USF Verftet
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The United Sardine Factory (USF) is located at the Georgernes Verft in Bergen. This old factory was once the largest cannery in Norway. Now, USF is a multiple cultural arena, unique in size and variety. Arts and culture are produced, organised and presented in several forms and genres.

Our neighbours in the area at Verftet includes Carte Blanche Contemporary Dance company, the national broadcasters TV2 and Bergen International Theatre - BiT.

USF Verftet is run by the Stiftelsen Kulturhuset USF foundation. Spread out on 12 000 sqm, about 200 people in independent enterprises operate within the areas of art, crafts, music, dance, dramatic art, design and architecture, literature, film and video, internet and multi-media. Moreover, one find rehearsal studios for music and accommodation for dance, media workshop and literature. Several cultural organisations and companies involved with the cultural industry are located in the building.

In order to strengthen connections between local artists and artists from abroad, the Bergen Council and USF Verftet hosts an artist-in-residence programme, offering studios and arrangements for two international artists.

The activity in the USF building can be divided into two categories: The public arenas and the production areas.

The public arenas
A rich and diverse program is presented, from independent art groups, promotors and festival organisers. About 150.000 visitors come to attend an array of art and cultural events every year.

Cinemateket USF is a 90 seat cinema, a valuable supplement to the Bergen commercial cinema. Cinemateket offer experimental new art films as well as the good old classics. A series of new short films from local film producers are presented every month. Link to the cinema here.

Sardinen USF is a club and concert venue that accommodates 500 people. Every week Bergen Jazzforum hosts concerts given by local musicians as well as international jazz stars. Link to the jazzclub here.

Røkeriet USF is the largest venue and accommodates 800 people. The area is mainly used for larger concerts in the rock- and jazz genre, sometimes for theatre, dance and art installations.

Studio USF is the only black box stage in Bergen. This small stage is perfect for theatre, acoustic music, clubbing, dance and performance, especially designed for performers who appreciate close contact with the audience. Studio USF accommodates 130 people.

Visningsrommet USF is a gallery where Norwegian and international artists present contemporary art. Visningsrommet USF is an experimental and non-commercial gallery. Link to the gallery here.

Kafe Kippers is the rallying point of artists and the public, located on the pier accommodating Bergen's largest outdoor restaurant in the summertime, where 500 quests can enjoy the most beautiful fjord views as well as the sunset.

The production areas
A rich and diverse acivity of artists, creative enterprises, art organisations and educational establishments are located to the USF building. Among these are: 60 studios where 80 professional fine artists and craft artists work, two guest studios for international artists, offices for a broad range of organisations in music, film and literature. Several companies producing and distributing film and media. A number of interior architects and furniture designers. Educational institutions in dance and literature. Rehearsal studios for jazz and rock musicians, and a workshop for film and video productions.

The history
In 1784, a sailing-ship yard was established and was in operation almost throughout the 19th century. Then the largest Norwegian factory of finer knitwear was established and expanded in the same location. In the year 1910, the United Sardine Factory Ltd. (USF) started the sardine canning industry in the building.

Today, the building stands approximately as it was during the years 1914-1915, except for two large warehouses, which were torn down.

The enterprises at this place through the centuries has operated in accordance to the spirit of the times in local and European history. In 1983, the sardine factory closed down, and the first artists moved into run-down premises that was transformed to studios. USF was part of an international trend during the 80s where empty factory buildings were re-used for cultural purposes.

The public areas of the building opened in 1993. The realisation of art arena USF Verftet are based on the efforts of idealistic people who had the courage and the purpose to follow their dream. The cooperation between the property owner and the foundation was quite unique, however the breaking factor was the political support and the final award of public means to realise the art and culture centre in 1993.

USF Verftet is unique because of its variety of art and cultural production and presentation. USF Verftet has been a model for development of art and cultural clusters abroad, i.e. The Baltic in Newcastle and The Custard Factory in Birmingham.

The future
The attraction of Bergen/Vestlandet has been created by national and international recognition of a rich and authentic creative artistic environment.
The art industry and professional art field in Bergen is expanding vigorously and USF Verftet are planning to develop additional areas. Due to society's new outlook and acceptance of the value of artistic and creative industries, major optimism is linked to the development.





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