and artists.
What was the last event that got you really excited? Can you tell us where it was, and why it moved you?
The last event that got me really excited was the festival ‘Other Futures’ at Melkweg. I have learned more about Afrofuturism and how visionary it can be. The fact that black culture is gaining more and more space in western societies moves me, and it’s about time its happening. I saw the Sudanese London band The Scorpios there, an amazing band that flew the fundamentalist Sudanese regime and whose sound is hypnotic.
Want to start discovering like Ana? Click here for our entire English programme.