Come as you are: Creating a free, safe space for LGBTQ students and allies

Since its partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2011, Volkswagen has been committed to supporting educational programs that foster learning opportunities and connections between art and life. One of the programs made possible by Volkswagen’s partnership with MoMA is Open Art Space, a relaxed weekly drop-in program for LGBTQ high school students and allies who are interested in thinking about, and making, art in a creative and welcoming environment. The program is facilitated by two artists but is shaped largely by each individual’s interests. Free food, drinks and MetroCards are provided each week and no previous art-making experience is necessary. This past session, which ran from October through April, focused on creating zines, which are handmade booklets filled with drawings, collages, stories and other forms of expression. While the program centers on art and art making, that often takes a back seat to hanging out and listening to music in a space where the teens are free to be and express themselves. In celebration of World Pride, MoMA Magazine stopped by Open Art Space to talk with participating teens and program facilitators during the last session of the season. Open Art Space participant Theo Haegele photographed by Néstor Pérez-Molière What role does art play in creating a safe space? Theo Haegele: “I mean art can be whatever! It’s great that it can be whatever. Because you’re the artist and all art is part of the artist. So, if art is able to be whatever, then you’re allowed to be whatever within the space of art. I love MoMA and I’ve done a ton of programs here, like Open Art Space. It’s a sort of exchange, not just with your fellow peers, like within the group, but also with all the artists on the walls and the history. What makes a safe space? Exchange.” Open Art Space participant Nicholas Amiama-Gomez photographed by Néstor Pérez-Molière What is your favorite part about Open Art Space? Nicholas Amiama-Gomez: “My favorite part about Open Art Space is the freedom that it gives people when they come here. It’s a type of freedom that they can’t even get at home especially if the home isn’t as accepting. It allows people to express themselves through different mediums of art, and the different people that students can relate to when they come and visit. We’re allowed to have such a great time because of the type of freedom we get here.” Open Art Space participant Maya Jacob photographed by Néstor Pérez-Molièr What are your tips for fostering a community for LGBTQ+ teens and allies? Maya Jacob: “I think education and having a one-on-one conversation with people. And showing people that we can talk about whatever you have questions about and make it not scary, something that has to be stigmatized.” What does art mean to you? Open Art Space participant Kelly Williams photographed by Néstor Pérez-Molièr Kelly Williams: “Art means a lot of different things to me. I think it means just being able to express yourself verbally, physically, emotionally, with a lot of different aspects—meaning it could be in person, paper to pen, it could mean just being yourself around people.” What is it like to co-create a space for teens? Kerry Downey: “Because it is drop-in, the dynamic is really changeable and unpredictable. I find I have to go with the flow. When the energy is low and I try too hard to direct it, I’m letting my own anxieties run the ship. It’s different than a classroom, where you’re trying to guide students to achieve specific learning goals. Our goals are that participants should feel good and want to return. Our space should feel markedly different than school. If you want to talk about queer issues you can, or you don’t have to. Many of us don’t want to be solely defined as queer; we just want to just be because everywhere else we can’t.” How does art function as a facilitator for this group? Tali Petschek: “I don’t think that it has to be art to tell you the truth. It’s more about the activity of doing something together than it is about necessarily making art. I think art just happens to be something that is really fun to do as a group—together but separate. People can work together and collaborate, or just sit next to somebody and do their own thing. So, I think that can apply to other types of work, mediums, as well, and art just happens to be one of many that works particularly well for this age group and with the goal of creating community.” MoMA teaching artists and program facilitators Tali Petschek (left) and Kerry Downey photographed by Néstor Pérez-Molière.

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The Golf SportWagen and Alltrack close a five-decade run of VW wagons in America

