About Us











The path to your portfolio – the most important points
    • A readiness to commitBuilding up a portfolio for an application to a college or university usually takes a lot more time than you may think. This is because, for the first time, you will be considering yourself and the question of who you are. This has nothing to do with academic thought or with tasks that you have been assigned, but rather with the issue of how you see the world and what your artistic, design and creative contribution should be.The lowering of Germany’s school-leaving age by one year has increased the demand on candidates to demonstrate solid orientation and to be able to formulate artistic and independent portfolio pages that satisfy the requirements of a university or college application.
    • Motivation and enthusiasmIn our portfolio preparation course, we work together. We provide motivation for you to produce brave and unusual work and we endeavour to inspire you to perform creative tasks. We do expect, however, that you bring some of your own enthusiasm and that you are able to integrate motivation into your own work. We will motivate you – we won’t coax you!
    • Putting demands into perspective and removing fearsA lot of students who attend our portfolio presentation course arrive with one very big demand. A demand they have placed on themselves. That’s a good thing, but it can often cause unnecessary fear – the fear of not being able to fulfil one’s own demands. We can help you to place your demands at a level commensurate with your current situation and slowly to build on this with continuous work and with the enjoyment derived from that work.


Our concept

We seek sustainable success, which in our view cannot be achieved with a quickly made portfolio. Our experience shows that preparation of a good portfolio takes time, engagement, the development of personal strengths, endurance, and discipline. Therefore, our classes are based on the following cornerstones: the systematic and comprehensive preparation of course participants, needs-based and targeted classes, fostering and challenging students through continuous learning and further development of oneself, diligent work and the practice of endurance.Our goal is the elaboration of the individual character of every participant without losing connection to reality, engagement, and the ability to look beyond one’s own life.


The course participants enjoy an international atmosphere of classmates hailing from Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Belgium, Chile, China, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Island, Japan, Canada, Korea, Columbia, Croatia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, New Zeeland, Norway, Austria, Palestine, Peru, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Check republic, Tunis, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela… and of course from the whole of Germany.The diversity of our course participants entails distinct ideas and experiences encountering each other, ensuring active exchange and contributing decisively to the shaping of one’s own personality.

Our Success

The Von Erlenbach art school is proud to be one of the most successful art schools in Berlin. Over 90 percent of university applicants who have gone through our courses are invited to sit exams with over 80 percent gaining admittance. This rate has remained steady year after year. Considering that the average percentage of accepted applicants in German art schools constitutes 5 to 15 percent, our success speaks for itself and suggests our portfolio course to be one of the most promising options for those preparing for higher education.

Our Lecturers

Our tutors and lecturers are active artists with solid training and experience of working in various professional arenas. This immediate, everyday practice allows them to speak frankly from first hand experience of working in various creative professions while bringing current trends into classes.They support every course participant in learning the foundations and in independent work with great engagement and passion.

Our Relationship to the Universities

With the help of previous graduates we are in continuous contact with many academies and universities. Contemporary graduates who previously participated in the portfolio course are today’s students in various specializations and are also university professors. Due to this we have a very good network and are well informed about news and current trends in the universities.

The Studio Atmosphere

Our classroom is a former factory floor, with the south-facing windows facing a garden. We use the garden for working and relaxing in the open-air during the warmer seasons. The classroom is found in the back-yard and allows for a very concentrated working environment in the middle of the city.

The City of Berlin

Berlin is an art and culture metropolis, not only for Germany, but Europe as a whole. Here the biggest art academies and universities foster an excitement within the arts. It is a city where international artists meet and the most important cultural events for all creative fields take place. Here the creative industry is building its center, and we are in the middle of it all.

Central Location

The Von Erlenbach art-school is located in the district of Kreuzberg, central to Berlin. The school can be reached conveniently from any part of town by public transport. The nearby Bergmannstrasse provides course members with a wide variety of restaurants, bars, beer-houses and snacks-bars; everything for the well-being of the body or to just satisfy a little appetite in the meantime.


When does the semester start?

The first semester always starts around mid August of each year and takes 12 weeks. Then, at the beginning of November, the 2nd semester starts without a break which goes until the beginning of February. Anyone who wants to can book the following semester with only 4 weeks until mid-March.

Is one semester enough to create a portfolio?

In most cases one semester is not enough for creating a portfolio. Even the universities recommend to spend at least half a year or longer, intensively working to create a portfolio. More often than not, two or even three semesters are booked by our students.

Do I have to hand in a special application or pass a test?

No, there is no test. But we try to have a extensive conversation with you, talking about your interest and telling you exactly how we are working a tour school. You should definitely have a great interest in an artistic course or creative working.

How old does one have to be? Do you have to be of full age or a non-smoker?

If you are under age and haven’t finished school yet we decide on the enrollment after a conversation. Smokers and non-smokers are welcomed. Smoking is only allowed outside in the yard, not in the school building itself.

Do you accept everyone?

So far we accept students upon receipt of application and regarding the extensive conversation. A lot of people get in contact with us via telephone, e-mail or through a visit to find out whether they can imagine working with us.

Is there a deadline?

There is no fixed deadline. However, since we are regularly fully booked you should secure a place and book at least 3-4 month prior to the beginning of the course.

Do I have to expect a waiting period?

If the courses are fully booked we have a waiting list. Chances to move up, however, are not very good.

Do I have to pay for the course in advance? Is it possible to pay in installments?

The course has to be paid for in advance. There is a possibility to pay in three installments.

When does the course start in the morning?

The first course starts at 10 am and ends at 5 pm. We put great stress on punctuality.

How long can I work in the evening? What about weekends?

There is no course on weekends. However, there is a life drawing class every Saturday in the school. This course is from 1 pm to 6 pm and has to be paid for additionally. You can find more information about it onhttp://www.aktinstitut.de

How can I prepare best?

Through passion, discipline and a lot of work.

Is there perhaps an information pack or book about your school?

You can download books on the different area of studies as PDF files for a small charge on our website (from October).

Do you specialize in anything particular? Or do you cover everything?

We prepare equally for the different areas of studies with great success. A specialization is made through the contact to the different universities since they tell us what special requirements there are for the portfolios. We can equip you with everything you need for a successful portfolio. However, in the end you also need a bit of luck.

Do you know a lot of lecturers from universities?

We know lecturers and professors at many universities and regularly send our students there for meetings.

Do I have to provide the materials myself or are they included in the course fee?

Only the colours and binders are included in the course fee. All other materials have to be brought by yourself. On request we will send you a list of materials.

Am I covered (e.g. after a linocut accident)?

We have industrial injury insurance. However, you should also be covered yourself.

Do you speak English?

Kathrin understands English but doesn’t speak English very well so far, I myself understand and speak English. Our lecturers, who normally teach on Fridays, usually speak English. However, anyone who wants to apply to a German university has to speak and understand German.

Is there a kitchen?

There is a small kitchen with a big fridge and a microwave to heat up food.

Are drinks and food provided or do I have to bring my own?

Food and drinks have to be brought by you. Proper cooking is not possible.

Is it possible to join your course without wanting to prepare a portfolio or wanting to study?

Ever year we have artists who just want to intensify their artistic work without wanting to apply for university. You should know, however, that the level of our course is very high and that we don’t take any amateur artists or hobbyists

Is it possible to just have fun and learn something with it?


Is there something like an exhibition?

When the three semesters are over we normally have a final exhibition.