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~ Center for Interdisciplinary Studies ~


~ Institut de la Communication ~

UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management

Artist Residency Programs in Rural Areas in Serbia:

New Organizational Models


Sanja Lazi

Predrag Cvetianin, PhD

Belgrade, October 2017


I would first like to thank my thesis mentor professor Predrag Cvetianin whose advice,
comments and support helped me and allowed this paper to be my own work, but steered me in
the right the direction whenever he thought I needed it.

I would also like to thank everyone who helped me in my research but have not been
mentioned in the final paper. Information and input they provided were immensely important for
the direction of this paper.

I would also like to acknowledge all the people who dedicated their time and effort to answer
all my questions and provide me with information I would not have been able to find otherwise.
Most of all, they are: Branislav, enadija, Sofija, Milica, Maida, Mara and Tanja.

Finally, I must express my enormous gratitude to my family for providing me with unfailing
support and continuous encouragement throughout my years of study and through the process of
researching and writing this thesis. This accomplishment would not have been possible without
them. Thank you.


Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 5

Rsum ............................................................................................................................................ 7

I Introduction.................................................................................................................................. 9

1.1 General Framework of the Research ................................................................................... 10

1.2 Topic .................................................................................................................................... 11

1.3 Aim of the Research ............................................................................................................ 11

1.4 Research Questions.............................................................................................................. 11

1.5 Hypothesis ........................................................................................................................... 12

1.6 Methodology of Research .................................................................................................... 13

III Historical and Socio-Cultural Background of Artist Residencies...................................... 16

3.1 Early Development .............................................................................................................. 16

3.2 The Rise of Art Colonies: 1950s ......................................................................................... 18

3.3 Art Colonies Today: An Old Concept? ............................................................................... 20

IV Art Colonies vs. Artist Residencies ....................................................................................... 22

4.1 Types of Residency Programs ............................................................................................. 27

V Crisis of the Rural .................................................................................................................... 31

VI Case Study Analysis ................................................................................................................ 34

6.1 Art Colony of Jalovik .......................................................................................................... 35

6.1.1 General Overview .......................................................................................................... 35

6.1.2 Organizational Structure of Jalovik Art Colony ............................................................ 38

6.1.3 Visibility and PR ............................................................................................................ 42

6.2 International Colony of Artistic Ceramic Work Zlakusa .................................................... 43

6.2.1 Organizational Structure of Zlakusa Colony ................................................................. 45

6.2.2 Visibility and PR ............................................................................................................ 47

6.3 Art Colony Sievo ............................................................................................................... 48

6.3.1 Organizational Structure of Art Colony Sievo ............................................................. 51

6.3.2 Archiving Artworks ....................................................................................................... 54

6.4 Art colony in Lipovac .......................................................................................................... 55

6.4.1 Organizational Structure of Art Colony Lipovac........................................................... 55

6.4.2 Visibility and PR ............................................................................................................ 57

6.5 Dislocations: Photo Colony in Orlovat ................................................................................ 58

6.5.1 Organizational Structure of Photo Colony in Orlovat ................................................... 59

6.5.2 Visibility and PR ............................................................................................................ 62

6.6 Case Studies Summary ........................................................................................................ 62

VII Focus Group Analysis ........................................................................................................... 64

VIII Recommendations ................................................................................................................ 74

8.1 Recommendations for Policy Creators and Decision-Makers ............................................. 75

8.2 Recommendations for Organizers ....................................................................................... 79

IX Conclusion ............................................................................................................................... 84

X Bibliography.............................................................................................................................. 86

XI Webography ............................................................................................................................ 87

About the Author ......................................................................................................................... 90


This research paper explores the issue of art colonies in the rural Serbian areas and their
great potential in areas of art production, creation of cultural content in rural areas,
decentralization of culture and education. Art colonies in Serbia have a great history and tradition
that lasts for more than a century; however, these concepts have stayed on the level they were
initially established and somewhere along the way lost their initial purpose and seized to follow
contemporary art trends. In return, art colonies have remained very traditional, still connected to
socialist times during which most of them flourished and kept the original organizational models.
Over time, artworks created during colonies reached numbers that are difficult to archive and
save, creating a situation where art colonies lose their main purpose. At the same time, the
concept of artist residencies became popular, especially in the west and, while the two terms have
undoubted similarities in concept and idea, art colonies in Serbia failed to recognize these
resemblances and try to adjust these programs to the exciting and interesting models of artist
residencies who have taken the idea of art colonies and raised it to a higher level.

This paper, therefore, explores the current situation of art colonies in rural areas of Serbia
today, their internal structure, financial stability and organizational models, as well as their
potential for sustainability, general stability, and the possibility to approach the model of artist
residencies today.

In the first chapter, the general framework and the concepts that will be used as an
interpretative context are introduced, as well as research questions, hypotheses and methodology
of research.

The second chapter deals with the historical and socio-cultural background of artist
residencies and art colonies, as well as answering the question of necessity and need of this
concept today. Simultaneously, the analysis and comparison between the concepts of art colonies
and artist residencies is undertaken and the issue of similarities and differences is being

The fifth chapter analyzes the ongoing issue of the crisis of the rural. In Serbia, around forty
percent of total population lives in the countryside, while their opportunities and access to

cultural and every other content is almost non-existent. This part therefore, deals with the
situational analysis, as well as the potentials for developing artist residency programs in rural

The main part of the paper is chapter six, where through analysis of five case studies (art
colonies in rural areas), previous hypotheses and questions are further being analyzed and
examined. By in-depth analysis of Jalovik Art Colony, Zlakusa, Sievo, Orlovat and Lipovac, the
reader will have the opportunity to compare these, in many ways, very different examples and,
hopefully, recognize a pattern and mutual problems that connect all of them.

The seventh chapter is a focus study analysis, where a wider perspective of the problem is
examined through interviews not only with organizers, but also artists and curators, as crucial and
necessary actors of these programs.

Finally, this paper offers recommendations for two groups of actors organizers of art
colonies and policy creators and decision makers. These recommendations are then divided into
categories and groups that offer possible solutions to the previously researched problems.

Key words: art colony, artist residency, rural areas, new organizational models.


Ce document de recherche explore la question des colonies d'art dans les zones rurales serbes
et leur grand potentiel dans les domaines de la production artistique, la cration de contenus
culturels dans les zones rurales, la dcentralisation de la culture et lducation. Les colonies d'art
en Serbie font partie d'une longue histoire et d'une tradition qui dure depuis plus d'un sicle.
Cependant, ces concepts sont rests leur niveau initialement tabli et ont perdu leur but initial
au profit de lart contemporain. En retour, les colonies dart sont restes trs traditionnelles,
toujours lies aux priodes socialistes au cours desquelles la plupart ont prospr et conserv les
modles organisationnels originaux. Au fil du temps, les uvres d'art cres au cours des
colonies ont atteint des chiffres difficiles archiver et sauvegarder, initiant une situation o les
colonies dart sloignent de leur but principal. Paralllement, le concept des rsidences dartistes
est devenu populaire, surtout dans louest et, alors que les deux termes ont des similitudes
incontournables dans le concept et lide, les colonies dart en Serbie ont chou reconnatre
ces ressemblances et ont essay dajuster leurs programmes aux modles novateurs des
rsidences dartistes, qui elles ont pris lide des colonies d'art et lont lev un niveau

Cet article explore donc la situation actuelle des colonies dart dans les zones rurales de
Serbie aujourdhui, leur structure interne, leur stabilit financire et leurs modles
organisationnels, ainsi que leur potentiel de durabilit, de stabilit gnrale et la possibilit
d'aborder le modle des rsidences dartistes aujourdhui.

Dans le premier chapitre, on introduira le cadre gnral et les concepts qui seront utiliss
comme contexte interprtatif, ainsi que des questions de recherche, des hypothses et une
mthodologie de recherche.

Le deuxime chapitre traite des antcdents historiques et socio-culturels des rsidences

d'artistes et des colonies dart, ainsi que la question du besoin et de la ncessit de ce concept
aujourdhui. Simultanment, lanalyse et la comparaison entre les concepts de colonies dart et
les rsidences dartistes sont entreprises et la question des similitudes et des diffrences trouve
une rponse.

Le cinquime chapitre analyse la question actuelle de la crise du milieu rural. En Serbie,
environ quarante pour cent de la population totale vit la campagne, alors que leurs possibilits
et laccs aux contenus culturels et tous les autres sont presque inexistants. Cette partie traite
donc de lanalyse situationnelle, ainsi que des potentiels pour dvelopper des programmes de
rsidence d'artistes dans les zones rurales.

La partie principale du document est le chapitre six, o, grce lanalyse de cinq tudes de
cas (colonies d'art dans les zones rurales), les hypothses et les questions antrieures sont
analyses et examines. Grce une analyse approfondie de Jalovik Art Colony, Zlakusa, Sievo,
Orlovat et Lipovac, le lecteur aura loccasion de comparer ces exemples, bien des gards, et,
bien sr, reconnatre un modle et des problmes mutuels qui les relient entre eux.

Le septime chapitre est une tude de base, o une perspective plus large du problme est
examine par des entretiens non seulement avec les organisateurs, mais aussi avec les artistes et
les conservateurs, en tant quacteurs essentiels et ncessaires ces programmes.

Enfin, cet article propose des recommandations pour deux groupes dacteurs: les
organisateurs des colonies dart et les dcideurs politiques. Ces recommandations sont ensuite
divises en catgories et en groupes qui offrent des solutions possibles aux problmes dj

Mots clefs: colonie artistique, rsidence artistique, zones rurales, nouveaux modles

I Introduction

What do Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Copland, Truman Capote, Matisse and Nadeda Petrovi
have in common? Only that each one of them made some of their most known works during artist
residency programs1. Although the title of the program they were part of is debatable and they
were continents away from each other, the fact is that all of those artists recognized the
importance of a retreat for inspiration, work and new perspective. This shows the indubitable and
borderless imperative that artists had for decades and even centuries. Today, under the title of
artist residency programs, numerous organizations and associations worldwide are exploring the
endless possibilities of providing artists place for a temporary stay. However, these practices are
not new or, as some may think, a result of globalization. In the case of Serbia, after a long period
of isolation that had left a significant impact on every segment of society, culture in particular,
and after a transitional period that was taken as an excuse for too long, the country is currently in
position of trying to keep up with trends on the contemporary art scene. When it comes to artist
residency programs specifically, cultural practitioners in Serbia have only in the recent years
began recognizing the need for providing artists alternatives from what they were used to,
understanding the value of mobility as a source for inspiration, different experience and, in the
end, pressure-free time for creation and production. However, these models are still only in the
process of emerging in Serbia and a result of small number of individuals and non-governmental
organizations. On the other hand, the state has, instead of providing financial and systematic help
in founding and supporting fresh ideas and initiatives, continued its long-lasting trend of reducing
budget for culture, reaching today around 8,3 billion Serbian dinars (around 69 million euros) or
0,82% of the overall republic budget. Still, Serbian tradition in art and artistic practices is
everything but negligible. Just as the West was creating first versions of what will later become
known as artist residencies, on the different part of the world at the same time art colonies were
sprouting. Although most evidence from this period was lost and this topic was, for unknown
reasons, neglected by art historians and other authors, these artistic practices became a specificity
of the region that has still remained unexplored with its potential never fully utilized. Another
particularity is the location. Almost all of the colonies were placed in rural Serbian areas, closely

Alliance of Artists Communities. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from Alliance of Artists Communities:

connected to the local community and their everyday lives. With more than one century long
tradition of art colonies, Serbian art scene and its legacy have found itself in an interesting and
paradoxical situation on one hand, trying to keep up with contemporary trends while receiving
almost no financial support and, on the other, as in the case of art colonies with enormous
archives and art collections that, in most cases, are forgotten or placed in numerous spaces of
local art galleries, private homes or simply rooms of abandoned Houses of Culture, a
specificity of the socialist period2. With artist residency programs flourishing on a global level
and slowly becoming a necessary step in artist mobility and as a tool for cultural diplomacy, the
underestimated model of art colonies is neither recognized as a precursor of artist residencies, nor
as a concept that could be improved. This paper will, therefore, assess the current state of art
colonies in rural Serbian areas, its undisputable connection and similarity to residency programs,
as well attempt to provide possible solutions for the obvious problem these programs are
currently facing and, finally, recommend strategies for changing what at the moment seem to be
its obstacles into potentials and sustainable, long term solutions.

1.1 General Framework of the Research

With more than two hundred registered art colonies3, art colonies are one of the most
common programs for encouraging art production in Serbia. However, only in 2002 Ministry of
Culture of the Republic of Serbia recognized the need to financially support art colonies, but the
allocated funds were not sufficient to help all of these initiatives. This left numerous art colonies,
and institutions or organizations behind them, in the unenviable position of struggling to survive
whilst having the responsibility to maintain the tradition and valuable archives and art
collections. At the same time, due to the rules that were never officially established in this area
and the fact that this type artistic activities were never completely recognized as legitimate way in
fields of mediation, mobility and networking, many of the artists themselves or solely art lovers

Donahoe, B., & Otto Habeck, J. (2011). Recontructing the House of Culture: Community, Self, and the Makings of
Culture in Russia and Beyond. New York: Berghahn Books.
Tadi, D., Prohaska-Markovi, M., & Gruden, M. (2009). Likovne kolonije u Srbiji (p. 9, Publication). Beograd:
Udruenje graana Anonymous said:

were initiators and organizers of these programs, many of them without the actual managerial
knowledge, crucial for obtaining sustainability and quality program.

1.2 Topic

In this thesis I focus on artist residency programs in Serbia's rural areas and their current
organizational models, and the ways organizational models of existing art colonies can be
improved in order to reach its sustainability, answer the needs of its participants, as well as keep
up with contemporary art trends.

1.3 Aim of the Research

The main aim of this thesis is to propose strategies for the new organizational models of art
colonies in Serbia's rural areas in terms of their sustainability which will create a stable
environment for artists to produce artwork, influence local communities by providing cultural
content and raise awareness on the importance of artists' mobility.

The research tries to achieve other goals as well:

Mapping of art colonies in rural areas

Classification of art colonies in rural areas
Collecting necessary data on infrastructure, existing organizational and financial models
Thorough analysis and evaluation of the five case studies
Recommendations for improving current organizational models of art colonies in rural areas
in Serbia

1.4 Research Questions

This thesis will, therefore, try to investigate:

1. How are the current models of artist residences organized?

2. What are their existing sources of financing?

3. How does the rural area influence residential programs and its activities?
4. What are the reasons for artists to take part in these programs?
5. Is there an initiative among cultural managers and curators to take part in organization of
these programs?
6. What prevents organizers to create a self-sustainable model like numerous examples
7. Why these contemporary trends were not followed?
8. Is there a potential for a whole year program?

