The open studios presented the creative environment of Olomouc artists and creatives during the one-day event and drew attention to the importance of regional art and culture. How are cultural and creative professions faring outside the capital?
Even outside of Prague, there are functional platforms that contribute to the development of culture and creativity in a given city or region. It is a project in Olomouc Creative Olomoucwhich not only supports culture and art, but also maps and patronizes activities such as Open studies Olomouc. This event took place on Sunday 5 November for the fourth time and invited the public to visit the studios, studios and creative spaces. For one day, places that were often otherwise inaccessible were opened up, and visitors could see painters or architects, for example, get up close and personal with their work, or purchase it.
In Olomouc, for example, a designer and a glassmaker are participating in the event David Valnerwhose work is very well known throughout the country, with his wife, a photographer Teresa Valnerová. Tomáš Kubíček, who mainly creates ceramic sculptures, bookbinder, also participated Katerina Mestická or a very well-known graphic designer at the European level Jan Skácelík with its colorful, geometric creations.
Autumn Open Studies are also included Olomouc Design Days ongoing throughout the month of November. Olomouc Design Days is organized by the city of Olomouc and the Innovation Center of the Olomouc Region. The program includes events organized by various organizers, such as Kreativní Olomouc, but also the Palacký University, the Science Library, the Museum of Art, the Association for Beautiful Olomouc or the Union of Fine Artists of Olomouc.
“We conducted surveys in cooperation with Palacký University and it turned out that the background for creative activities is favorable in Olomouc. It is due to various factors, mainly the size of the city – people are close to each other and there is spontaneous networking. The latter is key and decisive for this industry. Together with Kreativní Olomouc, we also try to support networking through our events,” describes the situation in this city Magdaléna Hruška, coordinator of the Creative Olomouc project. From his position, he sees that the rhetoric of creative and cultural industries is currently a trend, therefore it is much easier to obtain financial and other non-material support for activities and projects related to this sector. Public perception is also slowly changing.
“It is important to consider the value of the work of creatives. I would like the public to be able to appreciate the originality, quality and creative contribution of creatives’ output. For people to take the opportunity to support creatives and buy goods and services from them. It could have a major impact on how the entire industry will fare.”
The Olomouc Open Studio event was also attended by the Olomouc architectural studio extra-collective, in whose new, larger premises you will also find a design store. The founders of the studio, sisters Jan and Barbor Trundova, used the new space to exhibit the paintings of the Olomouc painter Jakub Čuška, who mainly deals with figure painting.
When did you open the after-school?
“In 2016, so it’s been seven years. At the same time, we founded our studio. We wanted to be located in the center and connect the sale of products with our studio. At the same time, we wanted people to know about us, and the design shop seemed like a good marketing way. We also attracted clients because we also have a design studio. We design landscape projects, interiors, architecture. The design shop with products that we had in front of the studio often caught the attention of passers-by, so they entered directly from the street. That’s how we got to know them and got our first orders and cooperation.”
Photo: Michal Patycki
How do you perceive the influx of clients in smaller cities compared to Prague?
“There isn’t that much of a difference. We focus on a group of people who like design and want to afford quality space around them. Therefore, they approach an architect to work together on their plan and create something. From the beginning, we wanted to set up communication with the street, with the public, and connect our activities with it. We also have Prague clients and we know that there is more competition in Prague. Of course, it is better if the architect is at the realization site and can commute to the site. We travel a lot, so it doesn’t really matter.”
How do you curate your sales space?
“We want to have a selection of local design and products, but also well-known brands that are well known in the Czech Republic. We try to find and approach brands and artists ourselves. And sometimes someone will contact us again. Every year we go to Designblok, which we go around and see what new things are being created. Some exhibiting brands have been with us since the beginning, such as Qubus or David Valner, Martin Žampa. We want our space to have a mix of up-and-coming and established names.”
Photo: Michal Patycki
When did the turning point occur in the approach of the city and the public to local culture and art? Did the pandemic play a role, for example?
“In 2023, both the Municipal Strategy for the Support of Culture and the Regional Concept for the Development of Culture, Creativity and Monument Care were approved. The agenda is very well understood here, both documents were created in a participatory manner. It is well defined there, what needs to be done in this field, what activities should take place, and clear proposals for individual steps are given in order for the cultural-creative sector to thrive. Therefore, we as Kreativní Olomouc do not need to lobby so much now… Covid had a quite positive effect as a result, even though it hit the creative industry overwhelmingly during the lock-down. But it was precisely in response to it that the National Recovery Plan was created, which provided funding to save the industry. Thanks to it, we can draw an unprecedented amount of resources for clearly defined activities. This would not have been possible without coordination across these sectors, which had to come together a lot. My sister and I followed it at the local level as well, and on our initiative we managed to hold three online meetings right at the height of the crisis. We participants called it the Olomouc Cultural Forum. Together we solved problems and tried to find a way out of the crisis that caught us all by surprise.”
Does Kreativní Olomouc currently have any short-term goals?
“The goal is to continue to develop educational and networking activities for representatives of cultural and creative industries. We also want to continue distributing the newsletter, through which we bring information about opportunities and challenges to creatives. We also want to continue the activities following the presentation and promotion of the cultural-creative scene. For example, it is precisely the Open Studies event. We have the opportunity to participate in meetings at the level of the regional innovation platform for creative industries. Rather, we follow long-term goals and intentions. We would like to help ensure that the boom in interest in these industries has some long-term consequences and effects.”