Volkswagen knows wagon fans well; we’ve been selling wagons in America since 1966. But customers are speaking clearly about their preferences—it’s an SUV world now—and the 2019 model year will mark the end of Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and SportWagen production for the United States. “As we say goodbye to the Golf wagons, our legacy of ‘long roofs’ is something worth celebrating,” says Megan Closset, Product Manager for the Golf Family at Volkswagen of America. “From the air-cooled Squareback to the midsize Quantum and Passat wagons to today’s SportWagen and Alltrack models, every VW wagon has offered something different and something that stands out from the crowd.” Cutaway view of the Squareback sedan. In the era of the original Microbus, Volkswagen of America positioned its popular people hauler as a competitor to the huge, domestic station wagons of the 1960s. The first true wagon as we know them today arrived with the introduction of the Type 3 in America in 1966, which was sold as a “Squareback sedan,” using the same air-cooled, rear-mounted engine with rear-wheel-drive layout as the Beetle. Although small by American standards, the Squareback offered cargo room both behind passengers and under the front hood. The Type 3 Squareback was followed up by the Type 412 wagon in 1971. While it also used the basic Beetle layout, the 412 offered a more advanced suspension and unibody chassis. Heralded as a break with the classic “Think Small” approach of the Beetle, the Type 412 was sold through 1974. That year, Volkswagen replaced the 412 with the first generation of its modern midsize sedan and wagon, sold as the Dasher here in America and the Passat elsewhere in the world. Fully embracing the modern water-cooled, front-engine vehicle layout, the Dasher offered a clean design from Giorgio Giugiaro, ample space for its size, and compelling fuel economy in an era of oil embargoes. While its 75 hp seems low by modern standards, the lightweight Dasher (2,100 lbs.) gave it performance that was competitive for its time and price. The second-generation of the Passat was renamed Quantum when it arrived in the United States in 1981 as a 1982 model. The Quantum wagon variant was a more upscale vehicle than its predecessors, available with an optional 100-hp five-cylinder engine, and advertised as “the roomiest, most elegant Volkswagen ever.” It also was the first Volkswagen wagon to offer Syncro all-wheel drive, from 1986 through 1988. of In 1987, Volkswagen saw an opening for a more budget-priced wagon, offering a two-door variant of the Fox subcompact. One of the last “shooting brake” style cars sold in America – the name for body styles that combine two-door profiles with wagon-like cargo areas – the Fox wagon was rare in its time and even more so today. The third generation of the Passat wagon arrived in 1990, keeping with the trend of the previous generations by being one of the largest Volkswagen sold to date. Available as a sedan or wagon, the new-to-America Passat name arrived with a sharp change in Volkswagen design, featuring a smooth, grill-free nose and aerodynamic-tuned profile. Building on the Volkswagen reputation for affordable European engineering, the Passat offered a controlled ride, upscale materials, and new touches like one-touch power windows. When the all-new Passat arrived in America in 1998, the wagon variant quickly became a favorite among Volkswagen fans, with a variety of available engine choices and optional all-wheel-drive. The range eventually grew to include one of the most unique wagons ever sold in America, the Passat W8, powered by a 270-hp, 4-liter W8 engine paired with all-wheel-drive and an optional six-speed manual transmission. At nearly $40,000, it remains one of the rarest and most expensive Volkswagen wagon sold on these shores. of Recognizing the customer demand for a compact wagon, Volkswagen unveiled a wagon version of the Jetta at the 2001 Los Angeles Auto Show that went on sale in March that year. Much like the popular Jetta, the wagon offered similar performance and handling with even more space, and quickly proved popular. In 2002, between the new Jetta and Passat, U.S. sales of VW wagons hit a peak of 34,396. The Passat wagon was redesigned again in 2005, and sold through 2010 in the United States. The Jetta wagon’s redesign in 2008 to add a new chrome grille, greater interior space and an independent rear suspension made it one of the most popular wagon model Volkswagen has ever sold in the United States. For 2015, the Jetta wagon was replaced by the modern Golf SportWagen, built off the dynamic MQB chassis, offering improved handling, space and fuel efficiency. Two years later, the Golf Alltrack arrived for wagon fans looking for a more rugged, all-wheel-drive variant. Volkswagen plans to extend production of the popular Alltrack for the United States through December 2019 to ensure that everyone who wants to experience an affordable, European-designed wagon has the opportunity to do so. In the coming years, an expanded lineup of SUVs and the future ID. electric vehicle family can bring the opportunity to combine style and space in a variety of ways. As the ID. BUZZ Concept shows, the flexibility of future EV chassis means that there’s always a chance for a favorite body style to make an electric comeback. Concept vehicles are not available for sale. Specifications may change. Fuel economy will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition. See www.fueleconomy.gov for details.

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The VW Bucket List: Highway 1 Treffen

