© Todd Gray

Mission Statement

Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. is an independent, politically neutral German intermediary organization fostering cultural and intellectual exchange between Germany and the United States of America.

Villa Aurora, which is located in Pacific Palisades, a district of Los Angeles, in the state of California, focuses on its residency program for artists, paying special attention to the spiritual and cultural heritage of European exile and the memory of European exile history in the United States. Villa Aurora's cultural program work in both the US and Germany also conveys a contemporary, diverse image of Germany and creates space for intercultural debate and joint reflection on social, cultural and political issues.

Since 1995, Villa Aurora has served as an artists’ retreat offering residency fellowships to writers, filmmakers, visual artists and composers. While still owned by the Berlin-based non-profit, the entire operation is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media. Its fellows and the Friends of the Villa Aurora have made it an important gathering place for people in and outside of Los Angeles for conversations and cultural life.

Villa Aurora also remains a harbor for those who face persecution at home: Each year, in cooperation with human rights organizations and the USC, Villa Aurora awards a special Feuchtwanger Fellowship to writers or journalists from countries restricting freedom of expression.

Since 2018, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e.V. has also been developing the residence program for the Thomas Mann House. The interdisciplinary program is committed to the spirit of Thomas Mann, who, during his exile in the United States, dealt with fundamental cultural and political questions of his time in his literary work, lectures and essays. In a variety of formats and controversial debates, the program promotes dialogue with broad circles of American society and continues it in events with American partners in Germany.