Slovak Union of Visual Arts is implementing a project supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism entitled
“UMELKA – Modern Center of Art and Community (UMELKA)”
Project code: CLT01010
Programme: Cultural Entrepreneurship, Cultural Heritage and Cultural Cooperation
Implementation period: 07/2020 – 04/2024
Grant awarded: 686,664 Eur
Abstract: The project is focused on the development of intangible cultural heritage, the so-called Umelecka Beseda Slovenska. The project will also concentrate on the development of artistic activities in the building of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts as an open non-political professional umbrella organization of associations of professional artists and theorists based on cooperation with partners from donor countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein). The project focuses also on the inclusion of minorities through specialized activities for the Roma, Jewish, Hungarian and LGBT communities and the use of the artistic and creative potential of young people.
The project is implemented exclusively in the so-called UMELKA building located in Bratislava’s Old Town, which is a national cultural monument registered in the central list of the cultural monuments and belongs to the city’s monuments reserve.
The aim of the project is to increase quality of cultural and artistic activities using inspiration from good international practice in close cooperation with foreign partners.
The project aims to make the building as accessible as possible for physically and visually disadvantaged people. In addition, the newly built multifunctional pavilion will be fully barrier-free and the main Gallery will be given a stair climber, which will make the unique spaces truly accessible to the entire public. Information boards will be installed so that they also meet the requirements for the sightless or those with visual impairments.
At the same time, activities for the wider community and educational activities aimed at combating extremism, radicalism and hate speech will be implemented, also with the support of the artistic community and experience from foreign partners. The UMELKA center has the ambition to enter the next century of its operation and become a modern center not only of artistic but also cultural and social life of Slovakia with significant international activities attractive for domestic and foreign visitors to the city. The use of a national cultural monument respects its historical value and original function. The activities of the Slovak Union of Visual Arts will be beneficial for the sustainable functioning of the national cultural monument, the development of quality artistic creation with a significant international impact.
Project partner from the donor country: SÍM — Samband Íslenskra Myndlistarmanna (The Assosciaton of Icelandic Visual Artists)
Example of activities:
Restoration of cultural monuments – revitalization of the area of Umelecka Beseda Slovenská in the form of reconstruction of the Gallery, music pavilion and construction of a new multifunctional cultural pavilion.
An opening conference with the aim of presenting the project including its goals, the reasons for the reconstruction, the construction of a new pavilion, the method of implementation and the planned so-called soft activities. At the same time, the work of the cultural manager, marketing manager and manager of the residential center, social networks and also the official hashtag of the #umelkacommunity project will be presented. There will be a visualization of the proposed object (before and after plan) as well as a hashtag game.
A midterm conference connected with a press conference will take place after the completion of the reconstruction works. It will focus on the presentation of renovated and newly built premises. The all-day event will introduce the newly renovated building to journalists, later to special guests and in the evening to the public. The evening program will be organized in collaboration with local communities and partners and will become part of the soft activities of the project. The exhibition space will house an exhibition of photo documentation of reconstruction work on the building over the decades.
The final conference will include a presentation of the applicant’s overall three-year effort and results achieved. The work of communities and artists will be presented. A video presentation mapping the three years of the project will be streamed. The official mosaic of hashtag photos (hashtag game) will be presented.
Artistic feeling and thinking in the community – the aim of the activity is to attract local communities to fully enjoy the new genius loci of UMELKA. Building a multifunctional pavilion will allow the community to grow. Equipped with a large – screen TV, a portable sound system, computers adapted for composing music and graphic design, interactive boards, pianos, furniture and portable display stands, the pavilion will provide the necessary equipment for artists and performers. Beginners will be able to use the device and create their own works of art, on the other hand, an experienced artist can organize workshops for the general public. The applicant intends to organize creative workshops, literary readings or discussions with interesting artists. The organizational chart, time schedule and content of the seminars belong to the competences of the cultural manager.
The wave of extremist tendencies seen throughout Europe can also be observed in Slovakia, also in the form of devaluing values of culture and art, intolerance of Jewish, Roma and LGBT minorities. As the beneficiary is based on the site of the democratization of Slovakia in 1968 and 1989 and due to its long-term activity, it also devotes its activity to combating this type of behavior in an intelligent and educational way. Bearing in mind Slovak-Jewish history, the cultural manager will organize events aimed at commemorating Holocaust Day, the end of World War II, e.g. by exhibiting Jewish art, organizing a night cinema screening Holocaust-themed films or playing Jewish music on stage. At the same time, the role of the cultural manager in cooperation with the non-profit sector will be also support the LGBT minority, e.g. by organization of art presentations. A week of good Hungarian-Slovak neighborhood will also take place in the premises.
Photo gallery: will be added
Documentation of activities: will be added