Franco-German cultural center finds new home in city center and obtains another European grant

The last home for Atlantacommon center of French and German language and culture will be located downtown at Fisheries Center, a decision that the two flagship organizations believe paves the way for future growth.

Dr Richard Keatley

The Alliance Française d’Atlanta and the Goethe-Zentrum have shared space since 2009 in a rare arrangement that capitalizes on the synergies that come from representing two of Western Europe’s largest economies and most influential cultures.

Neighboring nations have continued to deepen their alliance since the 1963 Élysée Treaty, a pivotal moment that the cultural center celebrates with annual programs. Atlanta Global first reported on their intention to branch out into a new space after covering their Elysee Treaty webinar last year.

Organizations operating in Colony Square in Downtown until 2020, when the pandemic caused enrollment crater, disrupted events and forced a massive shift to new distance learning models.

Scheduled to officially open in January 2022, their common downtown home will face a newly refreshed plaza nestled among the towers and opening onto Peachtree Street. The office will include classrooms, an auditorium and a reception area open to the outside.

The leaders of the two organizations highlighted the ongoing transformation of the city center and the possibilities offered by the proximity of the German and Belgian consulates, Rialto Theater, Georgia State University and other cultural assets that help weave the “international fabric” of Atlanta, director of the Alliance Française Richard keatley Global Atlanta said.

The Peachtree Center itself, which has more than 2.3 million square feet of office space, completed a $ 25 million renovation in 2019 that modernized and illuminated common spaces and added colorful art installations to the ensemble. of beige towers designed by famous Atlanta architect. John portman. Mainly delivered in the 1960s and 1970s, the towers connect to each other via a network of gateways. The center includes three hotels with more than 4,000 rooms. The Hub, its labyrinthine underground food court and shopping center, is home to over 50 restaurants and is also directly connected to a MARTA station.

The Peachtree Center, one of the first mixed-use developments by the late Atlanta architect John Portman, was renovated to the tune of $ 25 million in 2019. Photo: Peachtree Center

“Atlantans who haven’t been to the Peachtree Center in the past two years will hardly recognize it,” Dr. Keatley said in a press release. “We were very impressed and enthusiastic about the accessibility, quality and beauty of the center. I can see our teachers teaching at the tables outside or playing pétanque on the terrace.

Director of the Goethe-Zentrum Olivier Gorf, who arrived in Atlanta as the pandemic dashed hopes of live events, said central location and gathering space were important selection criteria as organizations envision an era undefined by COVID restrictions -19.

“For us, it was very important that this space served not only as a school – although there are many beautiful classrooms – but also as a cultural center,” he said in the statement.

Olivier Gorf

The centers received European funding to help with the relocation, including a prize of € 48,500 ($ 56,750) from the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced on September 21. This comes after a € 55,000 ($ 66,000) grant last year in support of new learning technologies, bringing the center’s total French government support to more than $ 120,000.

In an interview with Global Atlanta on Wednesday, the Consul General of France Vincent Hommeril said the French government supports the co-location of the organizations as a sign of Franco-German friendship and welcomes the new premises.

“We are really confident that they will be very successful in this new location,” said Hommeril.

Last year, the Franco-German Cultural Fund also launched funding for a series of one-year joint programs on the impact of climate change on contemporary culture, a grant which Mr. Gorf says represents a “New level” of collaboration.

Regarding language courses, while the center will not officially open until early next year, the Alliance Française will start on October 2 a special limited fall session of in-person lessons in the new space. . Learn more and register here, using the code GLOBAL for a 10% discount.

The Goethe-Zentrum fall term courses start on September 27, with some levels being held online and others starting in person. to French alliancethe north-metro center separated from Roswell.

Direct any questions, suggestions or donation requests to Dr. Keatley at [email protected] or to Mr. Gorf at [email protected]

Read more: French and German cultural centers will deepen their collaboration and find new joint offices