1.5 Hypothesis

My main hypotheses in this research are:

1. Organizers of art colonies in rural areas in Serbia lack managerial skills

2. Organizers of art colonies in rural areas in Serbia do not have a clear vision about the
purpose of these programs
3. Organizers of art colonies in rural areas in Serbia do not follow contemporary art trends
4. Art colonies in rural areas in Serbia lack financial stability
5. Participants of a in rural areas in Serbia do not clearly understand their role within these
6. There is a low level of active engagement of local communities in these programs

These hypotheses will be tested through five case studies - Art colony of Jalovik, Art colony
in Lipovac, Art Colony Sievo, International Colony of Artistic Ceramic Work Zlakusa, as well
as Photo Colony in Orlovat.

These case studies will allow me to have a more in-depth understanding on what are the
tendencies in Serbia when it comes to comprehending conceptions of residential programs and
their purpose. After mapping these art colonies, I will analyze:

1) their organizational models:

duration of residencies;

organizers educational background;
criteria for selection of the artists;
international aspect;
existence of additional activities;
potential for creating a whole-year program;
interaction with local communities;

2) as well as their financial models:

ways of funding;
potential for attracting sponsorships;
potential for introducing application fees for participants;
knowledge of writing project proposals.

This thorough analysis and data gathering will provide valuable insight into how these
programs function in Serbia, their potentials as well as their flaws.

The last part of my paper will be composed out of recommendations for improvement of
these models in terms of understanding their role in the contemporary art world, introduction of
intersectorial relationships and collaborations, creative industries, importance of
multidisciplinarity, the importance of educational aspect of organizers, the necessity of
professionals in organization of residential programs, news models of financing, potential for
international networking and collaborations, as well as the interaction and tight bond with the

1.6 Methodology of Research

The research plan is based mostly on qualitative research methods like semi-structured
interviews, focus groups, observation, secondary data analysis, content analysis and comparative

Phase 1: Literature and theoretical overview:

The field of artist residency programs, although a one with a long history, was rarely a
subject of research among scholars and academics in Serbia, which is why this thesis will be
mostly relying on literature of foreign authors. At the same time, this creates a unique
opportunity to explore the field on which not much was written in Serbia and, hopefully, induce
experts and students to write about this rather important and exciting ways of creating
possibilities for artists, curators, decentralization, creating of cultural content in rural areas,
education, as well as artistic and local communities in general. Additionally, large part of the
literature I will be using will be comprised of reports, publications by authors that are part of a
large global network of artist residency programs, as well as other scholars papers on residency

Phase 2: Desk and field research

a) Analysis of legal framework for financially supporting artist residencies in Serbia and
other countries;

b) Institutional analysis of network of professional bodies committed to supporting

contemporary art in Serbia

c) Field research semi-structured interviews with organizers, previous participants, locals,


d) Case studies five art colonies on the territory of Serbia. The criteria for selection:
diversity in art disciplines - from painting, ceramics to photography;
years of existence - from the oldest in the Balkans to the latest one;
location - art colonies based in rural areas of eastern, central and southern Serbia;
already established structure.

e) Focus group - 8 to 10 participants, answering to the question on ideas for
improvement of existing models of art colonies. Participants will include:
former participants
potential participants

Phase 3: Analysis of the data - Content analysis, institutional analysis and comparison of the data

Phase 4: Interpretation of empirical data

Phase 5: Recommendations

Potential limitations of this paper refer to the restricted amount of professional literature,
especially in Serbian language, as well as the number of case studies included and analyzed in the
thesis. I am completely aware that five examples are not enough to create general conclusions
about one whole field, but I hope that my paper will also contribute to further research in this

III Historical and Socio-Cultural Background of Artist Residencies

3.1 Early Development

Artists gathering and uniting was a very often practice during the 19th century. The reasons
were numerous usually for protesting against academic clichs, as well as for the desire to come
back to nature and the original life in rurality4. Collective art practices can be traced back to
avant-garde and neo avant-garde movements such as Futurism, Dada and the Situationists5 when
20th century artists shifted their focus more on process and interaction rather than the sole
production of the work. However, the difficulty of tracing the beginnings of artist residencies
becomes evident here due to the fact that these concepts have not been recognized at the time as
initiatives worth mentioning specially nor being titled. For this reason, multiple sources and
researches disagree on its roots timeframes. According to Verena Htter, first artist residency
occurred as far as in 1666 when the French Acadmie royale de peinture et de sculpture awarded
French painters, etchers, sculptors, architects and composers with fellowships for several years
lasting residency in Rome6. However, first official evidence of artists participating in what we
recognize now as artist-in-residence program dates all the way to 1884 and the participation of
Lydia Shackleton, an Irish botanical artist7 that had spent several years in Dublin. Period between
1830 and 1910 was especially interesting because of the growing cases all over the world of
artists leaving the established centers of art production and replacing them for the life and work
in the countryside and by 1900, eleven European states harbored accommodated between them
more than 80 rural art colonies8. This change was unprecedented in the history of Western art.
These artists spent at least one or more seasons in these locations which, as a result, became
popular tourist attractions. These practices reached their heyday between 1870 and 1910 when

Miljkovi, L., Todorovi, M., Kosti, R., Vukainovi, S., Devi, V., & Anelkovi, M. (2014). Likovna kolonija
Sievo: 1905-1964-2014. Ni: Galerija savremene likovne umetnosti Ni, pg. 11
Hewlett, R., & Strokosch, C. (2007). Artist Collectives and the Changing Landscape of Residencies. 13(1).
Providence, USA.
Htter, V. (n.d.). History of the Artist Villas. Retrieved June 15, 2017, from Goethe Institut:
Nelson, E. Charles (1998). "A Garden of Bright Images: Art Treasures at Glasnevin" (PDF). Irish Arts Review. pp.
4151. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2017.
Lbbren, N. (2001). Rural Artists' Colonies in Europe 1870-1910. Manchester University Press.

over two thirds of all art colonies were established. One of the crucial reasons for this expansion
of artist mobility was, among others, an answer to the hugely and fast growing industrialization
and urbanization. Although colonies had an individual and arbitrary program, each one of them
was equal and the same in the communal aspect. Lbbren (2001) describes it as almost utopian:

Artists lived, worked, dined, sang and played together; they organized
communal picnics and parties [] and, of course, they painted together, looked
at each others pictures and talked a great deal about art. [] In artists
villages, sociability and artistic production were closely intertwined.

With the beginning of the 20th century, these practices became more often, especially in the
United States and the United Kingdom, when art-loving benefactors as new types of patrons
began offering their guest houses to individual artists who would spend certain amount of time in
these places, focused on producing their art. At the same time, artists themselves began
organizing and taking the role of cultural managers. In 1900, The Corporation of Yaddo together
with the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in 1902 in New York, established an art colony that was
exclusively run by artists who made their own rules and where the sense of community was
highly valued and emphasized. Only few years after Lydia Shackleton arrived to her residential
program, an art colony in the small village of Worpswede near Bremen, Germany was founded
by the artists Heinrich Vogeler and Rainer Maria Rilke. The colony became so popular that the
village became known as Weltdorf (world village). In 1971, the colonys organizers recognized
the need to improve, at the time, estimated model as the outdated, which resulted in establishing
Knstlerhuser Worpswede9, today one of the biggest residential centers. This way, the tradition
was kept and protected, without refusing to accept the needs of the market and circumstances at
the time.

At the same time, the beginning of the 20th century in Serbia (officially Kingdom of Serbia at
the time) was, when it comes to the art world, marked by the First Yugoslav Art Exhibition in
September 1904 that took place at the house of Mita Petrovi, father of Nadeda Petrovi, one of
the most important Serbian painters. Although authors differ on this topic, according to Katarina


Ambrozi, the idea of the Yugoslav art colony was conceived at the exhibition and officially
started working from the following year10. The location for the oldest art colony in the Balkans
was chosen to be Sievo, the village close to Ni, the biggest city in the southern Serbia. Its
founder, Nadeda Petrovi, chose the location for personal reasons. Only three decades earlier,
Ni was liberated from the Turks and slowly began losing the caracter and appearance of the
turkish mahala, focusing on building its own history of the civil society embodied in establishing
institutions, opening private factories, bancs, hotels etc11. The fast expantion of this history
packed, culturally rich area, personal reasons as well as the undoubtedly strong patriotism that
eventually even led her to have an important role in the Balkan wars as the nurse for Serbian
soldiers, drew Nadeda to choose this particular location for the colony. The colony gathered
artists, mostly painters and sculptors, which were, at the time, two most popular art disciplines.
The only art colony in Serbia worked for two months in 1905, after what authors disagree on the
existance of the colony in the next two years. In any case, constant confrontation with the
members of LADA12, annexation of Bosnia and Hertzegovina (1908) as well as the World War I,
all led to the break of the colony. This break continued for 59 years for political, as well as
idealogical reasons until 1964 when it was reestablished under the umbrella of National museum
of Ni.

3.2 The Rise of Art Colonies: 1950s

During the half century break in organized gathering of artists in Serbia, there were no
similar initiatives being launched or continued, except for the First autumn exhibition of the
association in 1937 when the idea for creating a colony fund ura Jaki was suggested13. The

Ambrozi, Katarina: Prva jugoslovenska umetnika kolonija, in: Zbornik radova Narodnog muzeja 1956/57-I,
Beograd 1958, pg. 262
Miljkovi, L., Todorovi, M., Kosti, R., Vukainovi, S., Devi, V., & Anelkovi, M. (2014). Likovna kolonija
Sievo: 1905-1964-2014. Ni: Galerija savremene likovne umetnosti Ni, pg. 25
The Union of Yugoslav Artists LADA was founded in Belgrade in 1904 by number of artists, including Nadeda
Petrovi, under the idea of uniting all south Slavs with the center of the union in four major cities Belgrade,
Zagreb, Ljubljana and Sofia.
Miljkovi, L., Todorovi, M., Kosti, R., Vukainovi, S., Devi, V., & Anelkovi, M. (2014). Likovna kolonija
Sievo: 1905-1964-2014. Ni: Galerija savremene likovne umetnosti Ni, pg. 27

idea was supposed to support the work of young artists facing difficult financial situations.
However, the hoped solidarity never succeeded in this form. Only after World War II, more
precisely since 1950 in the newly created socialist regime, did the recognition and importance of
art colonies again come into the picture. Although this strategy in cultural policy was copied from
Stalins model of culture in the former USSR, this period is short lived, after which in 1953
Serbia faced period of Democracy in Culture that lasted until 197414. This phase was
characterized by two different and parallel directions: first one, still under strong state and
ideological control and the second one, dynamic and artistically free. Beginning of 1950s was the
era of art colonies reaching their peak at large number of places, especially in villages had
established their own colonies. Initially there was the gathering of painters in Ilok, at the Fruka
gora farm (1951), in Senta (1952), Baka Topola (1953), Eka (1956), Deani (1958) etc. The
model in all of these colonies was the same they were mostly organized by local bodies like
city galleries, libraries or House of Culture, artists were then invited to an already chosen
location, they would be provided with accommodation and all necessary working conditions and
materials, while in return, they would be obliged to leave their artworks to the organizers and the

After the initial breakthrough of art colonies, they became one of the most common practices
when it comes to artistic production and mobility. Right after this first wave of colonies, the
transition to 1970s brought diversity in art forms and artistic expression in general. Festivals were
being established, municipal cultural institutions, while at the same time, many artists suffered
sanctions as a response to major political pressure that, although not part of the official policy at
the time, still very present ideologically. Reasons for this sudden expansion of art colonies across
Serbia and Yugoslavia can be found in social circumstances of the time. Since its beginnings,
colonies have always had an educational, as well as social and political context (especially
obvious in the example of Sievo art colony), which went hand in hand with the socialist society
which was focused on city centers and urban areas. This expansion was a useful tool for creating
cultural content in less populated areas and it proved to be a rather good solution. This way, the
cultural content between provincial and urban parts of the country was developing towards

Dragievi-ei, M., Miki, H., & Tomka, G. (2015, August 14). Serbia/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural
policies and instruments. Retrieved June 22, 2017 from Compendium: Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe:

uniformity and in reality, many provincial places, thanks to these colonies, became included in
contemporary artistic trends and the locals felt more like global citizens.

3.3 Art Colonies Today: An Old Concept?

Although many art colonies have been closed due to financial difficulties, many are still
working on a regular basis for several decades. However, the last wave of establishing new art
colonies seems to have ceased in the 1980s. Even though there is no official record of currently
working art colonies in Serbia since there has never been conducted a comprehensive research or
created a detailed and accurate database, the only document that tackled this issue, a publication
created as part of the Open call of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia Art Colonies
in Serbia states that this number is more than 200. The difficulty with determining the official
number of art colonies is the fact that almost none of the existing and currently working colonies
have any online visibility and the only available information can be obtained based on media
reports and coverage.

The Ministry of Culture has for the first time in 2002 opened a profiled call for art colonies
in 2002, and since 2003 it functions within the annual call of the Sector for contemporary art,
cultural industry and cultural relations (the contest for the co-financing of projects or programs
which contribute to the development and presentation of art and culture) and relates to art
colonies production for the period of one calendar year15. After more than a decade of the
countrys isolation, dictatorship and economic instability, in 2001 Serbia gets its first democratic
government and its cultural policy began shifting towards reforms of the main national cultural
institutions and the public sector in general, demanding the introduction of new managerial and
marketing techniques (Dragievi-ei, Miki, & Tomka, 2015). In the following period,
Serbian cultural policy has experienced numerous changes in political power, but as well as in its
priorities. Although the focus during this period was oriented towards decentralization,
stimulation of market, multiculturalism, reconnecting with neighbor countries, as well as

Tadi, D., Gruden, M., & Prohaska-Markovi, M. (2009). Art Colonies in Serbia. Belgrade: Udruenje graana
Anonymous said:. pg. 9-10.

harmonization with EU standards, not many of the planned objectives were accomplished. In the
meantime, Minister of Culture has changed several times and this inconsistency and constant
change, influenced the current state of affairs where there is no clear vision on what strategy for
development of culture should be and, even though the draft document of the plan for culture
until 2027 finally became public, its main tone is still too vague. However, in the part that
describes future objectives in the field of contemporary art the draft correctly assumes and
proposes the support of artists through residential programs, encourages artists mobility,
specialization of cultural operators and, more specifically, when it comes to visual art,
reconceptualization of art colonies and their networking16. However, throughout the whole draft
of the document there are no implications about how these objectives are planned to be executed.

