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Museums have all of a sudden become cool!

August 19, 2019

With the aim of keeping young people in cultural institutions in Novi Sad as much as possible, this year the project “Mladi biraju” (Youth choose) was implemented for the first time with the support of OPENS 2019, the Novi Sad 2021 Foundation and Vojvodjanska banka – OTP Group. The idea behind the project is to build-up a young audience in the culture and include a number of different subprojects – from exhibitions to cultural guides. I knew that. But I didn’t know how interesting this was and some things about my city. But the story doesn’t start here.

Well, our city is the Youth Capital of Europe this year, and thus far more interesting to young tourists. We know what we have to offer young people, and in order for them to find out, the Tourism Organisation of Novi Sad has been intensively working for months to promote the city. Among other things, together with OPENS, we invited three young journalists from Croatia to visit Novi Sad and relay our story further.

It is Monday morning. A day when museums around the world do not work. The hottest day of the year. International Youth Day. And the day The Gallery of Matica Srpska have opened the door for us.


And then we heard everything. For the start, the idea of the project was to create a new exhibition with the help of young people, listening to their wishes. Over 20 high school students, with the support of curators, conservators, museum educators and cultural managers, have been getting to know and research the contents of The Gallery of Matica Srpska for months. After getting acquainted with the gallery’s collection in detail, the young people were given the opportunity to independently carry out the exhibition “Mladi biraju” and thus to leave their personal mark in the art world. The exhibition consisted of three themes of Time Machine Society, The Beginning of the End, and Who am I? Just type ‘MEME’ and ‘Mladi biraju’ into the browser and you’ll see why the kids in town have been crazy about the culture in recent months.

The next ‘on the menu’ of the visit was the KULtura project through Novi Sad, in which the youth, with the cooperation of The Gallery of Matica Srpska, the Vojvodina Archive and the Youth Theater, had the opportunity to decide what makes our city authentic compared to other cities in Europe. as well as how they want to present themselves to their peers, who plan to visit Novi Sad. Through the creative workshop “Ulice I lica mog grada”, they were introduced to the culture and history of Novi Sad. Over 500 high school students from Novi Sad and the surrounding area participated in the project.

Finally, we ended our visit to the cultural quarter with a visit to the Pavel Beljanski Memorial Collection. Pavel Beljanski’s collection consists of the most significant works of Serbian art with an emphasis on the period between the First and Second World War. The exhibition begins with paintings by the first generation of modernists (Nadezda Petrovic, Milan Milovanovic, Kosta Milicevic), continues with the most important representatives of Serbian art between the two world wars (Sava Sumanovic, Milan Konjovic, Petar Dobrović), and ends with the works of artists of the second half of the 20th century . Although we were running out of power at one point, it didn’t stop us from absolutely enjoying this collection and turning this little ‘accident’ into a unique experience, illuminating the space with flashes from our mobile phones.

Now a few questions for you:

  • Did you know that Pavle Beljanski personally, while still in diplomacy, started creating a collection while the authors were young and under-established because he recognized quality in them, before others?
  • Did you know that for a year now young people in Novi Sad are becoming more and more involved in art and give it some contribution to their ideas, breaking the taboo that art is reserved only for the elderly or cultural elite?
  • And did you know that Museums suddenly got really cool?

I did not. Not quite. Not until I set out to explore the city with the fresh perspective of three young Croatian journalists. And now I can’t wait to read their stories. Or, rather, discover for myself a new part of Novi Sad.


Authors: Dunja Knežević, TONS and Ivana Miloradov, OPENS