"We need dialogue like we need air"
The story of the "ART Peretyn" educational project
exhibit in Khmelnytskyi
The team at the Khmelnytskyi Regional Art Museum (KhRAM) has been working to improve public awareness of what's happening in the arts in Ukraine with a new project – ART Peretyn. The name reflects directly the approach the organisers took, implementing a micro-grant from Culture Bridges to build a project that bridges generations, disciplines, geography and event formats. Olena Mykhailovska, the project's manager and curator and deputy director of research at KhRAM, talks about the project's impact on the region and the museum staff.
Igor Gusev (on the left) and Oleksandr Roytburd at the Opening of the exhibit
Art Peretyn has two parts – an exhibition and an educational component. This marks the premiere, both in Khmelnytskyi and throughout western Ukraine, of the work of Yuri Yegorov, a founder of the modern Odesa School of painting; Oleksandr Roytburd, representing the Ukrainian transavangard and director at the Odessa Art Museum; and Igor Gusev, representative of digital media painting*. The exhibit ran for five weeks, drawing over 5,000 visitors.

*Painting produced with influence of digital media, employing its technology and perspective. Gusev has based a recent graphic arts exhibit on captured computer failures and software glitches.
The educational program offered segments for the general public, like Olena Zaretsk's workshop "Create a Mosaic like Alla Gorska", as well as professional training sessions for over 30 pre-selected artists, museum staff and educators from Khmelnytskyi and the surrounding towns like Gorodok, Dunayivtsi, Shepetivka, Volochysk, Bilohir, Kamyanets-Podilsky, Chemerivtsi. Of these, 18 were of school age, 9 had experience in the arts and 5 were senior citizens seeking self-expression through their artwork. During the sessions they were acquainted with the daily existence of a modern museum – its organisational, creative and research work.
The opening of the Egorov/Roytburd/Gusev exhibit
For some, the Opening of the Egorov/Roytburd/Gusev exhibit was their first such experience. Roytburd and Gusev also conducted author's talks and viewings for the group. The sessions included a look into the particularities of this project and discussed ideas for future creative projects. Eight project proposals were discussed and from these, one was selected for a possible exhibit at KHRAM in June 2020 – the work of emerging Khmelytskyi artist, Hlib Franko. The project, titled The Golden Intersection features monumental graphics and an installation created during a trip to the Carpathian Mountains.
The exhibit ran for five weeks, drawing over 5,000 visitors
It was interesting to observe an audience that, as it progressed from event to event, became more open, more ready to reveal itself, raising the subsequent artist talks to quite a sophisticated level. It was encouraging to see the participants' silence and their understandable fear at revealing too much of themselves simply melt away followed by this huge desire to discuss pressing artistic challenges. Clearly, we won't solve this age-old human tendency in one project, but the dialogue that occurred, and what needs to occur again and again, is something we need like we need air. Even if our perspectives don't match, openness to information helps build the desire to understand one another. This is the path to a tolerant society, a culture. The openness to cross-generational dialogue was on full display: our group ranged in age from 14 to 72.

Olena Mykhailovska
the project's manager and curator and deputy director of research at KhRAM
Nearly the entire team at KHRAM worked on the project, and it proved to be something of a test for the staff. They found it useful the knowledge of project activities and teamwork gained during the workshop for cultural managers.

Other than the promotional work on social and local mass media, one thing that caught people's attention was the radio announcements we made through the "street radio" broadcasts at public transport stops. The Regional Department of Culture posted information about the project and an open-call for artists. The City Council fully supports the museum's new development strategy and we are in the process of establishing support channels in the business community. You need to understand that the headquarters of big corporations are typically located in Kyiv or other large metro areas, and that local branch offices in places like Khmelnytskyi are not empowered with taking on that kind of socially oriented programme. Yet, we have seen growing support for subsequent projects from a number of local businesses. Local managers heard about how effective ART Peretyn was and began to sign on.
Lectures and trainings within "ART Peretyn"
In the process of choosing session leaders, organisers focused on the opportunity to demonstrate the different vectors of modern culture and the importance of interdisciplinary connections. We had professionals in modern art as well as experts in art history, design, architecture, literature, fashion and the art market.
An ART Peretyn visitor survey confirmed "a desire for more educational and interactive events. Not just information, but how to work with that information. Open discussion sessions following lectures were also a well-received format. Opportunities to meet and talk with "opinion shapers" and prominent figures in Ukrainian culture also aroused strong interest. Some saw the question of what the exhibit could offer quite pragmatically saying that 'here you've got a critic or curator, now, we're offering the chance to talk to them in order to raise the potential for working with them on their projects'."

The project resulted in something necessarily beneficial for both professionals and amateurs – something that needs to be repeated. The concept of combining different opinions and tastes provides us with an inexhaustible realm of possibility. We'll be using this project format and many of its components for future museum events.

Olena Mykhailovska
Olena Zaretsk's workshop "Create a Mosaic like Alla Gorska"
Future exhibition concepts include "Women. A Thirst to Paint ", featuring work from the private collection accumulated by artist and lecturer Olena Zaretska. KHRAM also plans to display the work of non-conformist artists from its collection at an exhibition scheduled for the Odesa Museum of Modern Art. Finally, work is also underway to provide reproductions and other works from the KHRAM collection for its upcoming "65 Masterpieces of the Ukrainian Art" exhibit currently being assembled by Diana Klotchko.
Photos and videos by Khmelnytskyi Regional Art Museum
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