Zaeren352 Wants to Redefine Luxembourg’s Urban Art Scene

Zaeren352 co-founders want to change the perception of Urban Art in Luxembourg. (© Zaeren352)

There’s a new player in Luxembourg’s cultural scene: Zaeren352. As a cultural non-profit, the collective led by Charles Even and Benji Rock aims to spearhead a cultural shift.

What inspired the founding of Zaeren352, and what are some key milestones you’ve achieved since starting the project?

Let’s start at the beginning. Zaeren in Luxembourgish means glasshouse—and this all started in the big glasshouse in Benji’s backyard. Since 2012, we’ve been throwing parties there, meeting up with friends, and having barbecues. It’s a place where many new friendships started and developed. Eventually, we started having little concerts there with local artists like Maz and Chasey Negro.

In 2021, we decided to take it a step further and make “Zaeren” something official. So, the idea came up to create a non-profit organization—which we did. We founded it with two close friends of ours, Constantin Minekov and David Galassi. That was our first key milestone: becoming an official non-profit association. 

We always wanted to have a bigger team. This year, we expanded our team with Max Schaus and Batty Azagra Soria, who mainly work on our graphic designs and social media. This helps a lot in the development of our projects and ensures a smooth process. 

We had our first big event at the Zaeren in Benji’s backyard in August 2021. Some German artists from Bonn performed there, as well as local ones, and it was a great success. A lot of people from abroad came, some even just for the night, and then drove back. It was cool to see.

In October 2021, we hosted City Vibes at den Atelier. Around 800 people attended, and we had a big headliner from Hamburg, Ansu. That was our biggest official booking, together with Ultraschall Collective. 

For our most recent event at Stitch, we worked with Tango, which we are really proud of. Tango was our first big corporate sponsor, and that definitely was another milestone. We’re excited to see where we’ll go next. 

Can you elaborate on Zaeren352’s mission to drive a cultural shift and redefine the perception of urban art? What drives your passion for this field?

We grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop music and always liked the style, lifestyle, and community associated with it. Back then, we used to think it was impossible to have something like that in Luxembourg because that culture doesn’t exist here. 

The urban art scene in Luxembourg is still very niche—unlike in cities like Berlin, for example. There, the urban art scene is huge, and institutions recognize the potential of projects and artists. We feel like that in Luxembourg, hip-hop music is often seen with a negative connotation. But in reality, we see this whole movement as a form of art. 

“We want to go big. Our long-term goals include organizing a festival in Luxembourg with big headliners and diverse cultural elements and art forms like graffiti and streetwear.”

Charles Even and Benji Rock, co-founders of the Zaeren352 collective.

With our project, we want to change the perception of urban art and clarify that it’s a cultural movement. We aim to make urban art attractive to the wider public, to make it a whole experience for the people in Luxembourg and the artists. 

Artists in Luxembourg have never had platforms to showcase their talents, but giving them the chance to perform and develop is crucial. That’s what we want to help with. We want to bring artists from abroad to Luxembourg and, later on, bring Luxembourgish artists to other countries. 

Our passion comes from a love of music, hip-hop, and the concert experience. We’re inspired by international artists and managers to help local artists who don’t have a scene here. Knowing many artists personally, we want to provide opportunities for them and help them reach a wider audience. 

What are some unique characteristics of Luxembourg’s urban art landscape compared to other European cities?

Luxembourg is small, so there are often fewer opportunities. For instance, Luxembourg doesn’t have big labels like Universal or Sony. This means that especially hip hop artists often don’t get the support they need and deserve.

And that’s a shame, because people in Luxembourg love to see local artists succeed. We’ve seen that at our events. We always have positive resonance from the population, so we want to create more opportunities to take advantage of that. 

But we don’t need to look at that in a negative light. Luxembourg’s unique characteristics are this community aspect—and the potential for growth. Luxembourg is small, and it’s easier to connect with people. The connections are closer. If you have a good network, you can reach out to anyone. Luxembourg is very family-like in that sense, which makes it easier to get support and work together. 

What’s more, Luxembourg is still growing. We have the space and the potential to make the urban art community bigger and reach more people. If we can connect with people and make the right moves, we can grow Luxembourg’s urban art scene and bring more artists here. 

What are Zaeren’s long-term goals and vision for the future of urban art in Luxembourg and Europe?

We want to go big. Our long-term goals include organizing a festival in Luxembourg with big headliners and diverse cultural elements and art forms like graffiti and streetwear. We also plan to eventually organize a tour with Luxembourgish artists, through the Benelux, for example. 
To make that happen, we need time, financial support and subsidies, and, of course, support from sponsors. So if anyone is reading this who is interested in working with Zaeren, feel free to reach out to us! Ultimately, we aim to put Luxembourg and its artists on the map and connect them with the wider world.

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