To gather, to meet: In Germany it’s known as treffen, but in the U.S. treffen has a slightly different meaning. Here, it refers to the Highway 1 Treffen, a yearly trek that owners of air-cooled VWs make from the Canadian to the Mexican border on Highway 1. Along the way, those 1,000 or so drivers — some who join for a day, some who make the whole journey — reunite with old friends, meet fellow VW enthusiasts, and generally enjoy all that the coast has to offer. “We all want to drive our Volkswagens up and down the coast,” says Andre Toselli of Airhead Parts, which created and has sponsored the Treffen for the past 20 years. “This is an opportunity to do it with hundreds of your new best friends.” Here’s why the Highway 1 Treffen should be on your bucket list: Anyone can participate, but the actual drive of Treffen is reserved for air-cooled Volkswagens, making the event pure eye candy for lovers of vintage buses, Beetles, and Karmann Ghias. “Some of these cars deserve to be in museums, but the best part is, they’re not,” says Toselli. “People are driving them, they’re enjoying them, and they’re sharing them with other people.” Part of the draw of the Treffen is the chance to spend time with people who share an enthusiasm for Volkswagen vehicles. “The camaraderie is just amazing,” says Mike Anderson, who has driven his 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible in portions of previous Treffens — and plans to complete the entire drive this year. Many drivers have owned a series of VW vehicles over the years — and drive other models such as a Jetta or Passat when they’re not cruising in their classic cars. “Whenever you get a bunch of like-minded people together, you have a lot of fun,” says Tom Summers, who has driven his 1962 bus during portions of multiple Treffens. “If you want to meet people and bring good vibes, there’s nothing better than to be in a VW Beetle or a bus.” Participants drive about 150 miles a day, winding their way through iconic settings such as the California redwoods. “It’s a beautiful drive,” says Anderson. “You’re next to the ocean, you’re not going fast, the cars are all in a convoy.” Drivers participate in car shows at several stops and may camp in their buses or stay in the same hotels at night. There are events that drivers in Treffen gather around as well as spontaneous happenings, such as a local parade of vehicles. “You’ve got retired couples, you’ve got young couples with kids in car seats,” says Toselli. “Everyone gets along like they’ve known each other their whole lives.”   Jason Chenoweth drove his 1965 Bahama blue Beetle to the Treffen stop in Pacific Grove, California, near his residence. Later, he spotted a drawing of his car at the event on social media. He contacted the artist and bought a print, which now sits on his desk. “It was shocking,” Chenoweth recalls. “I said, ‘Holy cow, that’s my bug!’” Some Canadian drivers make the trip, and Mexican car clubs drive up to meet the Treffen at the border and join in the fun at the end of the cruise. One year, Toselli says, a man shipped his bus from the Netherlands to participate. Another time, an Australian couple bought a vintage bus in Alaska, drove to the U.S. with their nine-month-old baby, completed the Treffen, and then kept on going until they reached Costa Rica.   It can be a challenge to keep a cavalcade of decades-old vehicles humming along for 1,700 miles, but usually a VW auto mechanic travels with the group to help with repairs. Either way, the Treffen is filled with people whose chief hobby is fixing up classic Volkswagen vehicles. “If something happens, you have all the help in the world,” says Anderson. “Things break, but we have parts available,” says Summers. “That’s all part of the adventure.” Although the air-cooled VW is the primary focus of the Treffen gathering, anyone is welcome — the curious, the locals, the car fans. There’s no admission charge, no ticket necessary, so just follow the crowd and get ready to amp up your knowledge of all things VW.   of

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A new era for Volkswagen innovation in America begins with the Type 20 Concept

Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety and other standards Some two decades ago, the Volkswagen Group opened a three-person office in Silicon Valley, looking to tap the region’s burgeoning tech scene for new transportation breakthroughs. Today, that office includes more than 180 engineers, designers, researchers and social scientists – the largest such office outside Germany. Earlier this month, Volkswagen announced a new name and increased responsibility for the site: the Innovation and Engineering Center California. And to demonstrate how it will blend the best of Volkswagen’s heritage as the company embraces an electric future, the center revealed a stunning electric-powered test vehicle called the Type 20 Concept. “The future of the Volkswagen Group will be defined by our success in developing new technology that is designed to meet our customers’ needs,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “As we roll out the next generation of electric and autonomous vehicles, innovation will increasingly define who we are.” The former Electronics and Research Laboratory has a long history of applying advanced technology to vehicles. In 2005, the lab’s “Stanley” robotic research vehicle won the DARPA Grand Challenge, navigating 132 miles of desert without a human driver or intervention. Other tech developed at the center, like predictive navigation and speech controls, have been deployed in Volkswagen Group models around the world. of The Type 20 Concept ties the past and future together. Built by a team of 25 in less than six months from the bones of a 1962 Type 2 11-window Microbus, the Type 20 has been converted to run on a 120-hp electric motor, powered by a 10-kW battery pack – both sized to fit in the tight confines of the original bus powertrain. While it retains most of the styling cues of the original Type 2, the designers and engineers wanted to make it a rolling advertisement for the future of automotive technology. “When we first envisioned this project, we wanted to build something that would make a young kid want to become an automotive engineer or an automotive designer when they grow up,” said Erik Glaser, principal product designer at the IECC. “It’s the perfect representation of what we do here – it’s part German, it’s part Californian, and it puts technology first, but with a really emotional story behind it.” The first sign of the Type 20’s real character comes from the alien-looking wheels and rearview-mirror supports. Both pieces, along with the steering wheel and seat supports in the interior, were created using “generative design” – a computing process that mimics evolution to create natural-seeming shapes that maximize strength while minimizing weight. The headlights and VW logo aren’t just lit by LEDs. They’re part of a futuristic digital assistant powered by an intelligent speech agent built from existing Volkswagen Group technology. Microphones and cameras inside and outside the Type 20 can use facial recognition and natural-language commands to let users access the vehicle, and respond with light. Inside, the Type 20 features a full custom interior and a Looking Glass II holographic display integrated into the dashboard, generating 3D images without the need for specialized glasses. “The bus was put together as a way to celebrate our 20 year existence as a lab,” said Nathaniel Coser, senior staff engineer. “It’s a combination of our heritage and our future.”