On the European level, the importance and significance of artistic mobility has been
recognized as part of European Agenda for Culture of 16 November 2007. The document,
amongst its other objectives, advocates the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural
dialogue as well as the promotion of culture as a vital element in the Unions international
relations17. These objectives regarding culture are also in line with the Europe 2020 strategy18.
Active promotion on these objectives fosters and is in response to values of European Union,
which is where the importance of artists residency program lays in and is crucial in this context.
Artists mobility continued to be a policy priority also under the Council Work Plan for Culture

Still, the fact is that current models of art colonies do not respond to the needs of
contemporary art and that while residential programs are definitely prevailing in this battle, the
question that needs to be answered is is there any actual difference between the two?

a 2017. 2027. (2017, May 30). Retrieved June 23, 2017,
from o : http://www.kultura.gov.rs/docs/dokumenti/nacrt-strategije-razvoja-
The Council of the European Union. (2007, November 29). Resolution of the Council of 16 November 2007 on a
European Agenda for Culture. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from EUR-Lex: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
European Commission. (2010, March 3). EUROPE 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and
inclusive growth. Retrieved June 29, 2017, from European Commission:

IV Art Colonies vs. Artist Residencies

Before the beginning of this research, the idea of art colonies as an outdated model of artist
residency programs was for me an undisputed fact. Art colonies, in the form I knew them, were a
concept where artists from any discipline (mostly painting) would, for a certain amount of time,
leave the working environment they were used to and produce their art in a different location,
where accommodation, food and work material would be provided by the organizer. Artist
residency programs offer the same concept mobility of artists and all working conditions
provided during an already established timeframe. However, the more the research started
becoming detailed and thorough, the more interviews I have done, the more contradictory data
among the interviewees was gathered. While some interviewees were certain in the notion that art
colonies and artist residency programs are one concept under two names, others were
undisputedly convinced in the opposite. Since this issue was never a subject of comparison in
academic literature20, these two terms needed further analysis. Historically, as explained above,
many examples of what would be recognized today as artist residency program was entitled and
named differently. For example, in fourteenth century in Europe, art centers, especially
printmaking workshops, were very popular among artists. Although called workshops and not
residencies, the artists were staying at a specific location for a several weeks and sometimes
months, creating artworks and gaining knowledge21. These types of programs continued growing
and rising all over the world and, by 1970 in California, United States of America, the Xerox
company Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) designed the Artist-in-Residence Program (PAIR).

At the same time, in few electronic sources that deal with topic, the term artist-in-residence
program is often, intentionally or not, used as substitution for term art colony. Platform
TransArtist, one of the first global platforms for development of artist residencies, states that one
of the beginnings of residency programs was the early 20th century, providing as an example the
artists colony at Worpswede. TransArtist also provides the biggest online database, with more
than 1400 residency opportunities, including art colonies. However, in an interview with Bojana

This conclusion is based on desk research, as well as all library research that was available.
Vargas de Freitas Matias, R. (2014). International Artists-in-Residence 1990-2010: Mobility, Technology and
Identity in Everyday Art Practices (Doctoral dissertation, University of Jyvskyl, Jyvskyl, Finland). Retrieved
from https://jyx.jyu.fi/dspace/handle/123456789/52174

Panevska, TransArtists main editor, she stated that the only reason art colonies are still accepted
in TransArtists database is due to disagreements among staff on whether the two concepts are
identical or not (B. Panevska, June 13, 2017, Skype interview). This pattern continues among
most professionals in the field, authors, as well as cultural operators. This can be contributed to
the fact that the official definition of the two terms was never created. Below are some of the
most prominent and widely accepted interpretations of the term artist residency or artist-in-

Res Artis, a worldwide network of artists residencies, recognizes the fluidity of the concept
and its fast expansion. Still, it provides core principles that are crucial for the definition of artist
residency. Their understanding of the term is a wider one, taking into consideration global
context such as their role in bridging mechanisms between different arts disciplines and non-arts
sectors, tools for inter-cultural understanding and capacity building, catalysts for global mobility
and important contributors to cultural policy and cultural diplomacy22.

According to Wikipedia, artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities

exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and
space away from their usual environment and obligations23.

For Jean-Baptiste Joly, director of Schloss Solitude, artist residency programs aim to provide
time without quality24 which we could also define as unconditional time, while The Alliance of
Artists Communities defines artist residencies as time and space for artists and other creative
individuals to work during a period from one week to several years25.

In 2014, OMC working group of the European Commission created a Policy Handbook on
Artists Residencies with the aim of identifying certain residency models to help policy-makers,
funders, but also organizations and artists to understand better what residencies can cover.
Authors of the Handbook state that artists residencies provide artists and other creative

Res Artis. (n.d.). Definition of Artist Residencies. Retrieved July 10, 2017, from Res Artis:
Artist-in-residence. (2016, September). Retrieved July 10, 2017, from Wikipedia:
Time without quality is a reference to Musils novel.
Alliance of Artists Communities. (n.d.). Residencies. Retrieved July 10, 2017, from Alliance of Artists
Communities: http://www.artistcommunities.org/residencies

professionals with time, space and resources to work, individually or collectively, on areas of
their practice that reward heightened reflection or focus26.

On the other hand, there are only few definitions of the term art colony. Wikipedia states that
an art colony or artists colony is a place where creative practitioners live and interact with one
another, while Xamou art concludes that an art colony, also called artist colony or artists colony,
is a place where creative people live and exchange ideas with one another. The participating
artists are often invited or selected through a formal process and stay for a residency27.

Helene Larsson, former Cultural Counselor at the Embassy of Sweden in Belgrade sees the
difference between the two very distinctively, explaining that the term residency means a
temporary studio residence for artists in a place (usually abroad) specially provided for this
purpose. Artist in residence refers both to a location and a process of creation. In the residencies
the artists adapt the programs to their own needs quite different from most art colonies in the
western Balkans that encompass artists more tied to a certain branch of art or craft, and for a
certain period of the year (Larsson, 2012).

Taking into account all listed examples above and in the figure below, all definitions of the
terms artist residency and art colony have in common:

Artists and creative professionals as participants

Selection process during which participants are chosen
Predefined location
Duration of the residency/colony varies

OMC Working Group on Artists' Residencies. (2014). Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies. In O. W.
Residencies, Types of artists residencies (pp. 9). European Union.
Art colony. (2016, October). Retrieved July 10, 2017, from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artist-in-

Figure 1. Artist Residency vs. Art Colony

On the other hand, the differences that seems to repeat are that participants of artist residency
programs have the freedom of adapting program and its activities completely to their own needs,
while art colonies participants usually live and interact with one another. This means that art
colony, due to the historical and sociological circumstances and reasons in which it was founded,
requires a sense of community. For artist residency, there is no such requirement, and even one
participant can be considered part of a valid and successful residency program. Additional
differences that are often recognized are:

Artist residence last longer

Artist residencies cover various disciplines
Artist residences can raise awareness of certain causes and create cross-sectorial linkage,
such as ecology and arts or education and art
Artist residencies are more experimental

As it can be seem from above, although artist residencies seem as a modern and
contemporary practice, their basis and core idea is the same as art colonies. This is why the most
accurate way of interpreting the relation between two terms is that artist residencies are the
upgraded and advanced model of art colonies. Art colonies cannot be interpreted any differently
than as artist residencys forerunner that set the basis for residencies. Why are then the two terms
understood as complete opposites? The reason for this can be traced in the lack of knowledge on
historical and organizational background of the two terms.

Artist residencies were, in the beginning, a very simple model where the only two criteria
were a certain residency or location (studio or a house) and a duration that varied from several
days to several weeks. Since then, this concept has unexpectedly grown and developed so that
today artists can go to a one year residency program, or experience extreme residencies such as
Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, founded with the goal of understanding and documenting
America's Antarctic heritage through art and writing28. Residential programs today are not only
focused solely to the production of an artwork instead, the emphasis is also on raising
awareness of certain causes and creating cross-sectorial linkage, such as ecology and arts or
education and art. An excellent example of this type of initiative is Recology San Franciscos
Artist in Residence program29 created in 1990 that provides artists access to discarded materials
from the community which they later use as a working material. The idea behind the four month
long residency is to encourage the reuse of materials, through educational workshops to teach the
public how to recycle, as well as use art as a tool for social change.

Just like artist residencies have developed from a very traditional understanding of artist
mobility, the same interpretation can be used to compare art colonies. Since all the existing data
show the term art colony appearing either before the term artist residency, or in the same context,
as synonyms, the conclusion can be made that the two terms represent two versions of the same
concept - one traditional and other more advanced. Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies
equals the two terms, providing as an example of interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial residencies
a Lithuanian Nida Art Colony that combines artistic, curatorial and educational processes30. The
differences shown above only contribute to the fact that art colonies have obtained the traditional

National Science Foundation. (n.d.). Antarctic Artists & Writers Program Past Participants. Retrieved June 27,
2017, from National Science Foundation: https://www.nsf.gov/geo/opp/aawr.jsp
Recology. (n.d.). The Art of Recology. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from Recology:
OMC working group of the European Commission. (December, 2014). Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies.
The European Commission.

understanding of residential programs while artist-in-residence has, several years ago, been
adopted as an official term used in international funds and grant while art colonies became
extinguished as a used term almost everywhere in the world except for the Balkans where this
tradition is still very strong. This is why art colonies are in desperate need for evaluation, analysis
and advancement, so that it could keep up with contemporary trends and respond to what artist
residency today represents.

4.1 Types of Residency Programs

Since its humble beginnings, artist residency programs have come a long way. Today, they
are one of the crucial tools in supporting artist mobility, questioning fixed concepts and setting
new trends in contemporary art. Artist residencies experiment with its basic model, even taking
the concept to extremes, such as residencies in the desert, abandoned island or one day long
residencies. However, residencies have even begun questioning the traditional norms such as
visual arts, there is a strong tendency towards other art fields, cross-disciplinary and cross-sector
residencies - creating residencies for scientists, researches from numerous fields and even sport.
This tendency broadens the scope and form of residencies in general. Therefore, categorization of
residencies is needed, and Policy Handbook on Artists Residencies provides seven models31:

1) The classic residency model

Governments and funds almost everywhere in the world invest in residency institutions.
These organizations are usually well-established and recognized in the art world. As an additional
program, this model offers exhibitions, open doors, meetings, while the priority and focus is on
artistic development and/or the development of art work. Participants (residents) can profit from
visits from curators, programmers and collectors, attracted by the reputation of the institution or

OMC Working Group on Artists' Residencies. (2014). Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies. In O. W.
Residencies, Types of artists residencies (pp. 17-24). European Union.

invited by the organization, ideally chosen to match with the profile of the artist. This is why this
model is often considered as a hub for artistic and creative encounter and exchange.

2) Residencies connected with art institutions and festivals

These residencies are located within a contemporary art center or institution and therefore
profit from the closeness of an active arts environment with its professional management,
promotion, an established audience and interested visitors and participants. Another opportunity
is getting involved in discussions and getting feedback from the experts, community and the
general public. This is the case with most art colonies in Serbia.

3) Artist-led residency centers

Since artists are the founders of this type of residencies, their personal idea and priorities is
what the program will be based on. They can be small scale to large scale organizations, usually
very well connected to the art scene. Due to the fact that the artists themselves are the organizers,
their residencies often have a very clear idea, as well as a focus on a specific discipline and
program. This is the case with Art Colony Zlakusa in Serbia, focused on promoting artistic
ceramics using traditional techniques of production.

4) Research-based residencies

Residents in this model use the process of research to create the experience of the residency.
Depending on the gained content and potential conclusions of the research, residents sometimes
also create solutions and alternative approaches to the issues arising from that research.

5) Thematic residencies

This type of residencies takes into account various approaches, but the mutual aspect in all of
those approaches is that the purpose of the residency is beyond artistic development alone. Artists

are asked to contribute to a common theme, such as celebrating a particular heritage or regional

6) Production-based residencies

These residencies put the emphasis exclusively on the practical realization of an idea or
project. Organization behind the programs is obliged to prepare and offer infrastructure, material
and all the necessary elements. Many of the discipline-specific residencies are in this category.

7) Interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial residencies

This model is currently one of the trends in residency models. The growing number of these
residencies shows the importance of interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial collaboration, artists
working with experts in fields other than art, creating partnerships and producing work that
engages bigger audiences.

Aside from this categorization, another division of artist residencies could be proposed based
on different criteria. In fact, these types of residencies could provide a more distinctive overview
on residencies in general. This typology is based on five criteria:

Existence of participation fee
Requirement of tangible outcome

When it comes to duration of the residency, the preferred timeframe differs based on the
discipline. Residencies for writers often require more time due to the nature of the work, while
others, like fine art residencies could require far less time. Residencies today usually last from
several weeks to three or six months. Due to the immigration/visa policy, international artists are

unable to stay at a residency more than three months. In the case of art colonies, the unwritten
rule is that the duration does not pass a two week period.

In the case of discipline in focus, in the beginning, residencies had a tendency of focusing its
activities only on one discipline, mostly painting. Today, this is no longer the case and, except for
art colonies, the majority of residencies choses another discipline(s) as their priority.

As already mentioned several times before, rural areas were places of birth for residency
programs for multiple reasons escape from urbanization as one of the major factors. Location
is a very important factor in organizing residencies that can influence not only the environmental
factors, but the whole programming of the residency. Today, only about 60 percent of residency
programs are actually being held in the rurality, while the rest is mostly urban areas, with few
percent focused on extreme locations.

Recently, as artist residency popularity began growing and several residential programs
became important on the global art scene, some of the organizers began introducing
participation fee for its residents. This way, artists would pay for their stay in the residency,
while organizers would provide material and accommodation for them. This can be a great
strategy for reaching sustainability. However, only few residencies managed to do this and, in
order for a residency to arrive to this level, it needs to provide extremely well conditions,
program that makes them stand out and, obviously, a good marketing and PR.

All art colonies have, as one of the requirements, an obligation for residents to leave a
tangible evidence of participation in the form of an artwork. This way, a valuable collection
can be created and the residency could even make a profit. Todays residencies seem to exclude
this requirement. This is mostly due to the diversity in disciplines, such as writing.

V Crisis of the Rural

While tendencies around the world, especially in the West, show return to villages and rural
way of life, in Serbia the crisis of the rural is still present. However, this crisis is not a result of
recent development. As uki-Dojinovi (1997) states, while in Yugoslavian countries the
focus was on abolition of differences between the countryside and cities, western countries
already began their process of returning to the rural. The delay in recognizing the value of the
rural, prejudice that comes with the rural culture and, at the same time, pursuit for better life that,
impoverished villages could not provide anymore, all led to general abandoned of the rural areas
in Serbia. Today, Serbian villages are almost forgotten, among its inhabitants there are rarely
young families and the infrastructure has not been repaired for decades. Most rural households
(73 percent) have only one source of income, and in seventy percent of cases, their only source of
income is pension32. Young people, in their understandable chase for opportunities, education
and jobs, leave their native villages and move to larger urban areas. In these circumstances, there
is no space and option for young or older generations to live and fulfill their ambitions.
Understandably, offer of cultural content in most cases became inexistent with houses of culture,
legacies of past times, closing down due to insufficient number of audience, as well as
professional staff. These former cultural spaces will became symbols of a non-functioning
society, unfulfilled promises of decentralization of culture and, for many, nostalgia for old times.

