Constructive proposals were voiced within the framework of the dialogue platforms in Grodno.
More than four years ago Belarus was the first in the post-Soviet space to codify legislative and regulatory documents on culture. This is the Code adopted in 2016. Four years have passed, and the realities of today and the practice of applying individual provisions suggest which aspects and articles need to be adjusted. Constructive proposals were voiced within the framework of the dialogue platforms in Grodno.
Creativity goes for export
Among the topical issues that were voiced by the participants of the dialogue platform is the decentralization of the implementation of the administrative procedure for issuing permits for the export of works of art abroad. This applies to paintings, art objects, small sculptures, works of artisans, and so on.
In practice, a few years ago, in order to take out of the country, for example, a painting, a permit could be obtained directly at the border. There was a sector of art historians-controllers who gave the conclusion that the object is not a historical and cultural value (namely, they cannot be exported). This structure was later abolished. Today, the relevant conclusion and export permit are issued by the Ministry of Culture.
— Residents of Belarus who plan a trip abroad in advance and buy a painting as a gift, the work of a master of folk art, can in principle solve the issue of obtaining a permit. And, of course, they decide, although this is fraught with certain inconveniences. In particular, you need to go to Minsk, says Elena Klimovich, the head of the department of culture.
Tourists who come for several days and often only for the weekend will not have time to issue a permit. Meanwhile, on their part, we saw a steady interest in our works of art.
For the Grodno region, which in recent years has been visited by over 280 thousand visa-free guests from almost all over the world, the issue is acute. It was also raised by the employees of the exhibition hall on Ozheshko — one of the main, but not the only galleries in Grodno, where you can buy works of contemporary authors.
As they said in the exhibition hall, foreign guests always willingly came to them, including as part of official delegations, many were interested in whether it was possible to buy a painting and how to transport it across the border. Visitors from abroad like our artists, and especially the fact that Belarusian authors have their own style, they are recognizable and, I must say, their works are appreciated not only in our country, but also abroad.
Contemporary works do not belong to historical and cultural values, so they can be freely acquired and taken away in memory of Belarus. But having received permission. According to the proposal voiced at the dialogue platform, the conclusion whether an object of art is a cultural value could be issued in regional museums. There are art departments and professional art critics who can appreciate the work. And, what is important — to do it as soon as possible, upon submission of the application.
This will greatly simplify the export of art objects. If there is demand, there will be supply, because the tourism sector invariably stimulates the development of not only the economy, infrastructure, but also creativity.
I must say that sometimes not everything can be purchased. And this already concerns the second proposal voiced at the dialogue platform. In particular, Crafts Centers today are not allowed to sell their products.
-We constantly participate in exhibitions-fairs in Grodno, travel to other cities to present products created by masters of the Grodno region, said Victoria Lanevskaya, the head of the department of ethnography, folklore and crafts of the Grodno regional cultural and information center. — However, for us these are only exhibitions — we have no right to sell works. It is a pity, because there is interest from both Belarusians and foreign guests. Often they are interested in tapestries, straw products, traditional textile dolls.
Very talented craftsmen work in the craft centers of Grodno region, who create truly unique things in traditional and modern techniques. Much has been created using technologies included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of Belarus. And all this could be taken with them, including foreign tourists. In the meantime, only the artisans themselves can offer them such an exclusive. The exception is Lida. Taking the opportunity, a souvenir shop was opened here back in 2010.
— In the assortment — products that are created during working hours by the craftsmen of the department of crafts and traditional culture of the regional Center of culture and folk art. In addition, we accept for sale the products of our artisans, Elena Shchelina, said the head of the branch.
They are also actively engaged in outdoor trade. Lidchane are constant participants in the holidays in Vitebsk, Minsk, Grodno, Alexandria. It is noted that consumers are in demand for practical and household products, including clothes, pillows, bags, woven products, ceramic dishes and much more. Quite often the craft department receives large orders from enterprises for the production of souvenirs. In financial terms, the sale of their products is a profitable business. The proceeds go to the seller’s salary, part of the plan for paid services covers, significant amounts are spent on the development of the craft department itself.
The legal framework does not allow the Crafts Centers to take a similar step today.
— The main goal of the Craft Centers is to preserve and popularize the culture of Belarus, today they are funded by the state. At the same time, today, in order to purchase materials, conduct classes, attract new craftsmen, increase wages, the centers need additional funds. They just could earn money by selling their products. I am sure this would become another impetus for their development, — notes Elena Klimovich.
It would seem that the two proposals relate to different areas of work, but they also have one thing in common: if the changes are adopted, this will increase budget revenues from the cultural sector. And, of course, it will serve as an excellent stimulus for the development of creativity: both a professional artist, a folk artist, and an amateur artisan will create with much more enthusiasm if their work will bring more income. In the intangible sense, the main thing is that Belarusian works of contemporary art purchased by foreign guests will be one of the most effective advertisements for our authors, our art and the country as a whole. Therefore, all those who are interested are waiting for changes with such enthusiasm.
By Tatiana KUZNECHENKOVA
Фото:Photos were taken from the archives of «GP» and BelTA