In 1936 in a small village of thirty houses in the north of Gorski Kotar some progressive local people gathered together to hear a new idea from the handsome Anton Burić. They founded the Croatian reading room and brought an initial collection of books from donations across Croatia and overseas countries.
Kuti was a happy village. Today there are thirty or so inhabitants and 9,000 books. Soon the book caretakers may disappear. This is why the Happy Village Kuti programme is encouraging and creating content for the children and young people. In the programme are artists, the writers and illustrators of children’s literature creating new works which are staged in the forest, whilst the idea of a happy village is spreading throughout the municipality of Brod Moravice and its 38 villages.
Buna bunar, the artistic work of Japanese artist Akiko Sato (JP), is inspired by the magical natural environment of Gornji Kuti village. Situated in a specific location in the surrounding beech forest, the artistic work connects Japanese and Croatian culture, and the connection is in the name itself. The Japanese word “buna” means beech tree and is linked to the Croatian word “bunar” (“water well”).
The Secret Order of Book Guardians like a secret society takes on roles significant for the reading room. A manifesto was made for the secret society, symbols were created and titles given: the Key Keeper, the Archivist and the Small Book Keeper, the Missal Keeper and the Keeper of Sheet Music. The chosen keepers have a mandate in which they take on certain obligations towards the reading room.
Forest Stories are artistic residences in the neighbourhood of Kuti where illustrators and children’s writers stay, and the created stories are re-told by “forest creatures.”
Little library houses are hidden in the forest and just as knowledge they need to be found.
Kuti’s inspiration is their European neighbourhood NIDA – Nidzica Development Foundation in the Polish region of Pomerania and the villages which initiated the creation of thematic cultural locations and a project of converting rural estates and spaces into cultural-educational centres and programmes – Sierakowo Sławieńskie – Hobbits’ Village; Iwięcino – End of the World Village; Paproty – Village of Mazes; Dąbrowa – Healthy Life Village and Podgórki – Village of Fairy Tales and Bicycles.