In Serbia, around forty percent of total population lives in the countryside33, while favorite
activites among population of Serbia are those free of charge and usually in the private domain.
Additionally, in their spare time, citizens of Serbia do not prefer cultural activities. In fact, not
one art related activity (except for watching movies and practicing art) is not among the first
eighteen most popular answers34. According to the research Cultural needs, habits and taste of
citizens of Serbia and Macedonia, rural population stated three reasons for not participating in

Tanjug. (2016, December 26). ISTRAIVANJE: Stari ljudi na selu jedva sastavljaju kraj sa krajem. Retrieved July
2, 2017, from Blic: http://www.blic.rs/vesti/drustvo/istrazivanje-stari-ljudi-na-selu-jedva-sastavljaju-kraj-sa-
. (2016, July 27). 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2017, from Popis 2011:
Cvetianin, P. (2007). Cultural Needs, Habits and Taste of Citizens of Serbia and Macedonia. Ni: Committee for
Civic Initiative.

cultural activities: lack of money, lack of time, non-existence of cultural events. Accordingly, the
third problem could easily be solved with bigger presence of cultural content in these areas,
which should be part of the strategy for culture and its decentralization. If these statistics are
compared to answers the youth in the 1960s gave, when migrations to urban areas were one of
the largest of that time, as a third most provided reason for leaving the rural area was poor
accessibility of cultural and social attainments and sources for leisure in the countryside (uki-
Dojinovi, 1997). This implies that the socialist idea behind houses of culture, created with
the intention of providing cultural content for inhabitants of the rural area, was not as successful
project as it was initially planned to be. The quality and creativity of the services was obviously
not good enough or not complementary with the actual needs of rural inhabitants. Therefore,
future strategies of audience development for rural inhabitants need to be more creative, which
places residential programs in great position as a potential in bringing new audiences where they
once were35.

Potentials for developing artist residency programs in rural areas are numerous:
Audience development
Creating cultural content
Cultural tourism
Cultural diplomacy
Intercultural dialogue
Support for artist production
Support in decentralization of culture
Development of local communities
Repairing and/or providing new infrastructure
Art education
Potential for combining different fields with art, such as craft
Opportunity for employment

Unfortunately, none of these elements are currently being recognized by the local and state
government as strategically excellent starting points and ideas for development. However, neither

uki-Dojinovi, V. (2010). Drava i kultura. Beograd: Fakultet dramskih umetnosti.

the organizers are completely aware of the enormous potential advantages. Reasons for this are
multiple most of art colonies that take place in rural Serbia are founded and supported by the
state, more specifically, local authorities who have the ownership over institutions like local
libraries, cultural centers or schools. Employees responsible for organizing the residential
programs or art colonies are the same professionals working on a daily basis on a regular
program assigned for these institutions, which places them in a position of constant struggle for
balancing their regular activities with an important event such as a residential program. Number
of employers working on these positions is insufficient or inadequate for the appointed position,
while the one who are responsible for the program usually do not have enough managerial skills
or, in some cases, general interest in the program. This aggravates the situation even more since
the initial enthusiasm is already non-existing, which influences the way programs are being
executed. Furthermore, salaries for which employees are working on their positions are often
very low, which is often a reason for the lack of additional effort. Moreover, a constant struggle
with finding funding further encumbers the already difficult situation. The paradoxical situation
in which these programs are finding themselves in is the fact that they are, in most cases, state
funded which should provide, in some way, a certain stability. However, even though several art
colonies are assigned funds from the Ministry of Culture and Information, the amount provided
does not respond to the actual needs of the program. When it comes to funding on the local level,
the understanding of local officials usually depends on private contacts, current political party in
power and numerous other political factors, creating another type of insecurity and instability.
However, apart from the obvious obstacles standing in the way of completely reorganizing
current very traditional models of these art colonies, numerous changes and adjustments could be
performed without requiring almost no financial help. However, in order for these changes to be
implemented, professional staff is in urgent need for additional managerial education and
knowledge. These recommendations will be further analyzed in the paper.

VI Case Study Analysis

In order to achieve thorough understanding about the conditions and work methods of
residential programs in rural Serbia, five case studies of rural based art colonies will be presented.
Criteria for specifically choosing these five colonies were:

Diversity in art disciplines - from painting, ceramics to photography;

Years of existence - from the oldest in the Balkans to the latest one;
Location - art colonies based in rural areas of western, central and southern Serbia;
Already established structure.

After the initial mapping of the colonies, next task is

undertaking an in-depth analysis of their functioning,
human resources analysis, marketing analysis, financial
state, current organizational models, locating flaws and
potential places for improvement and, eventually,
providing recommendations in order for these colonies to
reach stability, sustainability and their full potential.

Art colonies chosen for case studies are Art Colony in

Jalovik, located in the north-west of Serbia, focusing on
multiple art disciplines; International colony of artistic
ceramic work Zlakusa (west Serbia); Fine art colony
Figure V.1 Mapping of Art Colonies in rural Serbia
Sicevo (south-east Serbia), painting is the primary art
discipline; Art colony in Lipovac (central Serbia), mostly painting; and Photo colony in Orlovat
(north-east Serbia), established three years ago.

6.1 Art Colony of Jalovik

The village of Jalovik is situated in the municipality of Vladimirci, on the north-west part of
Serbia. The village is divided into ten smaller villages: Bukovica 1 and 2, Mandii, Obrenovii-
Vidakovii, olii, Gajii-Kekei, elije, Prnjavor, Velika Bara and Gomilica. According to the
2002 census, the population of the village is 1.950. Jalovik has a long and historically interesting
background ever since the middle ages, when the neighbor town of Debrc was king Dragutins
capital, a testimony remained about the monastery elije in Jalovik, where the king would often
come with his suite to rest and find peace36. The village has a church consecrated to the apostle
and evangelist Luke. However, written documents of the village show existence of two wooden
churches, dating back to 1715 and 1725. The first constructed church was built in 1860 by twelve
villages in this region on the demand of Milo Obrenovi. On its foundations, the current church
was built in 1938 which was preserved in a very good condition, while the interior is adorned
with beautiful icons on the iconostasis, made by the painter and chorister Pavle Aksentijevi, and
frescoes in the alter made by the Ukrainian painter Jure Maticev.

6.1.1 General Overview

In a place with this historical background, the art colony was founded in 1978, in the days of
the last remains of self-management socialism when many of the facilities in the villages, such as
those owned by agricultural cooperatives and centers of culture that in those days existed in
almost every village, were already losing their purpose (Nikoli, 2012). The habit of organizing
events at those facilities, as previously it were movie screenings, manifestations of sorts, dance
parties, became a reason for the locals, Milovan uji and Zoran Simi, to establish an art colony
with the goal of gathering artists from Yugoslavia, as well as from abroad. Until the middle of the
1990s, as part of the colonys goal of creating a village-gallery, artists were hosted in the local
households, while today their accommodation became facility of the former agricultural
cooperative in the village of Jalovik. Since its founding in 1978, the colony has had almost

Nikoli, B. (2012). Istorijat Jalovika. In Jalovika likovna kolonija: 1978-2011. (pp. 13). Vladimirci: Biblioteka
"Dia Ati".

regular financial support from the Ministry of Culture and municipality Vladimirci, although this
support varies depending on political circumstances and overall understanding of decision makers
on the importance of this initiative. Jalovik Art colony is one of the main projects of culture and
art in yearly programs of the Dia Ati Library in Vladimirci, under whose jurisdiction is to
this day the organization of the Colony. The foundation document of the Colony contains crucial
guidelines for its work as well as its purpose of bringing together artists from the whole world
and creating permanent collection in the gallery of the Colony situated in the village, trying to
obtain the crucial goal of transforming the village into a village-gallery, entailing that almost
every house in the village has an artwork37. This document also writes that every artwork must be
registered, entered into catalogue and archived in Dia Ati Library. Fundus of artworks for the
gallery in Jalovik and for the households is collected by each artist leaving two art pieces, one for
the gallery and another one for the household in which the artist has been hosted in. This artwork
given to the household cannot be given away outside the household or their relatives. This rule
was created as a strategy of raising awareness of the importance of art, creating the habit of living
around art and, at the same time, a form of indirect education. For almost forty years since its
founding, today every family in the village has at least one artwork in their home, while some
households even have small art collections.

The line of development of Jalovik Art Colony can be divided into three major phases: first
one started with the establishment period and until 1985, when its then selector was Stevan
Stani, famous journalist and art connoisseur. This was a period of creating as favourable
conditions for work of the Colony as possible and its recognition in the village and the region.
Since the village is one of the biggest in Serbia, the artists would gather each year in a different
part of the village, covering the whole village and every household after several years.

Second phase of Colony development was during the time of Kosta Bogdanovi as its
selector (1985-2002). Bogdanovi was a sculptor, art historian and curator. In seventeen years
time, the special focus was on the choise of artists for the Colony, with the goal of raising the
quality of artistic production, such as Omikus spouses, Bojan Bem, Nea Paripovi, Mran

Bogdanovi, K. (2012). Selo-galerija ili strategija jednog programa. In Jalovika likovna kolonija: 1978-2011. (pp.
7-8). Vladimirci: Biblioteka "Dia Ati".

Baji and many others. This step was taken in order to create continuity with contemporary art

Third phase in the development of Jalovik Art Colony, lasting until today, starts with 2002,
when the selector position is taken over by Branislav Nikoli, painter, sculptor and designer. His
leadership is significant for insisting on diversity in art media. In few years, Nikoli has
transformed the colony into a significant stop, especially for young and emerging artists in
Serbia. Nikoli made the colony virtually and media visible, becoming one of the few colonies
with an online presence38.

Figure 2 Art installation in exhibition spaces of Jalovik Art Colony

Art gallery in Jalovik is named Zoran Simi, after one of the Colonys founders. The
gallery is located in the premises of Jaloviks Cultural Center and it has an extraodinary fundus of
more than 700 artworks. However, the archiving of artworks is each year becoming a bigger
problem due to the bad conditions of the facility. In the lifetime of Milovan uji, one of the
founders, the colony had two parallel programs first one during May, when artists would


exclusively work on their sculptures and the second one in August, reserved for painting only.
This is why, until his death in 1998, over a dozen of sculptures for public spaces were done
spaces in front of the main Post Office building, Water Management main office and Diary in the
city of abac, twenty kilometers away. The bust of Milovan Glii is placed in front of the library
in Vladimirci and the memorial to Vuk Karadi, on the occasion of 200th anniversary of his
birth, at the entrace of Jalovik. A number of these sculptures can be found in the sculpture park in
front of Jalovik School and several crossings in the village.

6.1.2 Organizational Structure of Jalovik Art Colony

Jalovik Art Colony, since its founding in 1978, has been happening every summer during
August for ten consecutive days. The number of artists participating in the colony varies and
depends on the financial support the organizers are provided with. Therefore, the minimum
number is never secure while the maximum number now, when the accommodation conditions
have changed, is not more than twelve. Until 1990s, all participating artists were hosted in the
local households where the locals would prepare food, accommodation and outside space for
work. This way, artists would easily integrate into the community, have a better understanding of
the rural lifestyle and have a direct interaction with locals. However, as the whole country
suffered major economic and political changes during 1990s, this affected rural areas especially
and, adding to the already common practice of young people leaving their birthplaces in the
search for a better life in the urban areas, rural places in Serbia were left impoverished and
abandoned. This had a major influence and impact on the course of the Colony and its initial goal
of transforming the village into a gallery. Now the locals lost the enthusiasm to host artists since
their dignity does not allow them to accept monetary compensation for all necessary services and,
with most of the households today being in very bad conditions, they do not feel comfortable
participating in the program. However, locals are always more than welcoming to the Colonys
residents, with the event now taking place at the facilities of the Cultural Center in the village
center. This building was built during 1940s and it belongs to the municipality of Vladimirci.
Ever since, the building has had only few repairs and since 1990s the building unplanningly had
to be readjusted for accommodation purposes as well. Additionally, the municipality never
officially supported the colonys usage of the space, leaving them in a difficult situation for many

years now. The building is currently in a very bad condition and the municipality refuses to repair
the facilities since no one except for the library and colony is using it and decision makers see no
benefit in supporting it. Former offices are transformed into bedrooms for artists, toilet facilities
are in a state where any repair is no longer sufficient, and the main exhibition space (located in
the same building), has damaged ceilings and leaking roof that threatens to ruin part of the
collection stored in one of the facilitys rooms. The organizers feel that, due to the unregulated
status of their space usage, the municipality would take advantage of the repaired space and re-
intend it for other purposes, which is why no concrete action was done in order to improve
hosting terms. This situation complicates working conditions for the Colony and, without finding
the new accommodation facilities, the Colony will have a difficult time continuing to work in
such conditions.

Figure 3. Exhibition space in Jalovik

Jalovik Art Colony has three team members two people, employers of the library and the
third one Colonys selector, as an external associate. All three members of the team are
emotionally connected to the village and the Colony itself one is a daughter of Colonys
founder and, being in such position, the work on the Colony is a way of continuing a family
legacy, the other team member is a local from Jalovik, an art lover, while the third member,
although not a resident of the village, has a strong connection to the Colony because of family
ties and is an artist himself. These aspects have an important influence on the way the Colony is
being run, the decisions that are being made and the ideas on the future of the Colony. Except for
the Colonys selector, no one in the team has formal education in art, business or management of
any kind. Although after decades of working in the team and in organizing the Colony all
members have enormous practical experience, the lack of managerial education in the team is
very visible and of urgent need, noticeable especially when it comes to fundraising, institutional
grants in particular. Although yearly financial support, gained almost exclusively from Ministry
of Culture and Information and Municipality of Vladimirci, is stable, the yearly budget of the
Colony rarely exceeds 5.000 euros. This covers both funding from the Ministry and the
municipality and includes covering costs for human resources, main project activities, travel
expenses and other expenses. The allocated funding in great measure also influences the number
of international artists - although the organizers made effort in brining as many international
artists as possible, this number is usually around twenty percent of the total number of artists.
Apart from this type of fundraising and few private local donors that from time to time provide
working material, the organizers use no other type of fundraising. When it comes to applying to
international funds, organizers state two main problems: in one case, the lack of knowledge of
English and, in the other case, the lack of free time. However, applying to international funds
requires much more than just knowledge of English. The best fundraisers, aside from the
impeccable language skills, have the ability to show what Dragievi-ei (2011) calls
reflecting competence through appropriate terminology and method of naming programs and
actions. As a precondition, obtaining partnerships is crucial, where we arrive to another
problem. While we live in times of networking, partnerships and friendships, most of Serbian
organizations still do not understand the importance of connecting and benefiting from
partnerships. Understandably, after years of living in political and economic isolation, Serbia has
skipped several stages in its development and now is forced to keep up with contemporary

requirements, without being able to adjust to new conditions. Therefore, the idea of raising
awareness is a theme that will be reappearing in this paper for several reasons. Consequently,
the situation is the same when it comes to valuing their own work. Organizers do not recognize
the need to be paid for their extra work and therefore are being very modest with determining
their fees. The idea of if you don't appreciate your work, nobody will seems very appropriate in
this case.

