Vienna has long been a city that attracts creatives. Affordable living costs and a population that values art, music, literature and culture, in general, has always nurtured a buzzing creative energy in the city.
Now, when we refer to ‘creative’ here, we don’t just mean the struggling writer or musician. Rather there is a range of creative people, from graphic designers, to DJs, to Youtube vloggers, to video producers coming together in Vienna doing exciting and original projects. In our minds: creatives come in a variety of forms, and Vienna’s a city made for them all.
Below, we’ve tried to put together a list of tips on how to be a creative in Vienna. Do you have anything to add?
1. Hang out in Vienna’s coffeehouses where creatives have found inspiration for decades
You can find a list of where the creatives and intellectuals who have graced this city have hung for hours on end in the past in our list, here. However, if we were to recommend one where our creative juices get flowing, we’d say you spend some time at Kaffee Alt Wien.
2. Go to one of the dozens of poetry slams happening in the city
© TAGebuch Slam / Diana Köhle
Poetry slams have become a hit here in Vienna over the last year. One crowd throwing some great poetry slam nights is the organisation, FOMP – you should check them out!
3. Go to all the free art exhibition openings
Keep an eye on our popular event guides to keep informed on the free exhibition openings happening around the city. There’s always a creative crowd at them (not to mention the free booze on offer).
4. Spend some time at the creative spaces at Nordbahnhalle and the creative cluster at the Traktorfabrik
Two old and abandoned factories have been brought back to life by creative crowds in recent years – the Nordbahnhalle has been up and running as a event venue and co creation space for at least a year now and it’s successfully attracting a creative bunch of people. Meanwhile, the Traktorfabrik has just opened up its new creative cluster space in recent months.
5. Crowdfund your creative project with the annual Bank Austria ‘we make it’ crowdfunding initiative
Each year, Bank Austria and the crowdfunding platform, we make it, join forces to support creative projects in need of funding. From short film festivals to helping a band bring out a debut album, it’s all happened as part of this initiative. We Make it support you with the crowdfunding side of things, while Bank Austria throw in a percentage of your funding goal to get you there quicker.
6. Be open to the idea of doing the so-called ‘Gegengeschäfte’ to get what you need to create
In Vienna, Gegengeschäfte (or barter agreements) are very common, and most individuals and companies will be open to trading a skill or a space, for example, in exchange for what you need. So, let’s say you need a studio to record your album – offer the studio free advertisement at all your concerts. Or maybe you’re a graphic designer in need of an office space to work – offer your services in exchange for rent! You don’t always need money to make things happen!
7. Know your cinemas
There’s nothing like a though-provoking film to inspire the creative flame in you to burn. Check out our list of Vienna’s best cinemas here and be sure to pay attention the the screening program at the arthouse cinema, Filmhaus.
8. Turn up at the monthly creative talk series events in the city
There’s not many in this city, but there are a few – learning and sharing with other creative people at events that are dedicated to creativity is an important part of the process of creating. Even though the romantic picture of the artist involves some lonely poor soul suffering and struggling for greatness alone in a room with empty wine bottles and cigarette ash everywhere, most of the greats hung out a lot with other like-minded people and fed off of these meetings. Here’s a couple of events which are all about a creative community meeting up and sharing their experiences, tips and tricks. Or just having stimulating conversations.
9. Get a Jahreskarte (yearly season ticket) from one of the big galleries
Vienna has some brilliant big-ass art galleries that are just too vast to cover in one visit. And their yearly season ticket are very affordable and worth investing in if creating is your thing. We’d recommend getting either the Albertina, Leopold Museum or the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
10. Catch a reading at Alte Schmiede or the Literaturhaus
The Alte Schmiede (translation: old welder’s) is a very special spot where regular readings of some of the city’s best authors happen. In this old welder’s workshop-turned-cultural-space, words are regularly thrown around by talented and well-known authors. Same goes for the aptly named, Literaturhaus – we don’t think we need to explain what goes on here.
11. Visit the Monday night Improv session in celeste’s cellar
In the arched-roof cellar of the intimate club, celeste, there’s a very special night for die-hard music-loving people happening. Hosted by a passionate group of musicians (mostly with a Jazz background), this event known as the Monday Improvisers Session is a quality open mic night which sees all kinds of musicians hit the stage together and do their thing. It has a very special atmosphere about it and is seriously all about the music – and the good times that come with it.
12. Catch the many festivals happening for creatives in Vienna
There are soooo many festivals that attempt to either showcase, or nurture the creative scene in Vienna. Earlier in the year, you have the Forward Festival which showcases a bunch of forward thinkers while in autumn, there’s the Open Days Vienna Festival dedicated to the awesome design and architecture being created around Vienna. There are too many festivals to list here, so just be sure to keep an eye on Vienna Würstelstand’s event guides!
13. Get funding and support by the city
There’s a bunch of agencies and initiatives by the city of Vienna and private people that offer various kinds of support and training programs, tailor-made for artists. Check out a selection below.
aws Kreativwirtschaft: aws is an Austrian federal promotional bank and is 100% owned by the Federal Republic of Austria, that supports projects of innovation in the field of creative economy. They offer an “impulse training”, where experts of the sectors are briefing you on insights and outlook of the current entrepreneurially-relevant topics, custom-tailored for the creative economy.
Wirtschaftsagentur Wien: Partly owned by WKO Wien, Uni-Credit, Erste Bank und Stadt Wien, the Wirtschaftsagentur Wien is offering different kinds of support bungles for young entrepreneurs, also in the creative economy sector, find more info here.