Caring for Culture in Eleven Public Institutions
Quality cultural events are provided by 11 public institutions (from 2007 to 2017, 5 new institutions were founded), operating under the auspices of the City of Ljubljana:
• Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (established in 2009)
• Festival Ljubljana
• City Cinema Kinodvor (established in 2008)
• Ljubljana Castle (established in 2011)
• Ljubljana Puppet Theatre
• International Centre of Graphic Arts
• Ljubljana City Theatre
• Ljubljana City Library (established in 2008 by combining one specialised and five general libraries into one)
• Museum and galleries of the City of Ljubljana (established in 2008 by combining Ljubljana City Museum and
Ljubljana City Gallery)
• Pionirski dom – Centre for Youth Culture
• The Mladinsko Theatre
Institutions are an important pillar of culture in our city. They cooperate among each other as well as with the non-governmental sector, individuals in the field of culture, as well as amateur cultural societies and therefore help create a lively cultural beat of the city.
In Ljubljana, more than 14,000 cultural events take place annually and 70 percent of them are free of charge.
Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture
The public institution established in 2009 is among the biggest and technically most advanced facilities of its kind in Europe due to its architectural and technological innovations. It has significantly impacted the improvement of the music offers, performances, visual and other arts. It has featured highly distinct programmes, such as the international festival and conference MENT Ljubljana, international festival of contemporary dance CoFestival, and the first student league of music bands Špil liga. At the end of 2017, the MENT Ljubljana festival was awarded the best small festival and the best indoor festival in Europe at the biggest European showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag. The jury was deciding among approximately 350 festivals from 35 countries.
Public institution Festival Ljubljana is one of the most important culture and art organisations in Europe. It is distinguished from similar institutions especially by its long tradition and the integration in the international culture and art society. Festival Ljubljana maintains the tradition and contributes to the visibility of Ljubljana on the world map of festival cities as well as
enriches the tourist offers of the city.
The crucial project is the International Ljubljana Summer Festival. It features concerts of symphonic and chamber music, as well as ballet and theatre performances of established Slovenian and foreign artists, attracting more than 60,000 visitors every year.
In addition, they also organise:
• Winter Festival in the Union Hall Ljubljana;
• Ljubljana Festival on the Ljubljanica River with events taking place on tourist boats;
• International Art Colony in Križanke, where every year Slovenian and foreign artist gather and create;
• Children’s Art Colony with various themed workshops for schoolchildren held by professional mentors;
• Festival of contemporary music Slovene Musical Days, which draws from Slovenian musical creativity and promotes new compositions;
• international music cycle Young Virtuosi, where young musicians introduce themselves;
• they also organise symposia, lectures, seminars and other forms of education within their activities.
Festival Ljubljana in the Križanke auditorium offers unique experiences with its one-of-a-kind setting. In addition to the main venue of the Križanke Summer Theatre, events also take place in the Grand Foyer (Preddverje), Pergola, Devil’s Courtyard (Peklensko dvorišče), Knight’s Hall (Viteška dvorana), and Križanke Church (Križevniška cerkev). After the reconstruction of the Summer Theatre and the installation of the new, modern roof, the Križanke venue will be even more attractive.
Festival Ljubljana has received many international recognitions and awards – for its contribution to the promotion of Slovenian and foreign art, it received the Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia, the highest recognition awarded by the President of the Republic, in 2002. The Križanke complex has been a cultural monument of national importance since 2016.
Ljubljana Festival on average organises more than 200 events annually, visited by around 100,000 visitors.
A scene from the ballet performance Stabat Mater, which took place in Križanke during the 63rd Ljubljana Festival.
Kinodvor City Cinema
By screening high-quality films with the most advanced cinematographic equipment, it promotes the movie culture with the youngest of audiences, who are still getting familiar with the film world, as well as the most demanding film lovers. With its attractive specialised movie bookshop, a café, gallery, open-air film events, creative workshops, discussions with experts and filmmakers, it offers more than just a cinematographic experience. First Timers, Breakfast at Kinodvor, Cinemababies, Film on Demand, Rain-Check Screenings, Rendez-vous with Coffee and Talk are merely some of the programmes offered by Kinodvor City Cinema.
Programmes for young audiences include the highly popular family programme Kinobalon, school programmes with education on films and Kinotrip, whose main feature is that it is curated by young people for young people. It includes a film club, an international film festival, and a range of events throughout the year.