The Colony has no predetermined theme artists have the freedom of choosing the topic,
medium and material. This allows the diversity each year, creates an interesting and exciting
atmosphere and, unlike painting colonies, the village itself becomes vivid and more involved in
the whole process. The environment also allows the artists to create artworks that cannot be
created in the studios that most artists use. After the end of each edition of the Colony, a mutual
exhibition is being organized in the gallery of Jalovik Cultural Center, where artists, locals and
guests are able to see end results of ten days long Colony. If the funding allows, artworks created
during the Colony are in the following months exhibited in several cities in Serbia. For example,
in 2016 no exhibition was organized, apart for the closing one at the end of Colony. In Belgrade,
the last exhibition the Colony had organized was in 2013.

Choice of artists is solely dependable on the taste of selector who, in this case, is also one of
the organizers. Artists are chosen based on personal contacts, acquaintances and
recommendations. The idea for creating a universal application form was quickly abandoned, due
to the bad experiences with artists being disappointed with working and accommodation
conditions (B. Nikoli, personal communication, May 23, 2017). This way, the organizers are
ensured that artists arriving to the Colony are informed beforehand on the working conditions,
already know what to expect and creates harmony among residents.

Most art colonies usually operate in a very similar manner, with the production of artwork
being their one and only activity. Sometimes, artists are being taken to excursions to visit local
sights. At times, colonies also have an additional component in form of (mostly educational)
workshops. Jalovik Colony has a tradition of organizing this type of workshops for local children.
The workshops usually last for six days and take place in the local school. Workshops gather
children from elementary school and teach them painting, led by the village arts teacher.
However, although workshops take place during the same period as the Colony, children do not

have a direct contact or interaction with residents. According to organizers, this is because the
school is far from the Colonys location and because many artists do not have enough time for
dedicating themselves to the workshop. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, the existence of
the workshop, however it may be useful for the children, is in no relation to the Colony,
suggesting that this activity needs to be improved. This would also improve the Colonys
eligibility for applying to international funding, where additional activities and the wider angle of
the project are of crucial significance.

6.1.3 Visibility and PR

Whether for the fact that the organizers are belonging to the technologically literate
generation or, simply more informed than the others, the fact is that Art Colony Jalovik has the
biggest and better online and media presence than others. Although still not on a serious and
professional level (which, without engaging experts in the field is almost impossible to achieve),
the Colonys organizer, as well as curator and artists, is also Jaloviks PR manager. Besides the
detailed and thorough English and Serbian website39 of the Colony that contains previous
publications, a photo gallery, history of the Colony, contact and much more, the municipalitys
website40 also provides basic information about the long tradition of the Colony they have been
supporting for almost four decades. However, provided information on municipalitys website is
in Serbian only, have clearly not been updated for more than ten years and the contact is not
compatible to the contact of the official Colony website. Apart from the websites, the only
additional tool of promotion is the Facebook page Likovna Kolonija Jalovik41, again managed by
the Colonys organizer. Unfortunately, even though Facebook offers many benefits to its user in
term of free promotion of content, in order for this promotion to reach its target audience, social
media managers are crucial and necessary. Otherwise, the content posted on this page will never
reach new audiences. In the case of Jalovik, most of the content is posted afterwards, without the
actual announcements of future events. This way, its 3,765 Facebook page fans can find out
about the Colony only after it is over.


Even though the level of visual communication42 invested in the promotional material and online
presence is one of Colonys great advantages, it is not used enough. Design, for example, can
become, if used properly, a smart tool in promotion and raising awareness of existence of an art

6.2 International Colony of Artistic Ceramic Work Zlakusa

Probably one of the best examples of how one art colony can overcome obstacles and reach
its full potential is the International Colony of Artistic Ceramic Work Zlakusa. The authorship
project of Sofija Bunardi, officially was established in 1996, when its founder, a ceramist by
education, began researching the story behind the pottery craft of the region she moved to and its
reputation. Area around the town of Uice, especially the village of Zlakusa, was for centuries
(some sources claim it was used even during the Neolithic age) famous for its pottery technique.
Specificity of the Zlakusa pottery is in the fact that the earthenware is made of two natural
materials - earth (clay, so-called rotten) and stone (minerals of calcite, so-called species),
which are mixed in the ratio 1: 1. The original technology the village is famous requires usage of
a handwheel, while the final product is then baked in an open fire. The calcite itself gives the
hardness of the dish, resistance to high temperatures, the special flavor of the dishes that are
cooked in these dishes, and with the materials being completely natural, it is said that the food
prepared in these bowls is the most delicious and much healthier. Another specificity regarding
the pottery produced in Zlakusa is that none of the two mentioned raw materials exist in Zlakusa
- the species is taken out and transported from the neighboring village of Rupeljeva and clay
from the village of Vranjani (near Poega), which is almost 30 km away from Zlakusa, while in
none of these two villages the locals never made any pottery43.

Visual communication is transmission of information and ideas using symbols and imagery, presented or
expressed with two dimensional images and includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration,
Industrial Design, Advertising, Animation colour and electronic resources. (What Is Visual Communication? -
Definition, History, Theory & Examples. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2017, from Study:
. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from : http://www.zlakusa.com/privreda-

After these findings, together with the fact that ceramics is her passion and profession, Sofija
Bunardi recogized the value of this forgotten and extinct technique and thought of an idea to
use the same technique used centuries ago for producing dishes and try reusing it for other
purposes artistic ceramics. After practicing herself and making sure this is possible, in 1996, the
idea became the reality when she invited first artists ceramics to the village of Zlakusa for the
first edition of the Colony of Artistic Ceramic Work. The Colony needed to take place in
Zlakusa, not only for the origins of the craft, but also for the fact that most of the locals already
had installed workshops in their households, that were a legacy of their parents and grandparents.
However, at the time of establishing the Colony, almost all locals abandoned the craft,
underestimating the tradition and the uniqueness of the technique. Today, more than twenty years
after founding the Colony, most of the locals in the village of Zlakusa have returned to the craft
and revived it, turning Zlakusa into one of the richest villages in the region, popularizing it and
creating a brand.

Since the founding in 1996, the Colony has been taking place each August in the household
of locals, where initially each resident, in order to create the ceramics using Zlakusa technique,
needs to be taught about the proper usage of the
material and process. This requires the first day of a
short lecture held by Sofija and a rehersal;
afterwards, artists can start creating their art pieces.

During the ten day Colony, artists are obliged to

make four unique pieces (one unique, preferably
small format piece and others of their choice) which
are left to the Colony as a legacy; however, the
process and technique become very interesting and
inspiring to artists, which at times results in up to
fifteen pieces per artist.

The small format pieces are, on the ninth day of the

Colony, being baked on the open fire so that artists Figure 4. Burning process

could also experience this process, while large

format pieces are collected and preserved until September, when a second part of the baking is
scheduled, since large format pieces cannot be baked until the end of the Colony. Sofija
Bunardi is also a professor at a local art school and, as of recently, its director, which allowed
her to engage her art students in the Colony and provide them an opportunity to be included in
the project. The best student each year is even provided with the opportunity to be the official
resident of the Colony and work alongside some of the best artists in thie field from around the

Zlakusas uniqueness in the part of the world has been also recognized internationally.
Today, twenty-two years after the beginning, the Colony in Zlakusa has hosted 330 artists from
thirty-two countries. It has become a prestige to come to Zlakusa and be the resident of the
Colony which, for its organizers, allows many possibilities and benefits.

6.2.1 Organizational Structure of Zlakusa Colony

Apart from Bunardi, the founder and artist, the Colony, which is registered as an
Association of Citizens, has two more people, colleagues, helping with the organization. The
Colony lasts for ten days in August, while all the residents (as well as Bunardi) are hosted by
the local households. Since the village is one of the richest in the area, working and living
conditions are excellent, providing authentic rural atmosphere. Artists are chosen by Sofija, who
is the leader, selector, organizor and curator of the project. Thanks to her contacts and long
friendships around the world, artists are selected mostly based on recommendations. However,
even though the open call for artists was never created, artists still apply for the participation. The
only existing criteria is that residents must be professional, formally educated artists. Due to the
fact that the Colony is today well established and famous in art circles, since 2005 artists are no
longer provided with coverage of travel costs. The number of participating artists each year is
around 10-15, which implies that the total costs for the Colony have risen up in the last decade,
creating the total budget of around 10.000 euros, which is significantly higher than the budget of
most other colonies. Part of this budget contains funding obtained from the Ministry of Culture
and Information, as well as the municipality of Uice. Budget is divided into accommodation
costs, material, food and beverage, excursions and closing exhibition.

Opening night begins with the performance of local folklore society, dinner and music for all
participants, representatives of the local municipality, media, professors from universities and
other guests. This way, a strong connection to the community is being obtained and artists,
especially foreigner one, are introduced with local customs, food and habits. In the next days,
artists work on their pieces without predefined schedule or timeframe, while anyone is invited to
visit and participate in the process. Excursions include visits to some of the most interesting and
important sightseeing spots, such as Potpeka peina (cave in the village Potpe), built during the
Middle Triassic limestone, then old hydroelectric power plant, ethno village Sirogojno, nature
park Mokra Gora, as well as Drvengrad, authorship project of famous film director Emir
Kusturica. As a testament to her managerial abilities and an additional way of popularizing the
Colony and its artists in 2010, on the World Tourism Day, its founder Sofija, together with the
Tourist Organization of Uice, organized an exhibition at the entrance to the cave. Along the cave
there were 160 artpieces such as clay bars, unusual portraits, terracotta shapes44... Due to a
repetitive problem of archiving works, these art pieces, although in the beginning appeared to be
only a temporary solution, stayed until this day inside the cave, becoming a tourist attraction on
its own.

When it comes to archiving, a constant problem for the legacy of any art colony in Serbia,
apart from 160 exhibits in the cave, the collection contains 900 more artworks. A coincidental
advantage is the fact that in 1980 Sofija was assigned with 100 square meters of space as her
private atelier, which today serves, in most part, as a warehouse for the Colonys collection. This
is where most valuable pieces are being held, while the rest is divided between the City Cultural
Center and the cave. The atelier already stores more art pieces than it can bear but, unfortunately,
the solution is not near. Even though the local government promised renovating the former city
shooting range space and adjusting it to the needs of permanent exhibition, the changes on the
local political scene are constantly questioning the decision.

Additional problem in Zlakusa, as well as in Jalovik, is the misunderstanding of creating a

budget for the program. When it comes to budgeting staff, organizers regard their roles in the
organization as purely volunteer and, therefore, without the need to be rewarded for their efforts.

Lojanica, V. (2011, July 17). Potpeka peina postala muzej i galerija grnarije. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from
Blic: http://www.blic.rs/vesti/reportaza/potpecka-pecina-postala-muzej-i-galerija-grncarije/901x9sy

Due to the fact that their initial idea behind the Colony is, in most cases, their own personal
interest, there is a very distinctive line and almost shame to ask for money for something that is
done out of love, not interest. In practice, this means that organizers do not receive any
financial incentive for their work. However, if these initiatives and programs are to be improved,
there is an urgent need of raising awareness on the importance of valuing your own efforts and
work. Additionally, although Bunardis effort and creativity is highly admired and her ability
to do everything on her own is impressive, the future of the Colony is therefore questionable.

6.2.2 Visibility and PR

International Colony of Artistic Ceramic Work Zlakusa, compared to most residential

programs in Serbia, has quite significant media coverage. Ever since the beginning, its founder
had a very clear understanding on the importance of media, reports and word-of-mouth
promotion. Local media were always present during opening and closing nights and, after the
Colony gained reputation among the artists themselves, even national media began finding
interest in this type of art events. Since Sofija, the founder, has multiple role in the organization,
one of them being a strong PR, her persistence, tiredness and love for art were truly the only
reason why anyone knows about Zlakusa today. Today, in the digital age, Bunardi manages
Facebook page and any press correspondence.

The official website45 was launched in 2002, containing information, photographs about each
edition of the colony since then, as well as the main contact information. However, although very
simple and informative, the website is only partially translated to English, therefore, unable to
attract international audience and readers. Aside from the website that is updated once a year,
after the end of each Colony and a Facebook page updated on irregular basis, no other efforts are
being made into disseminating information and further promotion of the Colony. Luckily, thanks
to the unbelievable number of artists around the world that have been residents of Zlakusa so far,
the promotion does not seem to be needed since word-to-mouth method brings each year more
applicants than the Colony can accommodate, for the next generations, digitally literate, this type
of promotion is necessary.


6.3 Art Colony Sievo

Not many art colonies in the world have a tradition longer than one century, but Art Colony
Sievo is certainly one of those. Founded in village Sievo in 1905 by the famous Serbian painter
Nadeda Petrovi, this art colony has, after a several decades long break, continued its work as
one of the oldest still operating colonies. As an important factor in the development of visual arts
and residential programs in this region, the colonys evolution was already discussed and
thoroughly described in the Historical and Socio-Cultural Background of Artist Residencies part
of the paper. Still, it is important to repeat that the idea probably originated at the First Yugoslav
Art Exhibition in September 1904, with Nadedas desire for all south Slav artists to unite,
perform and travel together. Even though this idea originated before the official establishment of
Yugoslavia, Nadeda rejected the nationalist labels and insisted in mutual presentations as
Yugoslavs. However, she would later show her patriotic side when she helped during Balkan
wars. Nadeda imagined the Colony as association of artists with the basis in Belgrade, while
traveling through Serbia, visiting cities, painting landscapes, portraits, folk arts and afterwards
organizing exhibitions showcasing those artworks both abroad and in Serbia. Nadeda wrote
what should be the main goals of the colony (Todorovi, 2014):

To get to know the Yugoslav provinces, tribes in their life and work, their character,
to spread the educational influence on the people, collecting everything that is nice,
interesting and original in the people, and to introduce the west to us and introduce
what is in us.

First two years of the movement the artists were hosted by Sievo locals, an area where
only thirty years prior Turks were ruling and now artists would paint and make friendships. The
interaction was that deepened that locals even modeled for the artists. In fact, one of Nadeda
Petrovis most famous paintings Funeral in Sievo was painted during her stay at the Colony
in 1905. Although many sources insinuate that on the first colony, on July 30, 1905, eight artists
attended the gathering - Nadeda Petrovi, Ferdo Vesel, Rihard Jakopi, Ivan Grohar, Pako
Vueti, Ivan Metrovi, Emanuel Vidovi and at times painter and art historian Branko Popovi,
according to Milica Todorovi, art historian and for the past several years one of the organizers of

the Colony, there is a significant uncertaincy on participating artists in the first year of the
Colony, except for Petrovi and Vesel. These doubts are legitimite due to the lack of data that
could prove their attendance. Although Nadedas feuding with LADA, as well as political
circumnstances like annexation of Bosnia and Hercegovina did not help in continuing the
realization of the Colony after 1906, the idea of unity and did not fade away and all organizers
respected the initial conception by each year inviting at least one artist from Yugoslav countries.

Figure 5. Participants of the first Art Colony in Sievo

Five decades long break finally was approaching its end in 1962 when painter Dragan Kosti
and journalist Sreko Tarita suggested continuation of Art Colony Sievo as a possible
physiognomy and a way of future work of artists in the community of South Slav nations
SFRY46. The first gathering related to the launch of the Colonys renewal initiative was held at
the studio of Ni based painter Radomir Anti and they officially signed the Proposal with the
basic goals and tasks, for the formation of the Colony in Sievo on November 15, 1962. Finally,
fifty nine years after the last edition, the new reformed Colony began working, under the
organization of The Cultural-Educational Community and the National Museum in Ni. Since
that year, the work of the Colony has been continuing, to this day.

Mara Makari, Likovna kolonija Sievo 1964-1969, Umetnika dela iz fonda Narodnog muzeja Ni, Ni, 2014.

Figure 6. Nadeda Petrovi, Pogreb u Sievu (Funeral in Sievo), 1905

During 1964-1969 period, the National Museum in Ni was the only and direct organizer of
the Colony. This period was particularly important for the Colonys development for several
major changes: in 1965 the Colony Council47 was established with two new decisions firstly, to
invite only artists with high reputation in the art world and secondly, that the Colony needs to be
held in the village of Sievo in the homes of the locals where, both artists and critics would
reside. Although these became the official standards of the colony, the second criteria was
disobeyed already the following year when artists resided in Sievo hotel and the working space
became hotels parter, plateau in front and small hall. The next year, 1967, invited thirteen
painters and for the first time a graphic artist. This year had another first aside from
representatives of Yugoslav republics, artists from Sofia and East Berlin also joined the group.
After the uncertainty of another edition of the Colony and financial instability, in 1970 the
Gallery of Contemporary Fine Art in Ni takes over all responsibilities when it comes to

Council of Art Colony Sievo included cultural deputies and artists of Ni.

realization of the Colony. In fact, one of the major reasons why the Gallery was founded in the
first place was because of the Colony. The Gallery of Contemporary Fine Art48 is until this day
the official institution standing behind the Colony, respecting its following obligations towards
the Colony:

To make a selection of artists and organize, in the first half of September, a stay for
maximum of twelve participants, since there are so many accommodation capacities of
the Colony building in Sievo
Maintaining tradition that the Art Colony has an international character
To suggest the Council of the The Sievo Art Colony, appointed by the City Assembly
and appoint the Art Colony selector who will stay with artists in Sievo and directly
monitor their work
Providing painting material, food and travel expenses for participants
To retain from the participants of the Colony one painting and one drawing that will be
intended for the Gallerys fund
At the end of the year, in November, in the Fortress Pavilion, to organize an exhibition of
artwork made in the Colony that was held that year, covering the costs of the equipment,
production and printing of the accompanying catalog costs, as well as the travel expenses
for artists - participants of the Art Colony coming to the opening day of the exhibition.

During this period, the Colony Council made a decision of creating a permanent exhibition
by purchasing paintings by artists-residents of the colony. This way, the emphasis would be on
the quality, sustainability and creating a valuable collection that could travel and promote the
Colony. Unfortunately, this idea lasted for only two years but resulted in artworks that now
represent the most valuable works in the collection.

6.3.1 Organizational Structure of Art Colony Sievo

The Gallery of Contemporary Fine Art in Ni is still the legal entity behind the Colony which
takes place every September for ten days. This means that its employees are automatically the
organizers of the program. Team of the Colony is consisted of six people: two art historians, two


painters and two people graduated from the Secondary art school, working on the administrative
positions, as well as website maintenance and PR. Selection of artists participating in the Colony
is chosen by the Council, appointed by the City Assembly. The Council is chosen every two
years since 2000 and is consisted of five members one representative from the Gallery and four
representatives from the City Assembly. This creates an obvious disbalance in decision making
process, since the majority of members are politically active and have a political agenda. This
fact, along with the conservative attitude of members, creates a difficulty in suggesting or
introducing changes, as well as raising the quality and diversity level. Decisions regarding
selection of artists must be politically free of influence which, in this case, can also be seen when
it comes to the idea of appointing an external Colony selector. This would allow neutral and
more professional selection of artists, on the opposite of the current situation. Although in 2011
the official decision of appointing a selector was made, in 2016 this decision was rejected, with
the Council insisting to choose artists on its own.

Political influence is an important factor in any level of organization of any Colony,

demonstrating itself mostly through financial support or the lack of it. Thanks to the long
tradition and reputation in endures, the Colony is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Ministry of
Culture and local municipality. This year, according to official results of Ministry of Culture for
financing or co-financing projects in the area of contemporary creativity, Sievo received 3.745
euros for its yearly program49. This amount includes ten days of the Colony, food and beverage
costs, travel and material costs for twelve to thirteen artists, which is around 288 euros per
resident. Together with the help of municipality of around 300.000 dinars or 2.500 euros, the
total budget for the yearly program is around 6.200 euros. Since the space used for the
accommodation for the Colony is a former school (property of the municipality) in the center of
the village which, although built in 19th century has been preserved in excellent condition,
offering thirteen beds, the Colony has no costs for the accommodation of artists. Additionally,
even though the Colony invites mostly painters, graphic artists are not rare residents either. When
it comes to providing material and required technology, the facility is already equipped because

Ministarstvo kulture i informisanja. (2017, April 10).
, . Preuzeto July 10, 2017 sa Ministarstvo kulture i informisanja:

of the Graphic workshop50 that uses the same space every June from 2005, also under the
jurisdiction of the city Gallery. Apart from the main financing sources such as Ministry of
Culture and the local municipality, the Gallery has never applied for any other funding source.
When it comes to international funds, employees admit lack of project management knowledge,
English skills and lack of time as the main reason for passivity in this field. This knowledge
could be of significant use not only when it comes to co-financing the overall project but as well
as for smaller financial help, such as funds covering travel costs for international artists,
partnerships with Embassies, foreign Culture centers etc. Additionally, this would help preserve
more funds for some other activities of the project that could raise the quality of the general
project or, on the long run would provide a significant Colony fund which could repurchase art
from participating artists. This initiative would help create a valuable collection which would
provide much needed sustainability.

One of the reasons for this is the current sense of stability the organizers have, which is a
result of consistent support from the Ministry of Culture for the Colonys ten day program.
Again, with the Colony being only one small portion of the Gallerys yearly program where
employees do not receive additional fees for their efforts in organizing the event, most of the
employees lack the enthusiasm and desire to put more effort into finding new ways for making
the current model more sustainable and secure for the future period. Due to the lack of time and
amount of everyday tasks, the staff does not seem to find enough energy and willingness to plan
and think in advance. Most of them unwillingly mention salaries as demotivating, subtly
suggesting that the financial aspect could significanlty influence their higher engagement in the

The idea of networking and partnerships is a repetitive problem at Art Colony Sievo as
well. Altough open for collaboration, neither Sievo nor Jalovik see any benefit from creating
partnerships, nor would initiate the contact. The only time an initiative of connecting residential
programs on the state level was in 2011. A project called AiR Serbia Platform for Artist in
Residence Programs was organized by Cultural Center Grad in Belgrade, with the financial
support of the Swedish Institute and the Embassy of Sweden in Belgrade51. Serbian Ministry of

Grafika radionica. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from Galerija savremene umetnosti:
Tadi, D. (2012). From Collective Artwork to Residential Programs. Belgrade: Embassy of Sweden.

Culture and Information joined the project as well; however, the conference where participants
were local art colonies, regional curators and experts from Scandinavia went unnoticed and
without any practical results. One of the objectives, suggested by the Ministry of Culture at the
time, was creation of a mutual website for all art colonies in Serbia a platform where all
necessary information about the conditions, art disciplines, location, accommodation and
duration of the program would be provided for all potential residents. This initiative would have
been especially important taking into account the fact that most of current art colonies, Sievo
included52, have no online visibility.

6.3.2 Archiving Artworks

According to organizers, even though the relationship with local government in Ni is mostly
good when it comes to regular funding and reception of the artists; on the other hand, the City of
Ni has not managed to provide a space for the permanent exhibition of artworks created during
the Colony. Artworks created from 1964 until 1970 are currently preserved in National Museum
in Ni, while art pieces created in 1970 and further are part of the Gallerys fund. Due to the rule
that each artist must leave at least two works one painting/sculpture and one drawing, the
collection keeps growing each year and, without a proper location for preservation of art, the
question is whether the Colony should continue to collect the work if the conditions are
inappropriate. Additional question concerns the current quality of artworks produced during the
Colony. The financial aspect can, in great measure, also influence the quality and reputation of
invited artists to the Colony. Finances can limit the organizers to only certain artists and coming
from nearest countries, which can usually result in number of mediocre artists producing
mediocre work. On the long run, the collection that will be created will have no actual market and
artistic value, which would disable potential travel of the exhibition.

Apart from a very short presentation on the website of the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Art, Art Colony Sievo
does not have a separate website.

6.4 Art colony in Lipovac

In our area, starting from 1905, when the first art colony of Sievo appeared, to this day, are
countless art colonies have been established. In such conglomerate of art colonies, one of the
important places occupies Lipovac art colony, near city of Topola, where, along with socializing,
exchanging experiences and debating about art, painting, great works were created. This year the
45th edition of the colony is held in the village of Lipovac where painters are housed in rural
households. More than 100 significant artists from the territory of the former Yugoslavia left
their mark in the colony that was founded in 1973. Today, in its fund, there are over 200
significant works by artists, mostly painters.

The founder of the colony was initially the Cultural Center Duan Petrovi ane from Topola,
then the King Peter I Karaorevi Endowment in Oplenac, and a few years ago the organization
of the colony was taken over by the Cultural Center of Topola, which is still the official

6.4.1 Organizational Structure of Art Colony Lipovac

The municipality of Topola makes a decision on the Colony Council, consisting of the
president of the municipality, the directors of the Cultural Center and the Tourist Organization,
the president of the local community of Lipovac, two hosts from the village of Lipovac and the
editor of the Cultural Center program. The Cultural Center appoints a selector of a colony who
selects the artists. As usual, the colony lasts for a week in August, while the number of artists
varies, usually being around eight artists per Colony. Depending on the appointed selector for the
year, the ratio between domestic and international artists varies as well. If international artists are
chosen, their number does not exceed two people. Art Colony Lipovac is a good example of a
solid start, quality and diverse artists but has over the years lowered its standards. Today, Lipovac
colony is in the category of amateur colonies that either needs to urgently change the concept and
create a more original program, or perform a successful exit strategy.

Figure 7. Paintings produced during a residency in Lipovac

Even though during its formative years, the Colony was attracting artists working with
installations, conceptual and experimental art in general, such as Era Milivojevi and Dragoljub
Raa Todosijevi, which was at the time (and still today) unusal and different from programming
of most colonies, the Colony in Lipovac has, over time, shifted its focus to mainly amateur
artists. This decision reduced importance, relevance and reputation of the Colony, leading to an
invitation to maramaida curatorial duo in 2008 for reconceptualizing the program of the Colony.
The 2008 edition led to gathering artists from different disciplines, which brought diversity,
challenged participants and influenced end results. During their curatorial engagement on the
Colony, the organizers for the first time established a children workshop led by one of the
residents of the Colony, that eventually became mandatory part of the program.

6.4.2 Visibility and PR

Organizers of Art Colony Lipovac, just as the previous examples, have the same attitude
towards promotion and general visibility of their program. When it comes to traditional media
and promotional tools, the Colony advertises its program and activities only prior to the actual
events. Usually, it consists of two major events the opening of the Colony and the closing
exhibition. However, the Colony uses local media TV, radio and print. These information are
very simple, short and every year almost sampled and very similar. When it comes media with
national coverage, aside from a few art programs with very low ratings the Colony (just like all
previous case studies), do not have a chance of reaching the wider audiences. Even though the
program is (or at least should be) mostly focused on the local community and providing cultural
content, promotion of these programs can have a greater impact it could reach new artists,
inform and educate people on its importance and influence on local community, encourage
greater interest and, ultimately, bring more audience to the Colonys program and activities.
Additionally, Art Colony Lipovac has almost no online presence either. The Colony does not
have a website, and the only information that can be found is through the local municipalitys
website which is possible only for Serbian, Cyrillic users. However, not even here one can find
contact information about the Colony. This suggests that the organizers have made no effort in
trying to inform the public about their activities, leaving it only to the very small, already
established circle of visitors and artists. When it comes to social media presence, the Colony has
a Facebook profile, updated in average once to twice a year and with around two hundred fans.
Again, this only illusory creation of visibility and promotion in order to satisfy a yearly program
and report creates only damage to the Colony. Even though, in this case, the Colony needs
general improvement on all levels, the obvious and inadmissible lack of interest and knowledge
among the organizers is very difficult to change.

6.5 Dislocations: Photo Colony in Orlovat

Curatorial duo maramaida consists of two art historians, Mara Prohaska Markovi and
Maida Gruden who have been working for almost fifteen years on various curatorial projects,
including the role as selectors and organizers of 36th and 37th edition of Art colony in Lipovac in
2008 and 2009. For the organization of the Lipovac edition of the colony, maramaida were
invited by the Elementary school Karaore in Lipovac (the official legal entity behind the
colony), to reconceptualize the Colony and bring innovations to what was thought to be an
outdated model of functioning.

Figure 8. Photograph by Goran Micevski, made during residency in Orlovat

The curatorial duo maramaida identified the problem as the shift from great and interesting
names in conceptual art to amateur fine art artists, which diminished the reputation of the Colony.
The duo changes the idea of the Colony by inviting graphic artists as well as photographs to the

Colony in Lipovac. The experience in Lipovac proved that photographers easily make direct
contact with the locals, produce work more quickly and are not physically limited to only a studio
or a yard. Instead, they have the advantage of being able to investigate, search the surroundings,
realize more intimate communication to the locals and, for that reason, use locals as their models.
Maramaida found this concept refreshing and, even though they were not initially particularly
interested in photography, the idea of establishing a photo colony was installed. In 2014, the
Photo Colony in village Orlovat was founded. Due to family ties, as one of the organizers has
origin in the village Orlovat, in the Zrenjanin municipality, Central Banat District, Vojvodina
province, this location was a logical choice. Additionally convenience is the fact that Orlovat was
the birthplace of Uro Predi, one of the most significant Serbian Realist painters. One portion of
participants has secure accommodation in the organizers weekend cottage, while the rest stay at
a local household. This choice is a usual one when it comes to organizing residential programs in
Serbia, especially in the beginning, since it lowers the accommodation expenses and simplifies
many logistical and organizational issues due to private relationship, friendships and family ties
connected to the location.

