Amateur arts and folk culture
Amateur artistic production has a long tradition in Slovakia. Among the tools for supporting this production, are amateur arts associations in various areas (especially theatre, fine arts, music, dance, folklore, film and video, photography, literary activities, artistic recitation), festivals, shows and workshops of amateur artistic production and special-interest artistic courses as a part of leisure-time centres (school and non-school centres under the supervision of the municipality self-government authorities).
The country-wide methodology and documentation centre for the area of the amateur arts is the National Centre of Public Education and Culture – NOC (a governmental organisation under the authority of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic) and its organisational unit, the Institute of Amateur Artistic Production.
The NOC is responsible mainly for the following activities:
- maintaining the database of the Theatre Directory of Amateur Ensembles (272 throughout Slovakia http://www.nocka.sk/uaut/divadlo/adresa);
- providing the methodology and professional assistance for amateur ensembles and authors;
- publishing professional literature, methodology guidebooks, note and text material for amateur artistic activities;
- publishing professional magazines for the area of amateur arts;
- organising or co-organising the most important amateur arts events in Slovakia and undertaking research programmes in this area;
- providing professional guarantees for country-wide contests in amateur performance (special-interest artistic activity);
- recording, documenting, safeguarding and using the traditional folk culture for cultural activities (while taking into consideration specifics of minority cultures); and
- ensuring education in the area of culture and amateur production.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the NOC compiles annual statistics on cultural activities and cultural education in the Slovak Republic.
During 2006, there were 5 822 groups, with a total number of 89 511 members (adults, young people aged 15 – 26, and children) involved in various special-interest artistic activities. Altogether, 47 888 special-interest activities took place in Slovakia during 2006 (source: National Centre of Public Education and Culture, Statistics on local and regional culture).
In 2006, more than 3 000 local cultural-educational centres employed a total of 3 172 people.
Founders of these centres are: the government (0.13%), self-governed authorities of regions and municipalities (73.37%), churches and religious societies (6.31%), Matica slovenská (2.4%), non-profit NGOs (14.26%) or various individuals (3.53%).
Table 9: Overview of special-interest artistic activities according to individual areas of artistic production and performance, 2006
|Production area||No. of activities||%|
|Artistic readings||1 811||3.78|
|Choral singing||6 053||12.64|
|Traditional crafts||1 877||3.92|
|Visual arts||1 350||2.82|
|Photo, audiovisual, video||1 023||2.14|
Source: National Centre of Public Education and Culture, Statistics of Local and Regional Culture 2006
Cultural houses and community cultural clubs
In the Slovak Republic, there is a network of regional cultural centres (CC) that are focused, especially, on the development of amateur artistic activities and on cultural activities of citizens. The cultural centres are administered by the self-governed regional authorities:
Table 10: Number of regional cultural centres (CC), 2006
|Self-governed Region||Number of CC|
Source: National Centre of Public Education and Culture, Statistics on Local and Regional Culture
According to Act No. 61/2000 Coll. on Public Education and Cultural Activities, public education and cultural activities involves activities that contribute to the development of personality and the formation of a cultural way of living, based on the principles of voluntary participation, interest and the creative abilities of citizens.
The public education and cultural centres are cultural and educational institutions, with the purpose of developing non-material and material culture and maintaining traditions in cities, villages and regions. The centres contribute to a individual creativity by offering artistic activities, special-interest education, cultural-education and cultural-social activities and other special-interest activities. They participate, also, in social prevention work, work with national minorities and marginalised groups of citizens. They also are involved in investigating, protecting, preserving and providing access to folk traditions, emphasising traditional and folk culture, as well as developing and using them creatively. They organise cultural and educational events, competitions, shows, seminars, training, workshops and festivals of regional, country-wide and cross-border and international character.
In towns and villages across Slovakia, there is a network of cultural houses (centres) that are used, regularly or occasionally, for various cultural activities and events. These centres exist in 92% of villages and towns in Slovakia. During 2005, the Cultural Observatory of the National Centre for Public Education and Culture compiled a database and detailed inventory of the cultural houses (according to this detailed inventory, the culture house is a house containing at lease one hall that is being or has been used for cultural activities) in Slovakia, according to their address, name, owner, condition and size of the centres and their use. Altogether, there were 2 491 venues designated as cultural houses in Slovakia, in 2005. Most frequently, the owner of these venues is the municipality or local self-government (94.8%). The second most important owners of cultural houses are the church (1.6%). Companies own more than 1% of cultural houses and a minimum of cultural houses are owned by the state (0.5%).
The results of the detailed inventory showed that 75% of cultural houses were built between 1950 and 1989. Less than 20% of cultural houses and cultural venues are older (they were built before 1950). Only more than 5% represent new venues that were built after 1989. Seventy nine percent of the venues are in good technical order; some 2% of the objects are inoperable; while the remaining venues (19%) are in poor technical condition.
As much as 98% of the venues are used for culture, of which 32% are used exclusively for cultural events and 65% are also used for other purposes.
An active part of the cultural life in Slovakia is played by film clubs, organised by the Association of Slovak Film Clubs (ASFK, civic association), which has been a member of the International Federation of Film Societies, FICC since 1955. In 2006, the association registered 60 film clubs. ASFK is the biggest distributor of non-commercial (alternative) cinema in Slovakia (its programme offer in 2007 represents 467 films). It also provides a programme for film clubs from other distribution companies and from domestic and foreign film archives. It organises non-commercial film shows and festivals in Slovakia. The ASFK is also the publisher of the only Slovak magazine for film and motion picture science entitled KINO-IKON. It participates in organising film workshops and seminars. In 1996, it introduced the tradition of Czech-Slovak film conferences that are organised, alternately, in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic.