In the 1920s it was primarily industrialists, supporters of the arts and local art societies who provided important platforms for modern artists to present their works and promote their projects. In Erfurt, Walter Kaesbach, the director of the municipal museum, and Alfred Hess, a shoe manufacturer, played a decisive role in staging numerous modernist exhibitions and events.
Hess's villa became a popular meeting place for artists and architects – among them Walter Gropius, Theo Kollmer and Karl Meinhardt. Alfred Hess raised the profile of Neues Bauen in Erfurt by commissioning the conversion of several commercial buildings in the city centre. These are still striking features of the Erfurt cityscape today. The artist Margaretha Reichardt was born in Erfurt. She studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau and from 1933 ran a handweaving workshop where she taught weaving and passed on the intellectual and cultural ideas of the Bauhaus. Her workshop – with the original handlooms, still used by weavers today – has been listed as a historic site since 1987 and is administered by Erfurt Angermuseum.