6.5.1 Organizational Structure of Photo Colony in Orlovat

Structure of the Photo Colony Orlovat is very simple similar to most colonies that are a
result of a private initiative and managed by few enthusiastic individuals, Orlovat is managed
only by the curatorial duo maramaida. Although both organizers are art historians by education,
both work in the field of visual arts and have knowledge in event management and project
writing. However, even though compared to most of their colleagues organizers they should be in
greater advantage and have access to various international open calls for grants, the organizers
have stayed on a national level municipalitys support and Ministry of Culture. One reason for
this, as organizers admit, is the lack of time, while the other seems to be the lack of enthusiasm
for the bigger involvement in the project.

Dislocations: Photo Colony is conceived as a seven to ten day residency in village Orlovat
usually in July, with the goal of, as stated in one of the publications, activating potentials of art
residences as cultural, social, tourist and economic stimuli in the rural environment (Gruden &

Prohaska Markovi, 2014). The opening year (2014), Dislocations welcomed seven
photographers from Serbia, accommodated at two locations in the village: one, in the family
home of one of the organizers and the second one, in the home of one of the local residents. The
initial idea of the founders was to host professional photographers, as well as one photography
student, providing them with the opportunity to gain new practical knowledge and experience, as
well as get to know colleagues from the field of photography. The following year, 2015, brought
modifications in significant reduction of residents at the residency, from seven to three. However,
the group consisted of two Serbian artists and one American-Lebanese photographer, staying in
Austria at the time, which notably lowered travelling expenses. Last year, again, Dislocations
hosted three photographers, this time all from Serbia.

Apart from the main program which is a residence for photographers, Dislocations also
organizes a photo-therapy workshop for elementary school local children, led and organized by a
psychologist Dubravka Radusinovi. The workshops are experimental and educational, aimed at
acquainting the participants with the techniques of therapeutic photography. Workshops take
place at the local school and last for two or three days, during the time of the colony. However,
even though the workshops are directly connected to the photography, participants of the
workshops have no direct contact with residents of the colony. This way, the whole concept and
idea stated in the publication does not respond to the actual realization. Additionally, the
organizers themselves are not completely acquainted with the concept of the workshops and have
completely entrusted its organization to the workshop moderator, which might suggest the lack of
authority, interest and/or control.

The rule of the colony obliges the residents to leave one photograph to the host as a sign of
gratitude for the accommodation, while the other work is reserved for the Uro Predi legacy
collection in Orlovat. The colonys organizers/selectors do not predetermine the theme of the
colony, nor is the type of photography which the photographers chose the criteria for determining
the participants. In this regard, the organizers admit that, even though they try to follow the latest
trends in contemporary photography, this is still in many ways for them an unexplored field.
Another continuing problem of art colonies in Serbia deals with this particular issue which could
be easily solved by engaging experts in the field, curators acquainted with contemporary
photography scene etc. However, the lack of initiative to create a meaningful concept instead of

simply creating a colony where none of the stated elements and postulates are being respected,
questions the seriousness of the organizers and the whole approach to cultural management and
contemporary art.

The colony cherishes strong connection to the Uro Predi legacy as well as with the local
citizen association Zaviajac, who are co-organizers and have to role of providing
accommodation, food and fee for the cook). This way, organizers only cover travel costs, PR,
publication printing and exhibition expenses. Each year, a final exhibition is organized as one
part of the several days long manifestation called Dani Uroa Predia (Days of Uro Predi).
Apart from the support of the local association in the form of in-kind contributions and the grant
from the Ministry of Culture and Information (for this year, that amount is around 2.500 euros),
organizers do not have any other financial support. Although experienced in project writing, the
founders did not try applying for any other funds, national or international.

When it comes to international connections, the Colonys organizers have not created any
significant partnerships neither on a local nor on an international level. In fact, when it comes to
partnerships on a national level, the organizers fail to see any benefit from creating these types of
connections, and consider them unnecessary. On an international level, they do not seem
informed about any other photograph residencies, even though there are many, even in the region,
such as Photo colony marna Gora in Slovenia, Photo colony in Tar, Croatia, as well as another
one in Croatian village of Erdut, Foto Ars Danubia. When it comes to more experimental
residencies for photographers, Eyebeam Residency in New York offers financial support $26,000
to $50,000 as well as a chance to experiment with new technologies and digital software, or The
Banff Centre Visual and Digital Arts Residencies in Canada, which combines photography with
other artists including writers, dancers, choreographers, composers, musicians, and even
mathematicians53. These initiatives and programs can be great starting points for partnerships,
exchange of artists and their programming activities can be inspiring to other types of residencies
as well.

MacFarlan, & Rachel. (2016, June 23). The Best Art Residencies for Photographers. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from
Format Magazine: https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/photography/photography-art-residency-programs

6.5.2 Visibility and PR

Although external PR services are emphasized in every publication, the final exhibition
welcomes a rather negligible number of attendees. Additionally, except for the website
established in 2016, the Colony does not have any social media profile or any regular media
presence. Again, the website is updated only after the Colony is over and, since the website also
serves as a permanent online exhibition, the visibility of the Colony in general needs to be
improved. By providing visibility to the Colony and recognition with the selection of
photographers chosen to participate, the Colony gains respect among the photographic and art
community in general, which will facilitate the selection of artists in the future years. Today,
when everything is available in digital form and promotion plays a very important role in the
image of an organization or cultural event of any kind, the necessity of also providing the future
followers of the Colony is opportunity to find out more about is crucial. In addition, the process
of applying for grants is very rigorous and requires every aspect of the application to be
respected. This means that dissemination and promotion are becoming inevitable and in some
cases crucial aspects of the application and, for those who do not recognize and adjust to these
new rules, someone else will.

6.6 Case Studies Summary

After detailed analysis of five rural art colonies in Serbia several common tendencies and
conclusions can be made. Firstly, art colonies in Serbia are very dependable on state funding,
since most of them were founded by the state. However, even those colonies that represent
private initiatives face the same problems. This leads to an even more common problem than the
one of founders organizers of colonies. Based on the experience of five different colonies,
organizers can be divided into two groups: the enthusiasts and the employees of public
institutions in charge of the organization of the colonies. The enthusiasts are usually those
working in private initiated colonies, work in those positions was their own desire and they want
to make a difference. Even though they are limited with their funds just like the others, their

enthusiasm helps them constantly improve, work on themselves even though often they work
without any financial compensation. On the other hand, employees of public institutions usually
have the opposite feeling towards the colonies and even see it as a burden. For most of them,
organization of the colony is only a secondary task that they did not even choose or want to do. In
this case, their lack of enthusiasm and faith in the project is extremely noticeable during the
process as well as in the end results. The problem with this group is the difficulty in changing
their perspective, especially when the employees work for small salaries and are financially
dissatisfied. Additionally, representatives of this group are not interested to gain new knowledge,
they look forward to retiring and lack general interest in the work they do. However, what both
groups have in common is the general satisfaction with status quo, which can also be interpreted
as the lack of self-criticism. The next chapter, focus group analysis, will provide a wider
perspective on the issue of art colonies today by expanding the focus not only to organizers, but
also curators and artists.

VII Focus Group Analysis

In order to have a comprehensive and relevant perspective on the current situation of art
colonies in rural Serbia, apart from the field research, an approach from a different angle is
needed as well. Experts, curators, art historians and artists are all, in one way or another,
influenced by or can influence the work of art colonies one group as indirect participants and
those who have significant knowledge and abilities to estimate and analyze the situation, while
others, as direct beneficiaries of these projects and concepts. As a tool for creating an insight into
the organizational models of colonies, a focus group was conducted gathering four groups of

Focus groups provide insights into how people think and a deeper understanding of the issue
being studied. Focus groups are group interviews that give the researcher the ability to capture
deeper information more economically than individual interviews (Nagle & Williams). A focus
group is a common qualitative research technique typically consisted of a small number of
participants, usually around six to twelve, with the goal of providing better insight into a certain
problem or a wider perspective. The participants are brought together and led through discussions
by a moderator. While surveys generally ask closed-ended questions that may limit the feedback
that can be gained from a respondent, focus groups allow more freedom for participants to
express in their answers which are later interpreted according to the context of the issue being

In this case, focus group was conducted on a neutral location in Belgrade, Serbia in June
2017, with one moderator and eight participants in total that will be named, for the purposes of
this focus group, Participant A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H54. Participants of the focus group
consisted of two curators, two organizers of residencies/art colonies, two artists who previously
attended residencies/art colonies and two artists who never attended residencies/art colonies.

All participants answered to same questions which included their age, formal education and
current position, number of art colonies they can think of, good practice examples, if participated

Organizers will be labeled in this analysis as Participant A and B, Curators will be labeled as Participant C and D,
Artists who previously attended residential programs will be labeled as Participant E and F, while Artists who have
not previously participated in any residential program will be labeled as Participant G and H.

in some residential program what were their experiences and, if not, why and would they like to
participate in the future. Additional questions included the way the participants found out about
the program, flaws and potentials of current organizational models of art colonies in rural Serbia
and, in the end, if they could influence the improvement of current models, what would be their
recommendations. Therefore, based on these questions solely, several topics could be identified
that divided into categories:

I. Knowledge on the existing colonies on the territory of Serbia

II. Examples of good practice
III. Participation and experiences
IV. Visibility and PR
V. Identification of potentials and flaws
VI. Recommendations for improvement

When it comes to the examining the issue of knowledge on the existing colonies on the
territory of Serbia, the participants were asked to asnwer how many art colonies on the territory
of Serbia they know. This was important in order to understand the general visibility of art
colonies among people who work in the field of art. If the answers showed a low number, this
would indicate a very weak position these programs have. However, what the focus group
indicated is that the knowledge of organizers on the number of existing colonies in Serbia today
is solid. Both Participant A and B knew between five to ten colonies that today exist in Serbia.
This shows that, even though they are not connected among themselves, they are still informed
about the work of their colleagues. However, the surpisingly good knowledge showed curators
who could count more than ten colonies. This indicates that, even though they are not directly
involved in the organization or participation of the colonies, they seem to be more interested or
informed about art colonies. This knowledge by personal contacts they have with most organizers
of the mentioned colonies, while organizers do not recognize the importance of knowing the field
they work in. The more the focus is shifted from organizers and curators to direct participants and
target groups of the colonies which are artists, the statistic becomes even more disappointing.
Among artists who have previously participated in the colonies, they could name only the
colonies they were a part of, which is around one or two. This clearly indicated the lack of
promotion or any marketing of the programs that were intially created for artists. Moreover, this

explains the difficulties in reaching artists or vice versa. For artists to trust these programs and
their organizers, visibility is very important. Additionally, the lack of proper promotion is also a
sign of unprofessionalism. Even greater indicator of the current situtaion is the knowledge of
artists who never participated in any residential program or colony. Both Participant G and H
could not name any art colony on the territory of Serbia, existing or closed. This indicates that a
crucial lack of promotion and advertisment of these programs, most of which last several
decades. This data can also explain these artists never participating in the programs, suggesting
that there is a whole group of artists that have never heard of these programs or know very little
about them. These groups must become target groups to focus on in the future; otherwise, the
practice of several artists constantly participating in a few colonies will become meaningless and

When asked about what they thought were the examples of good practice when it comes to
art colonies in Serbia, group consisted of organizers could not cite more than one colony, aside
from their own. This can be, one one hand, attributed to the fact that, as above mentioned,
organizers are not fully informed about the work of their colleagues and, on the other, to the
criticism towards colleagues organizers. At the same time, if critism is the reason for the lack of
recognition of good work, the question is why was never an intervention. Organizers united
through partnerships or simple networking could have an insight into the work of others and
share knowledge and ideas for improvement. Unfortunately, the lack of initiative and desire to
unite will only lead to difficulties in finding general solutions for the current situation colonies
are facing today. On the other hand, curators showed a general compatibility in their opinions.
Both Participant C and D named Art colonies Jalovik and Orlovat as examples of good practice,
while the second participant added to the list ZMUC (Zemunski Mali Umetniki Centar), who
have been organizing mobile artist residencies for several years, alongside their partners from
Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, etc. and by doing that, deepening the relationship and intercultural
dialogue with previously conflicted parties. Naming of these specific residencies can be attributed
to the fact that both curators are on friendly terms with founders and organizers of these
residencies and have participated in their programs once or more times; and/or to the fact that,
although aware of their flaws and difficulties in functioning, they respect the efforts of
organizers. In fact, Participant D stated:

The Jalovik Art colony remains a rare example of successful functioning when it
comes to such a specific kind of artistic collective life and work, the formation of a
temporary communication and creative space, marked by an intense exchange of
ideas and knowledge among the participants themselves, as well as by the interaction
they establish with the local community in which such an event is organized and
unfolded. The recognizable profile of the reed colony has contributed greatly from
the very establishment of the clear vision of its initiators to achieve a special
symbiosis of the context of the city and art, as Kosta Bogdanovi once noticed, an
authentic culture of the life of art.

Other curator in the group, Participant C, had a similar opinion:

The Jalovik Art Colony has a great concept and their work with artists is excellent, but
the Colony in a very poor financial state.

The group of artists who previously participated in an art colony, in the absence of better and
more credible examples, stated only colonies they participated in. Their lack of criticism after
mentioning the obvious flaws of the program shows the appreciation of the invitation, respecting
any given opportunity for artists to take break from their everyday resposibilities and create their
works, without the outside pressure. Additionally, the reason for stating only these colonies is
also a testiment to lack of promotion.

Artists who never participated in these programs did not feel competent enough to suggest
colonies as good examples. However, Participant H chose Graphic Youth Colony as a good
example, only due to the positive experiences of her colleagues who participated in the Colony.
This is an interesting indicator that the mouth-to-mouth marketing strategy is, in this case, very
important. Artists trust their communities and colleagues and, if the impressions from the
colonies are positive, the artists are more likely to come back, or recommend a collegue.

Among many topics, participants of the focus group talked in detail about their experiences
from participation on colonies and, the ones who never participated, the reasons why. Although
this topic was especially important for artists and curators, organizers also shared the experiences
from participants of the programs they organize. Interestingly enough, organizers never attended

other colonies except their own, even though they stated they would like to. This experience is
very important and can help in creating an image of what others do, it is crucial for self-reflection
and creating awareness of the general situation, potentials, flaws and trends. Curators, on the
other hand, again had very similar experiences and even participated in the same colonies, such
as Jalovik Art Colony. Both curators had the same role during their stay at the colony they were
invited by the organizers to attend the colony as art historians/curators, talk to artists and get to
know their work and to summarize the edition of the Colony at the time through the authorial text
on activities and artistic production. This shows a constant practice of organizers of Jalovik
Colony to include curators in their program and take a step forward towards improving the
current functioning models of the colonies. Even though initially the artists who previously
participated in residential programs showed significant restraints in criticizing the work of
colonies, when further asked about their experiences, both artists were open to share both positive
and negative impressions. While positive impressions included sentences such as I am
especially happy when I am able to use non-classical media, and besides that, the value of most
colonies lies in the development of interaction among colleagues, which can result in new and
unexpected works and artistic cooperation, the negative ones consisted of criticism referring to
the duration of the program and pressure for creating large number of artworks in a short time,
resulting in low quality of artworks. This indicates the need to readjust the program to artists that
will correspond to realistic possibilities and needs and abandon the outdated models. Artists who
never attended residency programs did not comment on this topic.