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Volkswagen collaborates with DonorsChoose.org to support classrooms across America

Chances are if you have a child in public school in the United States, that school has received support from DonorsChoose.org. From its start in 2000 by a Bronx teacher, the crowdsourced giving network has raised more than $830 million for some 500,000 teachers. Four out of five public schools nationwide have had at least one DonorsChoose.org project, and educators have turned to the network to help fund everything from classroom decorations to clothes for needy students – helping some 34 million students in all. If those numbers seem huge, it’s because teachers have been funneling their own cash into school projects for decades. Studies show the average public school teacher spends $479 of their own money on school supplies each year, and those in low-income schools spend up to 40 percent more than the average. To build and promote on these efforts to help children thrive at school, Volkswagen is donating a total of $1 million to DonorsChoose.org to help teachers by funding classroom projects across America. Volkswagen dealers will soon receive DonorsChoose.org donation cards pre-loaded with funds from Volkswagen to share with customers during the “Drive Bigger” Summer Event. Customers who receive a donation card will be able to visit the web site and select a classroom project that they want Volkswagen to support. Public school teachers across America call on DonorsChoose.org to help supply their classrooms. “We are absolutely thrilled about this partnership,” says Vashti Barran, Partnerships Manager at DonorsChoose.org. “We love that dealers can engage with new customers by giving them a DonorsChoose.org donation card that they can use to support a classroom project that inspires them. This campaign truly reflects Volkswagen’s commitment to the ‘Drive Bigger’ initiative and we’re honored to be a part of it.” As part of its $1 million donation, beyond funding donation cards distributed by dealers, Volkswagen will also make an overall corporate donation to the giving program, and will match its employee contributions from $25 to $2,500. This partnership closely follows Volkswagen’s recent announcement for the new brand direction, built on responsibility, innovation and helping work toward the greater good. Last year, donors gave $159 million to teachers’ requests for supplies through the DonorsChoose.org.  Once a project is fully funded, the requested items are purchased and shipped directly to the school. “Education in our public schools is a fundamental foundation for every student in this country, and DonorsChoose.org is able to support thousands of teachers and students each year,” says Jim Zabel, Vice President of Marketing for Volkswagen of America. “The Drive Bigger Event will allow us to turn our words into action.  We think our role as a car company can be much bigger than just bringing students to and from school.  With a focus to support teachers and classroom projects across America, we hope to encourage our Volkswagen dealers and customers to drive something bigger than ourselves.” Donation cards are pre-loaded with funds from Volkswagen and are available while funds last.  Donation cards must be used by the expiration date printed on the card, and are not available for cash.

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As the Beetle ends, a look at its impact on design and Volkswagen’s future

(L-R): Tamara Warren, co-host at Cheddar News Network and founder of Le Car; Volkswagen Head of Design Klaus Bischoff; Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, professor at Pratt Institute and founder of Interwoven Design; and Paul Galloway, MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design Curator. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) holds over 200,000 works of art in its collection from around the world that represent the best modern and contemporary art. One of these is a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle, acquired as an example of iconic industrial design and cultural impact.  With approximately 21 million Beetle units built, it was one of the best-selling vehicles globally of the 20th century. With the Beetle’s third generation coming to an end, Volkswagen convened a panel of design experts at MoMA in early June to explore what made the Beetle such a breakthrough, and what lessons it holds for the next revolution in transportation – electric, zero-tailpipe emission mobility. Led by Tamara Warren, co-host at Cheddar News Network and founder of Le Car, the panel included Volkswagen Head of Design Klaus Bischoff; Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, professor at Pratt Institute and founder of Interwoven Design; and Paul Galloway, the Collection Specialist in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. The panelists pose with a Beetle from MoMa’s collection. “When the Beetle first arrived here in the U.S., it was a total contradiction to all of the cars on the road at the time,” said Bischoff. “But people fell in love with it. It was like a family member that lived in the garage. It was because of the shape of the car, the design of it, the simplicity.” The group discussed the cultural significance of the Beetle, transformations in automotive design and the future of auto design. Pailes-Friedman fondly recalled the bud vase in her second generation Beetle, where she always displayed fresh flowers. And the group weighed how the simplicity of the Beetle and accessibility could be translated into the world of electric vehicles, such as the future ID. Crozz. “We are now entering a new era of mobility, so we have to recreate mobility again,” Bischoff explained. “We are doing so with the ID. Family, so our aim is not only to deliver mobility, but zero tailpipe emission mobility.”

