Up to 1989 a state monopoly existed in the visual arts that had to do, among other things, with the exercising of censorship. After 1990 the original cultural infrastructure in the visual arts was dismantled and gradually new infrastructure emerged in the form of new sales galleries, museums, agencies, and exhibition halls.
At the initiative of artists themselves the old national unions of artists were disbanded and new professional organisations began to emerge in the visual arts in their place. They are, however, at present quite weak compared to other areas of the arts and only a small number of visual arts are part of these groups.
Public resources have been a long-term source of support for projects in the visual arts, which is provided in the form of scholarships/grants. Nevertheless, there is still no programme of state support for contemporary art and architecture in galleries and exhibition halls, which would among other things help to establish an acquisitions policy and financially support the purchase of works of art (see the Concept of Support for the Arts 2015-2020).
The Concept recommended reintroducing support for the creation of works of art in public spaces. To this end it tries to get public architectural competitions to reserve a certain percentage of the commission for creating art works in public spaces; the professional organisation Spolek Skutek strives for this as well.
The visual arts sector also initiated the discussion on the Status of the Artist in the days before the pandemic.
The MC administers two galleries devoted to the visual arts: the National Gallery in Prague and the Moravian Gallery in Brno. One part of another contributory organisation, the Czech Philharmonic, is Rudolfinum Gallery, an exhibition space that is also funded by the MC.
Until 1989 there were a number of enterprises and cooperatives that employed artists proficient in the arts and crafts. The most prominent ones were the Central Office of the Arts and Crafts and the Central Office of Traditional Folk Arts (ÚLUV), an organisation that was established by Act No. 56/1957 Coll., on work in the arts and crafts and traditional folk arts. There also existed enterprises such as Theatre Technology, Exhibition Management, and Štuko – a cooperative focusing on various arts and crafts required for the restoration of monuments in Prague, and many others. Upon fulfilling prescribed criteria skilled craftspeople were granted the title of authorised worker in the traditional folk arts or authorised craftsperson, or master of traditional folk arts or master craftsperson (Machátová, 2013).
In 1992 Act No. 56/1957 Col. was abolished, which meant the two main organisations administered by the MC were also dissolved and thereby the key employees in the arts and crafts were also disbanded. Most skilled craftspeople today are freelance workers with a trade licence.
Currently there are several associations in the field of the arts and crafts. The most prominent ones include Rudolfinea, which is a member of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Blacksmiths, the Society for Education in the Arts and Crafts, the Bohemian-Moravian Tinkers Guild, and the Association of Creators and Producers of Traditional Handicrafts.
The MC is still the ministry responsible for the arts and crafts, especially with respect to cultural heritage. The MC also administers the National Institute of Folk Culture, the mission of which is to conduct research on cultural heritage in the field of traditional and folk culture, organise events devoted to folklore and education, and provide consultation and information services for all forms of folklore activities in the CR. As part of the Concept of More Effective Conservation of Traditional Folk Culture in the Czech Republic for 2016–2020, through a grant competition, the MC provides support for traditional folk arts and does so by awarding arts scholarships.
In regard to the current situation of trades in the arts and crafts that are still being practised, many of these trades lack qualified professionals and some lack an entire new generation of qualified craftspeople. Information and a database relating to the folk arts and trades is provided on the portal Folk Arts and Crafts.
Comments are closed.