The Friends are a group of citizens interested in art who promote and support the Ludwig Forum and art and culture in Aachen. The association was founded in 1971. Exhibitions, discussions with artists, curators and art critics, book publications and art trips are regularly initiated and co-financed: For example, the conference on the exhibition West Arch – A Young Generation in Architecture (2010), the exhibition by Paweł Althamer (2010), the lecture series on video art (2010), film evenings at Hyper Real (2011), lectures as part of Nie wieder störungsfrei! (2011), and the exhibition and catalog of Phyllida Barlow (2012/2013).
At the end of 2012, the Young Friends (Junge Freunde) were founded. They facilitate behind-the-scenes insights and tours with special guided tours, studio visits, film screenings, previews, screen printing workshops, trips, and many other formats. Since 2013, the Junge Freunde have also been the initiators and organizers of the LUFO Bar.
Over the years, special events have been able to take place at LUFO thanks to the Friends. Probably the most important commitment is the organization of the Art Prize Aachen (Kunstpreis Aachen), which was initiated on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Neue Galerie – Sammlung Ludwig in 1980. The prize is awarded every two years to an artist who has given significant impetus to the contemporary art scene in recent years. The prize is endowed with 10,000 euros and is linked to an exhibition at the Ludwig Forum Aachen. An international jury headed by the chair(wo)man of the association decides on the choice of the prize-winner. The prize is financed to a large extent by the association as well as by the city of Aachen, the Ludwig Forum and institutions of the Aachen economy.