Kinodvor City Cinema also organises many international professional meetings, co-organises international festivals and open-air film events, such as Film Under the Stars at Ljubljana Castle and Open-air Cinema at Kongresni trg. At the International Cinema Technology Association conference in Paris in 2010, which nowadays connects 1,126 cinemas in 680 cities from 43 countries worldwide, Kinodvor won the award for the best programme for children and youth.
The popularity of Kinodvor City Cinema shows in the increasing number of visitors and screenings.
Ljubljana Puppet Theatre
The central Slovenian puppet theatre stages puppet and drama performances for children, young visitors and adults, paying special attention to the cultural and artistic education. It organises the Golden Stick Festival, an international theatre festival for children and youth, as well as Lutke, an international puppet festival that brings the most premium puppet theatre productions to Slovenia. Young, emerging theatre creators are provided with the opportunity for their development and creativity through the programme BiTeater, which introduces their potential to established theatres. They are programme coordinators of the city’s KUL seasonal ticket for the young as well as the only specialised bookstore for children and youth.
The Puppet Theatre is a member of different global professional associations and regularly attends reference festivals abroad. In the past ten years, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre shows have received numerous awards and recognitions. The recordbreaking performance in this regard is W. Erlbruch’s Duck, Death and the Tulip, which won twelve awards in 2015 and 2016.
The theatre manages five regular and several smaller, occasional venues, which yearly attract more than 1,000 events with around 110,000 visitors.
Ljubljana Castle, a mighty late-medieval fort, has been the symbol of the city since its construction. Although its fate has been changing through centuries, together with its usage, it is and will remain the best recognised feature of the Slovenian capital. By establishing the Public Institution Ljubljana Castle in 2011, we expanded the horizons for the future.
Yearly, between 300 and 400 performances and events take place at the Castle. To point out just a few: the annual Film Under the Stars, organised in collaboration with Kinodvor City Cinema, Castle Days, which mark the transition of the Castle from the State’s to the municipal ownership (in 1905), many art, photography and other exhibitions, music festival Castle Music, Jazz Club, as well as a diverse educational programme. Since June 2010, also the permanent exhibition on Slovenian history is available to visitors. From its opening until the end of 2017, the exhibition was visited by more than half a million Slovenian and foreign visitors.
International Centre of Graphic Arts
The International Centre of Graphic Arts (ICGA), located in the Tivoli Castle, is a museum and art centre with its roots in the activities and heritage of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Art. It houses an extensive international collection of graphic art and publications as well as prints – more than 11,000 pieces of art altogether. The Biennial of Graphic Art, the world’s second oldest graphic art event, is the largest ICGA’s programme and also one of the most internationally recognisable Slovenian art and culture brands. In 2015, at its 60th anniversary, the 31st Biennial of Graphic Art was placed among the 12 most important exhibitions in the world according to the Art Basel magazine. On average, the Biennial is visited by around 25,000 people. In addition to exhibitions, collecting and studying art, an important ICGA’s activity is their own production of prints in printing workshops as well as publishing. From 2007 to 2017, ICGA carried out numerous important projects, exhibitions and events, and participated in various international projects. Since May 2017, it has also been managing a creativity centre in the renovated Švicarija building in its immediate vicinity.
Ljubljana City Library
By joining five general libraries and one specialised library in 2008, we established a new public institution Ljubljana City Library, taking care of library activities in 20 libraries and a mobile library with 46 Bibliobus stops, as well as in 13 libraries in seven municipalities and specialised centres: the Slovanska and Pionirska Libraries, the Centre of Lifelong Learning, Learning Centre for Librarian Education, and the Trubar Literature House.
By unifying the information system and introducing the Urbana Smart City Card as a membership card, we have connected the units even more and simplified their operations. A user-friendly library, among others, allows users to become members remotely, to use the Home Library Services, to return materials at another library, and to rent e-books. In addition, the library also raises awareness and promotes love for books and reading among the youngest audiences in kindergartens (Ciciuhec project), among the youth (the projects Poletavci and NajPoletavci), as well as adults (City Reads project). It also organises international consultation sessions and introduces good practices.
Since 2007, we have reopened or renovated 5 libraries: in Šiška, Zadvor, Šentvid, Savsko naselje and Zalog.
Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML) is the largest public institution, established at the end of 2008 by merging Ljubljana City Museum and Ljubljana City Gallery. MGML showcases our rich movable heritage and takes care of the presentation of the Slovenian and foreign visual art. The living and upto- date gallery and museum collections provide a constant contact with Slovenian and foreign visitors, popularise the showcased heritage, and keep the contemporary approach to the rich artistic creations in our city alive. The link between heritage and modern art is the key to understanding our urban past, as well as Slovenian and international approaches to modern artistic practices. MGML is an open research platform of how we used to live and how we understand life in the city today.
MGML annually organise over 50 exhibitions of Slovenian and foreign artists, and more than 200 programmes for various target audiences, which attract about 130,000 visitors per year. The most attention-grabbing projects of the last few years are the commemoration of the 2,000-year anniversary of Emona and the photo exhibition Genesis of one of the world’s most recognised photographers Sebastião Salgado. MGML also participates in numerous international projects, such as the Biennial of architecture and Biennial of arts in Venice. The extensive museum collection features over 61,000 artefacts reaching from prehistoric times to today, among which the following stand out: the oldest wooden wheel in the world, which is 5,200 years old, numerous archaeological findings from recent renovation works in the city – Kongresni trg, Slovenska cesta, Njegoševa cesta and Gosposvetska cesta – enrich the impressive archaeological collection and give new insights into the past of our environment.
Since 2010, MGML has managed the Plečnik House and the Cultural Centre Tobačna 001, featuring its own residential art studio. Thus, MGML today connects 11 units: City Museum of Ljubljana, City Art Gallery of Ljubljana, Match Gallery, Jakopič Gallery, Bežigrad Galleries 1 and 2, Plečnik House, Archaeological Park Emona, Tobacco 001 Cultural Centre, Ivan Cankar Memorial Room, and Župančič Memorial Collection.
The oldest wooden wheel with axle in the world. Photo: Andrej Peunik, Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Ljubljana City Theatre
Ljubljana City Theatre is the second largest drama theatre in Slovenia, focusing on the implementation of high-quality theatre works and publishing specialised publications on artistic performances in the local, regional and international environment. It also carries out educational processes and is active in co-productions with other public institutions as well as non-institutional stakeholders of public cultural programmes and projects. It focuses on a better accessibility of theatre for persons with disabilities. Thus, performances have been upgraded by supertitles for patrons with hearing disabilities, they offer audio described performances for the blind and visually impaired, and there is an elevator for people with physical disabilities. In the period between 2010 and 2016, we redesigned the lobby, Small Stage and the dressing rooms for actors, which made the theatre even friendlier to actors and audiences.
Lljubljana City Theatre has received numerous awards and recognitions. Only in 2012, the theatre received 8 Borštnik Awards for the performance Storm. Merely a season and a half later, it received 11 (mostly international) awards for the co-production performance The Iliad. This collection of awards is enhanced by at least three recognised professional awards every year, of which the most recent one was the 2018 Prešeren Fund Award to actor Matej Puc and the Sever Award to Jure Henigman. LCT is also known for introducing new genres, i.e. they introduced the theatre crime series in the season of 2017/2018. Many theatre stagings achieve an enviably high number of shows.
Every year, they stage over 400 performances, visited by around 100,000 people.
Pionirski dom – Centre for Youth Culture
Pionirski dom is one of the leading institutions for extracurricular leisure activities. It develops and promotes creativity of young people in the culturally-artistic and linguistically-cultural fields. With a wide range of more than 50 activities, such as foreign language courses, various other courses and workshops, seminars for children and teaching staff, dance performances, theatre, film and other shows, it significantly contributes to an active development of children and the youth.
Young people who attend activities at Pionirski dom successfully participate in numerous Slovenian and international events and festivals in different fields: art, film and video, theatre, dance, music, literature and others. The number of visitors of Pionirski dom grows steadily and increased by 21 percent between 2007 and 2017.
The Mladinsko Theatre
The Mladinsko Theatre with its bold, provocative and socially engaged performances attracts everyone seeking a research-oriented and experimental approach to theatre. It is one of the best recognised Slovenian theatres, boasting a large number of shows abroad and in Slovenia. Therefore, in 2008, the European Commission awarded them with an honorary European Ambassador of Culture title. The theatre achieved an absolute all-Slovenian record in the number of hosting shows internationally in 2016, giving more than 47 shows in Europe as well as North and South America.
The Mladinsko Theatre is also synonymous for quality productions for children and youth as well as the executive producer of the popular Festival of Culture and Art Education Bobri.
The ensemble of the Mladinsko Theatre is the recipient of numerous national and international awards.
The cast of the performance Pavla Above the Precipice hosting in Zakopane in Poland.