ArtStars* in Leipzig
Nadja Sayej

Get out of Berlin: The Youth Mobility Visa is good in other cities, too – take advantage of the bustling art capital in "little Paris," the city of Leipzig.


Nadja Sayej interviewing Leipzig artist Kristina Schuldt

 If Germany is the land of poets, Leipzig is the city of painters. Home to blockbuster art stars Neo Rauch and the New Leipzig School painting movement, Leipzig is one hour outside of Berlin (just an InterConnex train ride away), but hardly the Buffalo to the New York.


A painting called Model by Leipzig painter Kristina Schuldt

In the last weekend of November, I went with my web-TV show ArtStars* to Leipzig. I feared: What if it was a suburban hole full of families and no English natives?

I was wrong. Leipzig is better than Berlin. In just a matter of three days, I hit the up-and-coming Plagwitz neighbourhood of Leipzig, spoke to the high-profile students of the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig (yes, in English) and stayed in the colourful art hotel Galerie Hotel Leipziger Hof, which is home to over 350 artworks by local artists.


View from the second floor of the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig

I interviewed the controversial Leipzig artist Michael Triegel at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig, which is showcasing his commissioned painting of Pope Benedict for the very first time until February 6, 2011.



Michael Triegel’s commissioned portrait of Pope Benedict, now on show at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig

Why is a painting of the Pope controversial? The artist is rumored to be atheist.

I also interviewed 28-year-old Leipzig painter Kristina Schuldt about life in Leipzig. The city is a way better bang for your buck, far more inspirational and cozy in terms of community.

With a population of 500,000 and a bustling art scene, they say Leipzig is “the next Berlin, and it’s easy to see why. This small city (dubbed “little Paris” by Goethe) is on the rise, isn’t over-saturated and it all began with the whopping studio district in a former spinning mill, which is called the Spinnerei.



the Spinnerei

There are bars with no names, secret after-hours parties and art openings every weekend – it seems as if every other person you meet here is an artist.

That’s not to say it’s a trend.

Leipzig is different from Berlin.

This is where the party scene is the dessert – not the main dish. As Leipziger Hof hotel owner Klaus Eberhard says, “When people go to an exhibition, they’re really interested in the exhibition.”


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NADJA SAYEJ, host of ArtStars*, writes about art for artUS, Border Crossings, C magazine, Canadian Art, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times and was splashed the cover of Eye Weekly as “the next Jeanne Beker.” She was called “Center Stage in Toronto in an Art in America cover story. She is a columnist for enRoute and is busting her ass in Berlin, Germany, and surrounding countries. Follow the adventurous fun on Twitter or her ever-popular Facebook fanpage or even on LinkedIn, as well.

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My experience in Germany has been invaluable. In addition to learning German and taking part in another culture, I have learned so much about myself. I am confident that I can thrive away from the comforts of home and that I am dynamic and flexible. This is exactly what today’s employers are looking for – giving me a competitive advantage in the working world.
Kate from British Columbia – working for an international not-for-profit organisation.