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A fragile situation

A discussion with Ing. Milanom Beljakom, , director of ÚĽUV, about the latest situation at our institution whose future is influenced by dynamic transformation changes. We should start with a small recapitulation of the promises or plans you introduced in our previous discussions. For example, you devoted much work to the idea of creating a folk cultural museum in the Court of Crafts as well as the topic of IT design. Shall we ever get it? I am uneasily coming to terms with something I have not yet managed to implement. I am disappointed because we have fulfilled all the presumptions for creating the museum. Moreover, the idea itself is very important for the functioning of other houses of crafts being created in Slovakia. There is much interest in them and it is useful to create them for a variety of reasons. Our museum should function as a specialist centre readily available to the public for studying folk culture, where information is distributed not only to Slovakia but also other EU countries through the network of the European Federation of Folk Art and Crafts. The question remains of whether or not we will start the project at our own expense, and the question of software also needs to be concluded – specifically which is suitable for connection to European databases. We will definitely open this question up again when we sort out our other priorities... How is the “fresh wind of design” which was a sign of the previous changes in the activities of ÚĽUV? I really think we devoted our previous period to modern art. We did a lot for young people – the Design Studio of ÚĽUV gallery was devoted to the contemporary utilitarian creations of young artists. Only a little has yet reached the production of ÚĽUV, but I am a patient man. The gallery must earn its reputation, and I am happy that it did. I expect that the future gallery programme will show closer links with the traditional crafts presented by ÚĽUV. We did not recently give so much attention to our producers of classical crafts, but now we are going to prepare their profiles. How is the establishment of regional centres for traditional crafts proceeding? In order to fulfil the idea of the Court of Crafts, we cannot merely be a local Bratislava-based centre but must spread further. We have a building ready in Banská Bystrica and we bought a historical curia in Blatnica, a very interesting location for tourists. The hope is to organize crafts courses during vacations, even offering accommodation. It is an interesting idea to implement the project from EU structural funds. The Court of Crafts notion is well accepted and it has become a synonym for a certain type of institution. I will try the utmost to have this project well prepared and obtain the support. What is ÚĽUV’s position with regard to the transformational laws and regulations that were introduced? Where is ÚĽUV today, and where will it be after 1 January 2004? New rules are going to be introduced starting 1 January 2004 that will significantly change the position of ÚĽUV in relation to its mission. Therefore, we must start searching for other solutions to how ÚĽUV will work in the future. In order to follow the establishment law for ÚĽUV, we must try to keep the continuity of production and trade; however, the law does not show what way to do this. It seems the only way to do it is to create a parallel non-profit institution to service the production and sale of folk art products for ÚĽUV. Of course, we must create a corresponding statute for the non-profit organization and conclude a contract on cooperation between ÚĽUV and that non-profit organization. However, I have to add that this is a forced solution to allow ÚĽUV to continue with its activities. If we do not do anything this year and fail to create a non-profit organization, everything will just end.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 03/2003:


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