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The Warsaw Voice » Regional Voice » September 2, 2011
The Lower Silesia Voice
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Active and Creative
September 2, 2011   
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Piotr Borkowski, director of the Culture and Art Center in Wrocław, talks to Barbara Deręgowska about cultural life in Lower Silesia.

You manage an institution that organizes over 180 cultural events in both the Lower Silesia region and neighboring regions across Poland’s border every year. Are all these events equally popular?
They draw more participants every year. The Culture and Art Center has been around for almost 40 years and we are now a regional government institution. We have started a great many major cultural events in the region and abroad. Most of them are international events and they include exhibitions of works by visual artists during the Lower Silesia Festival of Arts and events designed to bring together artists from countries of the Visegrad Group. We have shown the Banana Republic exhibition of works by 1980s artists at the National Museum in Bucharest, Romania, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Debrecen, Hungary. It became the largest exhibition of contemporary Polish art shown in Hungary in the past 20 years. Where the Izerskie Mountains border the Karkonosze Mountains, we have organized the outdoor Ekoglass Festival of art glass, which is a Polish-Czech project dealing with utility glass and glass art. During the event, the participants use varied glass-making techniques to produce some truly inventive works. The glass-making demonstrations take place right next to the furnaces.

We are also the coordinators of cultural projects conducted jointly with several regions in Europe, including Alsace, Lower Saxony, the Kaliningrad District and the Kirovohrad District.

We are active and creative. Every day there is a concert, an exhibition opening, a lecture or a cultural event of some other kind which the Culture and Art Center initiates, organizes or takes part in. We also promote readership by initiating meetings with book writers. We reach out to young poets and present them during the Wrocław Literary Study, printing their works in the prestigious Odra monthly magazine.

Do you also make movies?
We support documentaries on the fascinating history of Lower Silesia. Working with the Wrocław branch of the public television broadcaster, we have been producing dramatized documentaries about prominent women from our region, including Princess Marianna Orańska, who supported the development of the Kłodzko Valley, and Daisy, Princess of Pless, the lady of the Książ Castle. As part of the Dolny Śląsk pełen historii (History in Lower Silesia), we have been working on a series of documentaries about the history of Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Lądek-Zdrój, the Castle on the Rock in Trzebieszowice, and the Stronghold of Kłodzko.

For many years, the Culture and Art Center has offered its support to the Wrostja Festival of One-Actor Theaters in Wrocław. Is there any special reason for this?
We are the main organizers. Wrostja is the oldest monodrama festival in the world, held since 1966. It is a delightful encounter of Poland’s best one-actor theaters with guest shows from abroad. So far, 91 such encounters have taken place in Wrocław, Toruń, Warsaw and many cities and towns in Lower Silesia. A total of 1,079 plays have been shown featuring around 700 actors from 28 countries.

Which musical event would you most like to invite our foreign readers to?
All of them, naturally, but I would like to particularly recommend the May with Early Music International Festival. Very few similar events are organized in Poland. The festival promotes early music dating back to the times between the Middle Ages and the Baroque. Polish and foreign performers at the event play genuine period instruments and faithful replicas using original tablatures and scores. Along with concerts, the festival comprises lectures on performing techniques and the history of early music. Foreign performers at the festival have come from Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Germany and Ukraine.

Then, there is the Henryk Wieniawski International Festival in Szczawno-Zdrój, commemorating the days when the great Polish composer stayed in the local spa.

Most of all, I would like to encourage everybody to attend innovative concerts and opera productions staged in the open. We have organized them for three years in Pstrążna near Kudowa-Zdrój and they have been enormously popular. The shows are staged at a special amphitheater with a stage that we have built at the Open-Air Museum of the Culture of the Sudeten Foothills. In the gardens of the historic Castle on the Rock in Trzebieszowice near Lądek-Zdrój, the Culture and Art Center has organized concerts featuring orchestras and excellent vocalists who sing popular opera arias.
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