Jan Žůrek: It was necessary to make a quick decision

Recently, Olomouc has been reviving. A campaign concerning the decision on the creation of a new cultural centre directly in the downtown culminates. An initiative "Dolní vám. Ote-vřete centrum kultuře!" (“Dolní to you. Open the downtown to culture!”) that promises to raise even more yet high level of cultural offer in this Moravian metropolis was launched by Jan Žůrek, a long-time protagonist of Olomouc cultural scene.

Together with his team, he would like to run representative promises for the contemporary art that would be open to public, have community cross-over and support both national and international contemporary theatre scene.

Recently, we have noticed quite an enterprising crowdfunding campaign. You have set a high benchmark. However, it looks like you hold the campaign tightly in your hands. As people say, are you already packing your bags?

At the end of the last year we decided to move to the premises in the centre of Olomouc that were available at that time. It was necessary to make a quick decision and to run the risk - at that time nobody could guarantee us financial support.
Therefore, we decided to collect money through the crowfunding campaign, too. On our aim is to raise as much as 500 000 CZK, although we are perfectly aware that this amount is really very high on our regional circumstances. Nevertheless, our aim was to provoke people. Furthermore, this sum is truly essential for the realisation of reconstruction.

The centre on Wurmova street already offers theatre, gallery, residence opportunity for both local and international artists and runs the community garden. Besides the attractive location, what is, in your opinion, the main benefit of the new cultural centre on the Dolní Square?

What is fundamental as far as our move to downtown is concerned is above all the fact that all our existing activities will be more visible. In general, it will not be easy to miss them.
Currently, we are temporarily open and everybody looks at the shop window or enters to see the interior. As I see it, from this point of view it might offer an extraordinary opportunity for the independent theatre, dance and fine art.

What will be the benefits for Olomouc if you succeed?

An open space for culture, above all. A place that´s going to be open whole day. A place with endless range of activities aiming at all generations.
In the recent years, we have developed plenty of educational and community activities for children, adolescents and elderly people so we are not any more just a place for creation and presentation of contemporary art. We do our best to create a lively cultural institution that would have a significant importance in the town´s public space.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

At the first phase, we have to set the financing properly - we are seeking an appropriate model that would enable us to financially withstand this huge space with not a cheap rent. It’s going to be a combination of grants, running a coffee bar and further subtenancy of the premises. However, what is of the utmost importance for us is the development of our activities. My great wish is to be able to initiate town’s change and revive its dying centre.

What has recently pleased you in the field of culture?

I would like to share with you a nice and fresh experience. The students of the Palacký University in Olomouc decided to donate the profits from this year May Day Parade to our project “Dolní vám”. It is hard to describe how this gesture has made us happy!

On the contrary, what has disappointed you?

In this respect, I have to mention the long-standing and continuous disappointment resulting from the high degree of attention and energy which the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Re-public and some towns dedicate to their state-funding institutions instead of focusing on the subjects that are really dynamically developing.

And what are your wishes?

To collect 500 000 CZK for dolnivam
And then holidays.

Regular blog of Nová síť published in the Internet newsletter on the contemporary theatre in context