Novi Sad, being the European Capital of Culture within the preparations for the title year 2022, is envisaged to be the winner of the prestigious ‘Melina Mercouri’ award, which is given by the European Commission based on the successful delivery of the project.
Before the last panel of the European Commission, which will determine whether Serbian Athens will win the award, the second session of the Honorary Committee of the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation, chaired by Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, was held in Novi Sad. During the session, the work done so far has been presented, as well as the following steps within the project, which faced many challenges during the pandemic, including the postponement of the title year from 2021 to 2022.
The session was attended by Maja Gojković, Minister of Culture and Information, members of the Honorary Committee, Igor Mirović, President of the Provincial Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, and Miloš Vučević, Mayor of Novi Sad, as well as Nemanja Milenković, CEO of the ‘Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture’ Foundation.
‘It all started in 2008 with the letter from the City Hall, when at first, the answer was that the country not being a member of the European Union cannot apply for the title, but 13 years later, Novi Sad has become the European Capital of Culture. I am glad that we are following the trends and that the use of cultural heritage has achieved an important purpose. We are also connecting culture and tourism, which has been practice in the world for a long time. I hope that the Foundation does its best to become the most successful capital of culture, and that the work will be crowned by the award bearing the name of the woman who designed the ECoC project. Based on the model, the Ministry launched the Serbian Capital of Culture project and by doing so I expect to contribute to cultural development in other cities as well,’ said Maja Gojković, vice-president of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Culture and Information.
In 2019, Novi Sad was remarked as one of the best European Capitals of Culture during the last panel of the European Commission, following the report from the first session of the Honorary Committee of the Foundation.
‘Provincial Government has invested over 400 million RSD and it will continue to provide the project with support. During the following years, we will implement another big project, which is the complete reconstruction of the Almaš Neighbourhood, protected by the Government decision as the cultural heritage of national importance,’ said Igor Mirović, President of the Provincial Government.
The second session of the Honorary Committee was held in the reconstructed space of the former Fabrika, in Creative District, the future centre of contemporary art, one of the five cultural centres in Novi Sad, including the Suburbium of the Petrovaradin Fortress, Almaš Neighbourhood, city centre and network of cultural stations, which are in a unique endeavour of protection, reconstruction and development.
‘After the Session and visit to the important point for the ECoC project and development of the city when it comes to wider social development, I can say that I am satisfied. We can see that the investment, important for our city, will continue to implement at full strength, since there is an agreement between all levels of local authorities. We, hosts, are passionately interested in this issue. Many didn’t believe that Kineska Četvrt would become the real Creative District, and it can already be seen that we are short of space compared to the interest of citizens. We continue with decisive steps in important infrastructure and programme activities, even after 2022, the title year,’ said Miloš Vučević, Mayor of Novi Sad.
Six objects have been reconstructed in Creative District so far, another object should be reconstructed by the end of September, which leaves only four objects in need of reconstruction. Since last year, artists, organisations, institutions and citizens have had an opportunity to feel cultural life in that part of the city. Therefore, they will have a chance to experience it again this year, within the fourth Kaleidoscope of Culture from 2 September until 8 October.
Photo: Ótos András