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How pitcher Daniel Norris lives a Volkswagen #vanlife every offseason

Professional baseball pitcher Daniel Norris says music inspired him to live on the road. Growing up in Johnson City, Tenn., Norris was captivated by singer Jack Johnson’s songs about quirky camping adventures in a VW bus. The music left such a strong impression that Norris, at 18 years old, purchased his own 1978 VW Westfalia microbus with money earned from his first professional baseball signing bonus. “One of [Johnson’s] songs talks about him and his wife in London, and they had an old VW,” said Norris, now 26. “That inspired me at an early age to form my own rendition of that lifestyle.” Even after years of steady employment in professional baseball—first with the Toronto Blue Jays, and moving to the Detroit Tigers in 2015—Norris swears by van life. The pitcher still makes time outside of his busy baseball schedule to camp out of his van, nicknamed “Shaggy,” for weeks or even months at a time in the offseason. “I really just enjoy the solitude of it,” he said. “It replenishes me before a big season.” For Norris, it’s a ritual of his own; the athlete grabs his surfboard, the bare essentials, and hits the road. He’ll sleep on beaches, in Walmart parking lots or deep in the wilderness. The minimalist lifestyle might clash with affluent stereotypes about professional athletes, but Norris says his trips keep him centered while juggling a lucrative career and major league stardom. “I wanted to hone in on staying true to who I was,” he explained. “Now that I have more, I want to have less.” Norris first met Shaggy by connecting with an owner two hours from his home. The car was not originally for sale, though Norris couldn’t help but try to buy it anyway. He loved its soft cream-colored coat and was particularly impressed by its drive-ready condition with minimal rust. “Everything was original, which I really dug about it,” he recalled. “It was a no-brainer.” Norris made a persuasive offer and renovated his new car into the travel-ready home he dreamed of. From Tennessee, he drove Shaggy to Florida for spring training. Instead of taking a hotel room with the rest of his teammates, he’d find suitable accommodations around town—that is, those that tolerated his scrappy lifestyle. “I would get kicked off the beach quite a few times,” he said. “One time, I decided to park at the Blue Jays’ complex. Probably, at like 11:30 or 12:00 that night, I get a knock on the window, and it’s the cops.” Luckily, the encounter ended amicably. “There were five cops, and they all started laughing when they realized who I was. Asking me questions like, ‘Why do you do this?’” he said. “It was kind of funny.” Some of the typical options for VW Campers over the decades. For years, Norris and Shaggy were nearly inseparable in the offseason. To the amusement of his teammates, Norris insisted on driving Shaggy down for his seasonal Florida trips. But even though the decades-old car endured year after year of cross-country marathon drives, Norris knew Shaggy would soon reach its limits. Shaggy broke down three times during a 2015 trip from Tennessee to Oregon. The second time, Norris blew the third cylinder in Kansas. He found a mechanic in Denver who could fix it, but to get there Norris had to drive his beloved car for eight hours at 35 mph. Shaggy lasted one more day before it failed again. “It was pretty gnarly,” he remembered fondly. “I’m very fortunate for those experiences. I think they’ve helped mold me as a person.” As he’s tacked on more miles, Norris has gotten handier, too. He handles quick fixes with duct tape and zip ties while learning more about Shaggy’s long-term upkeep. “I like the idea of fixing it myself,” he said. “My dad’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met, so he’s inspired me to relish those opportunities.” Now in his eighth year with Shaggy, and fifth season with the Tigers, Norris takes his Westfalia to the shores of South Carolina, a five- to six-hour drive from Tennessee. He’s got the system down—he downsizes more than he used to, and knows to perform maintenance checks before each major drive. Trips have shortened in recent years, though Norris doesn’t plan on abandoning van life anytime soon. “I plan on having it my whole life,” he said. “It helped me find myself in many ways. It means a lot to me.”

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