Museums
for changes

A large project, which united the museums of southern Ukraine 

The team of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum completed the project “Museums for change”. It consisted of three parts and lasted nine months in three cities of Ukraine – Odesa, Kherson, and Berdyansk – based on the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, Kherson Art, and Berdyansk Art museums. It included lectures, an art “idea marathon” on creating an art object, and an exhibition by Isaac Brodsky, designed to track the closeness of art, culture, society, and politics. The United States Agency supported the project for International Development (USAID).

The first part of the project was a large lecture course “Art at the forefront of social change” – for three months in Odesa, Kherson, and Berdyansk art museums leading Ukrainian art critics, philosophers, and museologists gave lectures on how art can better change cities and countries. We talked about how an artist can become a real rebel, able to win the right of citizens to freedom. There were 11 lectures in Odesa, 8 in Kherson, and 2 in Berdyansk. A total of 900 students in three cities attended the lectures.

We recorded 10 lectures on video and posted them on the YouTube channel of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum.

In addition to the lecture course, the project included an exhibition at the Berdyansk Art Museum – it was dedicated to the artist Isaac Brodsky, whose figure we considered a proclaimer of the cultural policy of his time. About 300 guests visited the exhibition “Soviet David” on the opening day, and a total of 1,500 spectators during the exhibition (December 3, 2019 – January 21, 2020). For Berdyansk, it became a high-profile artistic event that attracted the attention not only of the professional community but also of the city’s residents.

During the period of the above-mentioned events, real communities were formed around the art museums of the south of Ukraine, for which we held an ideaton “Museums generate ideas”. It was a competition of creative teams that had to come up with an original idea of ​​an art object with a social connotation in a few days. In three days from February 7 to 9, 2020, 60 people in Kherson came up with 10 ideas of art objects that can be implemented in public space and draw the attention of citizens to the important problems of the region. The teams brought together artists, local communities (Odesa, Kherson, and Berdyansk), community activists, and marketers.

The idea of ​​the team of artist Daria Koltsova’s architectural installation “Awakening” (this is the working name) on the embankment of Kherson won the competition. The installation was supposed to be installed in April and officially open in May, but due to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, the main project partners were forced to redirect the funds they planned to spend on the installation to counter the pandemic. Unfortunately, today it was decided to postpone the installation to the fall of 2020 already outside the project. For this project, we will launch a crowdfunding campaign in August to raise the missing funds.

Visualization
architectural installation "Awakening"

For me, Kherson is a city ​​of a person close to me. This person showed how you can not want to go, but love and dream, believe that everything can be changed, that the future we create ourselves and today. Visualization Thanks to her, I fell in love with the Kherson embankments, the amazing nature of the region, and people with strong character.I see Kherson as a city of contrasts. There was a participant in the team with me, Oleksiy - he compared the city to an airplane that is going to take off, and it is being brought back. In almost all the stories I heard here, I felt the potential for change, transformation, and birth in a new capacity. And I wanted to convey this premonition and admiration for her in our project - in the architectural installation "Awakening" on the waterfront.
Daria Koltsova
Artist and Ideaton winner
Almost every idea can be implemented by teams independently. I think an event like Ideaton shows very well that different people can interact with artists for change in their communities. Various contemporary art should appear in the cities of Ukraine. In addition, Kherson currently has good conditions for development - I was impressed by the involvement of the Head of the Regional State Administration, and his openness and understanding of the value of such a project.
Oleksandra Kovalchuk
Head of the project "Art in the forefront of social change", Deputy Director of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum for Development

It is safe to say that the “Museums at the forefront of social change” has drawn considerable public attention to how art, cultural institutions, and public figures have influenced and can influence society to change it for the better. The media coverage of the project has reached 800,000 people in nine months, and we are sure that it will increase, in particular, on the YouTube channel of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum. Kherson will receive an art object – a public space open for interaction with tourists and citizens. Moreover, according to many participants, even after the completion of an ideaton, ideas for new projects continue to be formed, new acquaintances and team chats work, and ways to implement the ideas that arose during the event become obvious.