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landmark |  20 years of Kunsthaus Weiss: “Today it will be more difficult”

landmark | 20 years of Kunsthaus Weiss: “Today it will be more difficult”

A large cultural and commercial center in the center of Fayez? Do you need that? There have been many discussions about modern construction downtown. The first draft by the famous architect Dietmar Fichtinger was rejected – it was too large and too expensive.

However, supporters were stronger than critics and the project was scaled back and implemented. Nearly 20 years ago, on October 31, 2003, then-mayor Helmut Kinreich and his associates dug their shovels into the ground. The new building complex must be elegant, light, formal, multi-part and block-like, functional and modern. Planned costs: 7.7 million euros.

Foundation stone laying ceremony for the Cultural and Commercial Center in Fayez (original name)

© Ola Patz

In the following years, the new unofficial landmark Louise was built on the site of the old armory, opposite the main Eileen building. A commissioning ceremony was held in July 2004, and the new building, now called the Kunsthaus, was opened in May 2005.

The construction cost is about ten million euros. The star of the evening was Frank Stronach, honorary citizen of the city of Weiz: he donated one million euros and the large concert hall was named after him. “Art now has a home in Faiz,” stressed writer Andrea Sellers.

Construction site in downtown Fayez in April 2004

Construction site in downtown Fayez in April 2004

© Fayez City

This remains non-negotiable today, 20 years after construction began. “What was planned at that time was fantastic,” says Johan König, Place and Culture Lead at Pfizer City Marketing. “They dared to create a landmark in the city center. The decision-makers around Mayor Helmut Kenreich and Cultural Officer Christian Wohl were very brave. Today it will be even more difficult.”

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Culture has improved the image of the industrial city. “There were already many initiatives beforehand, but then the culture got a new home,” recalls Johann König.

“Host” Johan König with star Bob Geldof

© Herwig Herran

In the following years, Weiß developed into a cultural center in eastern Styria, hosting many guests also from the Graz region. Many international artists have performed and showcased their work at Fayez, and the School of Music and Arts is doing a fantastic job.

Saxophonist Candy Dolfer with the band at Faiz

Saxophonist Candy Dolfer with the band at Faiz

© Herwig Herran

50,000 visitors annually

The Kunsthaus has recently welcomed around 50,000 visitors a year at more than 100 events (including some large celebrations). What Koenig is proud of is that stars like Stones drummer Charlie Watts, Bob Geldof, Konstantin Wicker, Pat Metheny and Candy Dolfer came to the area town.

In 2024, he will also put together a colorful program (and stage) with curator Georg Gratzer and event director Angela Carr: seven orchestral concerts (starting with a New Year's concert on January 12), Jazz Days with Candy Dolfer, and Rebecca. Bakken & Company (May), shows by Konstantin Wicker, Herbert Bixner and Al Baldur, exhibition by Chris Schurer. Budget: about 200,000 euros.

But who would Johann König like to see live in Weisz: “I love Austropop. I would love to have a Gert Steinbacher one day.

A colorful program is also in Gleissdorf

By the way: the Forum Kloster event center in Gleisdorf is only slightly older. The 20th anniversary will be celebrated there in 2022.

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What is planned for next year? Among others, Fado Night (January 31), cabaret evenings with Manuel Rubi and Simone Schwarz (March 16), Jerry Seidel (May 7), comedies Herten (June 4), Sterman and Grisman (June 8) and Omar Sarsam, Concerts with Nino from Vienna (June 29) and Folkschelvi (October 9), dance parties, parties and much more.