It can wrap around goods just as well as gifts. Ever since it was invented, paper has been a material from which and on which art is created: paintings, literature, sculptures, and even music can be produced with paper. And it carries information – across distances and generations. Paper connects and fires the imagination.
The local Municipal Museum in the town of Eisenhüttenstadt currently features an entire paper wonderland. From the “Fairy Grotto” with “Radiant Brightness” to “Chaos”, and “Miss Paper” and “Shaggy Dog Waldi” also made their well-deserved appearance: These imaginative names show how versatile the possibilities are for creating things with paper. They adorn the works of art that the young participants in the “People & Paper” project presented in a magnificent exhibition to mark its culmination. It was a very special event.
We at Progroup know how fascinating paper is as a material to work with. But only rarely does the opportunity present itself to convey this fascination to the outside world as well. This is why to mark our 25th anniversary in 2017 we asked for donations rather than gifts. We were able to use the money that was pledged to initiate four projects at four Progroup sites. In Eisenhüttenstadt, we were very fortunate that our support not only allowed us to do good but, as a particular highlight, also enabled us to convey our fascination with paper. This is because with “People & Paper” we came across the great project to send young people from Eisenhüttenstadt and the surrounding area on an “incredible journey of discovery” exploring all aspects of paper. This was how it was described at the opening of the large final exhibition on 29 January 2019 by the project manager Brita Bärwolf, Chairwoman of Wi-Wa-Wunderland e.V., adding: “The best way to learn is always to do things yourself.”
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Wi-Wa-Wunderland, this highly dedicated association for children, young people and families, presented its ideas about “People & Paper” to Progroup at the beginning of 2017 – and immediately impressed it. “Maximilian Heindl visited our association in person to have a look around, asked how we carry out and deliver work with children and young people, and who are the people behind the association,” reports Bärwolf. This is not usually the case with big companies. “This was therefore a very big deal for us.” Since then, the project has managed to reach more than 1600 children, young people and adults, and has triggered a real explosion in creativity. It was in fact only possible to display a small fraction of the works of art, all of which were very impressive, in the exhibition which ran from the end of January to the end of February 2019 in the Municipal Museum. After this, the exhibition will be shown within the paper factory itself.
“What I found so incredibly fascinating,” admits Herta Heindl, who travelled to the opening of the exhibition, “was the sheer delight with which the association and in particular Mrs Bärwolf delivered the project and the exhibition.” This level of enthusiasm was so obviously apparent throughout the period of the project that the town’s “Oder-Spree Journal” even cheekily diagnosed that it had been infested with the paper virus. And this really was very much the case because, according to Brita Bärwolf, an impressive total of 160 individual activities were organised: they included offers such as making paper, drawing silhouettes or Manga comics, and creating shapes out of paper. Children did of course also visit the place that the material they were working with came from: Progroup manufactures high-quality paper at its Eisenhüttenstadt plant, produces the electricity that is needed to do this in a dedicated power plant – and generates enthusiasm for getting involved in social causes: The local workers at the plant were quickly impressed by “People & Paper”. In particular the laboratory manager at the time, Anica Lippert, and production engineer, Andreas Huber, gave every possible support to the project.
„Enthusiasm, fascination, the belief in the creativity of human beings – I was able to experience it up close in person“
“Enthusiasm, fascination, the belief in the creativity of human beings – I was able to experience it up close in person,” says Herta Heindl today following the end of the project. Once the exhibition has ended in the premises of the paper factory in May, Progroup would like to acquire a number of the works of art from the association and in this way ensure that the successful project can continue to run. This is because, according to Brita Bärwolf, the children have so many more ideas that plenty of creative, amazing and poetic things can still be expected. This is unsurprising because you can never get enough of fairy grottoes, shaggy dogs and radiant brightness.
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