Small full stop after a big start

ohnÿostroj nad D—mom sv. AlzÿbetyJust a few months ago, Košice lit up with the fireworks of a cultural explosion when the city took over the baton of the prestige title, European Capital of Culture 2013, together with the partner city of Marseille, and now is the time to pass this on and say goodbye to a year which has brought a new dimension to the city. It attracted artistic personalities and started a process which will not finish when this year ends. There are foundations being constructed on which we will continue to build. This was only the first step on the road to fulfilling the mission that culture and art are and will be an integral part of Košice.

The Closing Ceremony, which will take place from 11th – 14th December, will not be the end and a definite full stop to the project, but only the start of more to come. Whispers that Košice really deserved the title have spread around the world and, most importantly, word that it is not an unknown cultural destination, but that it seized the opportunity to be put on the cultural map of Europe with dignity.

What can the people of Košice, visitors and guests look forward to as the end of the year approaches? Again, an unrepeatable experience, a rich programme in all cultural institutions and in the streets for several days, and a farewell which will remain forever in the city’s memory and history. Košice will officially pass the sceptre to other cities which are ready to do more for their citizens in the area of culture.

The culmination will be events such as the Two in One concert which offers an unexpected and attractive link between renowned artists from Slovakia and the French “cultural twin”, Marseille, a premiere of the 66 Seasons opera, the Light of Understanding concert, an exhibition of artistic pieces and documents from the 1920s called Košice Moderna, and many other events.

The title will leave but the project will live on

“Despite the fact that the ECOC Košice 2013 project is not ending but will continue, also proven by the activities we are preparing for next year and the city’s cultural strategy for the next five years, we feel the need to say farewell to a successful year. It was a year during which we not only had the opportunity to see and meet the best from all art genres as well as curators, art historians, experts in creative economy and renowned architects, but Košice experienced a great boom in relation to the transformation of its cultural infrastructure. An infrastructure of a completely new type was created, such as the Kunsthalle/Hall of Art, the Barracks/Culture Park and SPOTs, as well as the reconstruction of traditional cultural facilities,” said Ján Sudzina, Director of the Košice 2013 non-profit making organisation, evaluating the significance and impact of the title

As he added, the ECOC team wishes to look back over 2013 and, together with Marseille, pass the baton to another two cities which will be the European Capitals of Culture in 2014, which are Latvian Riga and Swedish Umeå.

“We don’t consider this as a Closing Ceremony, but a real farewell to the year and encouragement for those cities which will be the successors. We want to give them encouragement since we know what a complicated process is awaiting them. At the same time, we would like to invite the citizens of Košice, the region and the whole of Slovakia to a number of cultural events which we are preparing for next year.”

How does J. Sudzina see the previous period when Košice was the cultural heart of Europe? “The city underwent a deep transformation and the events which took place in Košice during this year will probably be appreciated later. Despite this, in my opinion, it was a very successful year not because we invited renowned world names and organised a large number of events, but because we started a deep transformation which will affect not only culture but mainly the economy of the city and the region.”

Culture took a deep breath

The Artistic Director of Košice 2013 n.o., Vladimír Beskid, sees the great success of the ECOC project in the fact that all the investment projects were completed and a new platform for communication in the wider European area was created, as well as the inclusion of domestic community projects within SPOTs.

“A second important thing is that in terms of the official and artistic programme, we managed to implement all key projects. In this area, I consider as very important the fact that we brought new, innovative forms and festivals. I will consider it a success if, in the future, events such as Sound City Days, White Night, USE THE CITY, New Dance Days and the Triennale of Contemporary Art will continue, become regular and will find ground to proceed in future years.”

In his opinion, the project was not only about one large festival or fiesta during this year, but just the opposite, it started certain processes, helped in the modelling of a new cultural policy for the city and mainly brought development projects in the area of creative industry, mobility of artists via residential programmes and international cooperation.


“What we promised, we started. It seems as if the process of oxygenating of this environment was successful and we can expect it to carry on. We put more oxygen into the lungs of the local scene. Within the acupuncture process, we stimulated particular energy points on the cultural map of Europe and it is important to carry on with this,” added the Artistic Head of the ECOC Košice 2013 project. He mentioned that the guarantee in continuing the started models is the subsidised organisation, K-13, which will further cover and develop the ECOC project.

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