Rijeka will be the first city in Croatia to receive a Children’s House, the namesake of the children-oriented cultural programme that will take place in Rijeka in 2020 when the city will hold the title of European Capital of Culture.
The 2020 children’s programme, which is incorporated into the Children’s House flagship, was announced to the public today, while reporters also visited the construction site of the eponymous structure, which is receiving its finishing touches at the former Rikard Benčić factory complex. Rijeka further continues with the announcements of the extensive cultural programme that will be taking place in Rijeka during 2020 – announcements that will continue until the end of September and well into October of this year.
The Children’s House flagship, which is a part of the ECoC Rijeka 2020 project, was announced by Emina Višnić, the director of the company founded with the purpose of implementing the ECoC programme, by pointing out the core idea and motto of the children’s programme – “with them, not just for them”, which indicates the method and approach to devising the concept of the children-oriented events that will be held in Rijeka in 2020.
A creative environment for the creators of a better and brighter future world
The values behind the Children’s House flagship suggest that children growing up in a creative environment could become the leaders and creators of a better and brighter future world. In this context, the aforementioned portion of the ECoC programme emphasises the imagination and fantasy that spark creativity in children.
Some of the programmes taking place in 2020 have been taking shape and growing for the past three years, such as the Tobogan children’s festival, while others have been surprising both children and adults, such as the first large-scale exhibition dedicated to the beloved character that is professor Balthazar.
The head of the children’s programme of the European Capital of Culture project, Jelena Milić, paid special attention to the Tobogan Festival, which will, following three years of preparations, be enhanced with spectacular outdoor events, workshops, plays, concerts, street performances, games, movie screenings, videogames, dance events, art interventions and other content aimed at children.
Besides Tobogan, I would also like to draw attention to the programme segment honouring the legacy of the legendary Professor Balthazar, with the large-scale interactive exhibition dedicated to him at Exportdrvo as the centrepiece of the event. It should also be noted that this is the first exhibition dedicated to this popular character, who undoubtedly has a special place in our hearts – Milić said.
Non-violence, tolerance and diversity in Rijeka’s Balthazartown
As the European Capital of Culture, Rijeka will bring Balthazar to the city because the panorama of this city supposedly served as inspiration for creating Balthazartown. Also connected with Balthazar are the artistic decoration of the Ship Uragan (Hurricane) and Grčevo beach, which will be transplanted to Balthazartown, while the popular professor will visit numerous neighbourhoods in Rijeka in a special way via the Visiting Professor programme.
Zlatko Bourek, the artist behind Balthazartown, was inspired by the architecture and atmosphere of a hard-working port city. Balthazar provides creative solutions to the problems of his fellow townspeople and advocates non-violence, tolerance, diversity, friendship and altruism. And these are values that overlap with the values of this portion of the Children’s House and the ECoC project, which is why such a large programme segment is dedicated to Professor Balthazar and the values and aesthetics espoused by this animated film – Milić stressed.
Puppet horror – Scaredy-Cats, youth puppet play – Children of the Port
Magdalena Lupi Alvir, Director of the Rijeka City Puppet Theatre, announced a portion of the 2020 programme prepared by the puppet theatre that is bound to pique the interest of the public with its high-quality content.
She noted that the Rijeka City Puppet Theatre is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year, with a focus on debuts and premieres. Among a plethora of plays, she singled out Bombiniera Variete! by the world-renowned Slovene director Matija Solce, which will provide a crash course in the history of puppetry in Rijeka. Lupi Alvir also pointed out the play Oh la la!, which was created in collaboration with esteemed Slovene and French authors.
Slobodanka Mišković, the director of Art-Kino, announced the projects Media Literacy Days and Travelling Film Workshops, which aim to encourage young people about making films and to further educate filmmakers and those interested in the medium of film and the craft of filmmaking.
Ivo Matulić, Acting Director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, pointed out that the museum will participate in the Children’s House programme by bringing to Rijeka the Danish artist Karoline H. Larsen and the Portuguese artist Pedro Campiche, who, much like Professor Balthazar, helps his fellow townspeople by providing imaginative and creative solutions. In this case, he will paint murals at the children’s playground.
A week becomes a month brimming with children’s books
A combination of book games and quizzes, promotions of books and their authors – writers, illustrators and translators, as well as storytelling, reading, talks, workshops that provide a full story experience, readers’ discussions, painting, reading research, visual experiences and exhibitions will be included in the children’s programme organised by the Rijeka City Library.
The City Library will participate in the 2020 children’s programme with the Month of Quality Children’s Literature programme, which is the biggest celebration of reading from a young age – Niko Cvjetković, Director of the Rijeka City Library, pointed out.
The recent Week will become a Month of Quality Children’s Literature, thus marking the relocation of Stribor Children’s Department to the new Children’s House building in the Benčić art neighbourhood.
Construction of the lower two floors of the first Children’s House has been completed
The social values championed by the children’s programme of the European Capital of Culture 2020 project have been woven into the design concept of the Children’s House, whose construction is coming along nicely.
Construction work on the Children’s House commenced in March of this year. Sofar, in addition to preparatory works, the demolition of the non-load-bearing partition walls and the construction of the former Brick Building, concrete paving has been laid on the ground and first floors of the new Children’s House. The elevator shafts have been built, all the window panes have been installed, and the structure of the auditorium, which will be located in the screening area of the house, has been built. Carpentry works, preparatory works for the concrete mezzanine on the third floor and the roof frame, along with the partial renovation of the façade, are currently in progress. This will be followed by installation and finishing works.
All the children’s programmes and activities will be jointly organised at the prospective Children’s House in Rijeka by the city’s cultural institutions – Art Kino, the Rijeka City Library, the Rijeka City Puppet Theatre and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in cooperation with their partners – emphasised Marko Filipović, Deputy mayor of Rijeka, also stated that the civil engineering works will be carried out by the company ING – GRAD from Zagreb in an HRK 42 million investment co-financed by EU funds.
Ivan Šarar, Head of the City of Rijeka Department of Culture, took the reporters on a tour of the ground and first floors of the soon-to-be Children’s House, which will be aimed at children between the ages of 0 and 12. The atrium of the Children’s House is supposed to double as a living room; a multi-purpose hall with 110 seats, several working spaces and a film and music studio will be located on the first and second floors, while the third floor will house the Stribor children’s department of the city library. A storytelling theatre will be situated in a small amphitheatre on the roof of the Children’s House.
The reconstruction and construction of the Children’s House and the prospective library is an integral part of the Revitalisation of the Benčić – Cigleni Complex and the T-Shaped Facility project, the total value of which is estimated at HRK 162,123,324.61. The project was financed by the EU Regional Development Fund with operating grants in the amount of HRK 68.2 million, which were approved following a public call by the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds. The project is financed by the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020.