One of the questions which proved to be very important for getting a more detailed insight
into the organization and functioning models of art colonies in Serbia today were How did you
find out about the colonies and How did you get the invitation for participation in the colony.
These questions initiated a new discussion on issues regarding the colonies methodology when it
comes to visibility and PR. Almost unanimously, all three groups of participants (except for the
group of artists that never participated in the program) stated that the only way they know about
the colonies is through direct invitations they receive from organizers and/or from their
colleagues. For artists, once they receive the official invitation, they usually consult with their
colleagues to hear about their experieces. This suggests that the mouth-to-mouth strategy has an
extremely important impact on how the public becomes acquainted with the colonies. All three
groups emphasized that they tried obtaining information on the Internet but, in most cases, failed

to get suficient information. Although most art colonies in Serbia exist for several decades, the
artists in both groups still want to be informed about it online, stating that this creates trust and
credibility, adding that the lack of promotion creates insecurity in the program, resulting in
questioning the idea of participation. However, they do admit that the opinion of their colleages
matters and that, even though the information and promotion in non-existant, they would still
participate if the experiences of previous residents are positive. However, this created a much
greater problem for colonies that tend to bring international artists. Without the proper promotion
of any kind, international artists will decline participation, as already stated above, due to the lack
of credibility. Additionally, art colonies usually tend to use already settled terms such as
giving opportunity to young, emerging artists, while completely ignoring the fact that the
majority of the todays youth is informed by using online platforms. However, the lack of
personnel is usually one of the reasons why this aspect is never on top of the list of priorities, as
well as the fact that the staff is mostly uneducated on new technologies and online marketing.
Even though several art colonies have a certain online presence, it usually ends with a creation of
a website. Also, the idea that while there are artists that accept to come to the colony and
participate, the urge for greater promotion is not a priority.

One of the crucial topics of the focus group regarded the idenfitication of potentials and
flaws of art colonies by groups with different approaches and priorities. When it comes to
potentials that art colonies in Serbia offer, the answers were numerous and, in most cases,
similar. For organizers, biggest potentials of art colonies are isolation of artists and time to focus,
the opportunity for meeting new artists and get inspired, networking, as well as the educational
aspect of the colonies. However, even though most colonies do have a parallel workshop that
takes place during the colony, all of them are very simple, non-creative as well as not challenging
and interesting enough for participants. The educational aspect of the workshops requires
improvement, out-of-the-box thinking and greater involvement of experts that will create a more
original and up-to-date program. One of the organizers, in fact, had a very interesting suggestion
for the direction art colonies could have:

Taking into account the economic reality and distribution of power in Serbia, one of
the key potentials of art colonies is the possibility of active decentralization of social
resources through a collaborative political engagement. This way a colony or
residential programs can function in cooperation with existing independent civic
initiatives or, in case of their shortcoming, become the initiator, establishing a
sustainable system of support and education. This form would require a departure
from standard colony models, a deeper exploration of local needs, flexibility and

Curators used the same key words to detect potentials as organizers; however, they also
added decentralisation of culture as one of the key potentials of art colonies. Interestingly
enough, for organizers decentralization is not an imporant aspect of the concept. In fact, if
analyzed more, this can be noticed simply by understanding the programming and the way it is
executed. Moreover, when the same question was asked to artists of both groups, aside from all
the potentials mentioned above, decentralisation also came first to the list. If decentralisation is
not one of the priorities of the colonies and most of other actors in the process consider it crucial,
this suggest a clear disbalance in functioning and understanding the concept.

When it comes to indentifying flaws of current organizational models of art colonies in

Serbia, despite their previous lack of criticism, participants had a lot to say. The consistent
remark made by all participants of the focus group mentioned was the lack of multidisciplinarity,
and focus on (mostly) one medium, painting. For Participant A, other disadvantages included the
lack of connection at the state level, at least through a mutual website containing all information
about every residential program in Serbia, while Participant B detected the problem as being

My main objections would be the dependence on state institutions in cases when this
relationship is disastrous, the repetition of obsolete exchange models and the lack of
proactivity to change it, including exclusivity (participation in a call without open
competition), insensitivity to context and existing resources, administrative
disorganization and tendency to treat colonies as follow-up rather than autonomous

This observation would suggest the urge for colonies to find ways to become independant,
self-sustainable and reconceptualized. However, for these changes to be made, as an initial action
a change of perspective and awareness is needed, which is something that is not an overnight
change. This implies new knowledge, further education and introduction with international
models that have all of the criteria fulfilled. Due to the neglect of authorities and decision makers
of these programs, as well as the lack of enthusiasm, closeness and isolation of rural places in
Serbia, many organizers feel that there is no need to repair something that has been existing for
years and that further changes would, somehow, bring irreparable damage. Artists, however, saw
the internal problems as being crucial and transferred responsibility mostly to organizers. Being
in the center of the happening, their major problem again refers to the lack of multidisciplinarity
as well as a very basic and banal approach to organization. To them, these models have not
changes since their establishment and, while the times, conditions and techology has changed,
these programs needed to adjust. One of the additional concerns of artists who never participated
in the program as well as those who have is a constant fear of uncertainty of what they will arrive
to. This fear is justified by numerous personal as well as other peoples experiences that most of
these gathering transform into alcoholic events, almost whole day parties, where the focus is on
having fun, instead of working. Participant F in her statement identified several additional

The greatest drawback of the current models is the focus on classical media (classical
painting - oil on canvas), and in these cases, attention is not paid to developing a new
idea, but rather by the line of lesser resistance, artists are required to produce a
certain number of works (usually the artist, in order to respect the deadlines make
more or less successful replicas or variations on the subject of their own works
previously created in the studio). The focus is on satisfying what is believed to be the
need of the local community, without involving the colony, focusing on the amount of
work, meeting the taste of potential sponsors, and bypassing a new one that the
audience may not like, without knowing the real expectations of the audience.
Another big problem is the storage of those artworks where do they end up?

These observations were supported by statements of most participants of the focus group and
they tackle the internal organizational issues. Additionally, great indicator and confirmation of
the problem is the fact that even though these issues are solely dependent of the will and
engagement of organizers and not local authorities, speaks in addition to the desire and
enthusiasm for change. The problem of assuming the wishes and needs of the local community is
both wrong and inaccurate. The wishes and needs of the audience have changed since the
emergence of art colonies - the audience is educated, ready for challenges and new approaches,
even if they are not aware of it. Art has the task to challenge, ask questions, and current
organizational models are simply not in correlation with current circumstances and climate.
Artists that never participated in the colonies noticed and connected the flaws of colonies with
general problems of art in Serbia today and it refers to the promotion and distribution of artists.
Without the existence of art market in Serbia, artists face serious existential problems their
work is not validated, they are unable to sell artworks and, therefore, earn a living which leads to
most of them finding new professions or doing commercial work. This is why residential
programs can help artists, especially in countries such as Serbia, to take time off and really focus
on their art, without worrying about life costs.

As a final topic of discussion during the focus group, participants were asked to recommend
certain strategies for improvement of current organizational models of art colonies. Each
participant brought different perspective and point of view to the table, for each of them these
suggestions had different meanings and significance and, in the end, all of them made interesting,
important and useful suggestions. For both organizers and curators, more experimenting in art
disciplines but also in programming in general is a top priority. Participant C stated:

If I were in that position, my suggestion would be to constantly experiment and look

for different, innovative formats and models, consistent with dynamics, tendencies,
and practices in contemporary art. I think it would also be useful to have teams of
artists, curators, art historians and other professionals in the field of arts and culture
who would work together in teamwork to reflect on the profile, concept, organization
of art residence /colonies.

Painting based colonies is not necessarily a bad idea; however, they are in desperate need for
a different approach. Organizers admit that the lack of cultural managers in the field is visible.
Educated experts have needed skills for analysis, identification of problems and finding a
solution. Employing cultural managers could solve the next problem detected by organizers
finding alternative financing ways and creating independence from state support. Both organizers
and curators also recognize the importance of regularly including and engaging curators to the
organization as experts in the field of contemporary art. The role of curators is to construct a
concept, program, follow tendencies in art world and help organizers in selecting artists. This
way, residencies in time become respected, recognized among experts, audiences and get
visibility. Artists in both groups, however, emphasize the importance of connecting with local
and international art galleries and tourist agencies for promotion of residencies in general,
providing fee for artists and change in the funding policies by allowing artworks made during the
residency to sell, which would allow organizers to earn money and become profitable.
Additionally, introducing a more strict policy when it comes to following and respecting
standards in terms of regularly printing catalogues, organizing exhibitions and archiving.
Participant E stated:

Artists should paint or work what is expected of them, and organizers should build
better networks with galleries and travel agencies. They have to deal with business,
watch how to really promote artwork and earn money along with artists if possible,
because the colony makes sense for organizers only if they can sell the works

This focus group showed that, even though group members have different backgrounds and
angles in the process, their attitudes and opinions are not that different. All participants agree that
the current organizational models of art colonies are outdated, very traditional and refusing or are
unable for multiple reasons to improve. Despite the initial draw backs, all participants proved the
hypothesis that the current models require change.

VIII Recommendations

While case studies of five art colonies in rural areas in Serbia gave an insight into internal
organizational struggles art colonies are facing today despite their long tradition and importance
for the history of visual art of this region, focus groups detected problems that organizers mostly,
due to their role and subjectivity, have no ability to notice. Art colonies play a significant role in
art promotion and artist mobility and have been forgotten and neglected for years. Whether for
their socialist references and reminders of old times or for being accustomed to state support, art
colonies have stayed cornered in time and do not seem able to find a solution. Most of them are
state founded, implying that the state has an immense responsibility in adjusting these programs
with contemporary art tendencies and following trends in artist mobility, cultural diplomacy and
decentralization of culture. However, these objectives although might seem logical, in reality are
very difficult to achieve. While the state officially finances these programs, the allocated amounts
are high enough only to cover basic costs. However, even though funding options today are
numerous, problems with art colonies are always a reflection of a greater, systematic problem.
With employees working in public institutions who have not adjusted to a non-socialist setup,
digitally uneducated people who have not been given an opportunity to adjust their knowledge
and the technologically fast world that is too difficult to capture, art colonies (among many other
examples in culture) are facing serious existential and identity crisis.

Throughout the case study analysis and focus groups obvious pattern can be noticed. Those
issues can be divided into several categories:

1) Lack of exhibition and archiving space

2) Lack of standards and criteria for art conservation
3) Financial instability
4) Lack of knowledge in the field of cultural management
5) Lack of experts in the field of art
6) Insufficient or lack of any promotion
7) General lack of interest for changing/improving current models
8) Lack of understanding the importance of partnerships
9) Lack of quality programming

10) Fear of taking risks

This chapter will, therefore, be dedicated to potential solutions for current organizational models.
Recommendations will be directed towards two channels:

Policy Creators and Decision-Makers

Organizers of Art Colonies

8.1 Recommendations for Policy Creators and Decision-Makers

Creating conditions for education of organizers

Due to the lack of educated staff in the field of cultural management, fundraising, PR and
curatorial practices, most of art colonies is Serbia work in almost amateur ways. This, however,
does not imply that the people without these skills need to be let go on contrary, this implies the
importance in knowledge, raising awareness in the need for lifelong learning, specializations or
employment of those with the knowledge. Since most of art colonies in Serbia are state founded,
policy creators and decision makers need to provide conditions in form of free workshops on
necessary knowledge for cultural workers (in this case, organizers). Even though Creative Europe
Desk Serbia had attempts in organizing these educational workshops on, in this case, project
writing55, these initiatives did not become a regular activity. In order for cultural workers in
Serbia to get required knowledge necessary for their everyday work, decision makers need to
make these workshops regular, long enough and based in several locations across Serbia.
Workshops would require project management lectures taught by local experts in this field. On
the other hand, cultural workers will be obliged to attend the workshops and finish tasks. This
way, organizers of art colonies will have the opportunity to gain new knowledge, meet colleagues
working in the same field which can initiate partnerships and will be equipped with all the
necessary skills that will help them do write their own projects without external need, understand

Creative Europe Desk Serbia. (2017, February 20). Radionica za pisanje projekata u Novom Sadu. Retrieved July
30, 2017, from Kreativna Evropa: http://www.kreativnaevropa.rs/lat/2017/02/20/radionica-za-pisanje-projekata-u-

requirements for applying for grants, learn how to create a budget and help them perform their
jobs properly. Additionally, workshops will help organizers gain confidence and understand the
importance of valuing their own work. Decision makers profit from educated staff that is now
ready and prepared to raise the level of their organizations that can become more financially

Creation of national network for residential programs

Even though most organizers of residential programs do not understand benefits from
connections and creating partnerships, a creation of national network for residential programs
would initiate these objectives. Just like international platforms for residential programs such as
Trans Artists and Res Artis provide an opportunity to promote residential programs for
organizations around the world (the first one for free, while the other one with financial
compensation), an online database on a national level would allow organizers visibility,
promotion and opportunity to create partnerships on a local, national and international level.
Nowadays, partnerships are a key element in fundraising as well as in programming. The ability
to create partnerships shows to potential financiers stability of organization, its maturity,
professionalism, expertise, competence and openness for cooperation and collaboration. By
creating a network would allow every residential program on the territory of Serbia to join for
free, present and promote their program and bring visibility which would help in gaining
credibility and gather more international artists. Additionally, residential programs in Serbia
could suggest artists to their colleague, exchange of artists would be provided and, if a
representative of the national residential programs would be chosen, it would allow participation
to many international lectures, conferences and, in general, promotion around the world.

Achieving financial stability and sustainability

Art colonies today are facing numerous issues, with financing being on the top of list of
problems. With programs being very dependable from state support through several funds on
local and national level, many colonies fail to reach their financial independence. However,

several methods can help in solving this issue and decision makers are the ones who can provide

1) Providing expert assessment of artworks

Art colonies today, especially those with long tradition, have in their archives around 300-
1000 works per colony. While waiting for local authorities to provide space for permanent
exhibition of artworks, there are several options organizers can consider, even though the
initiative needs to arrive from decision makers. By providing expert assessment of artworks and
estimating their market value, a selection of artworks created on colonies could be made.
Artworks of high quality would become part of the permanent exhibition and promotion material,
while those artworks of medium or low quality would become available for sale. This way,
organizers would gain enough profit for a certain time period. Moreover, this method would
bring additional promotion to colonies.

2) Tax incentives for companies

As an already proven example in the United States, tax deduction for companies who
financially support arts has been a legitimate way of arts funding since 1936. Almost three-
quarters of arts spending comes from smaller companies with revenues of less than $50 million,
ninety percent of which goes to local arts organizations. Data from 2010 show that 28 percent of
all businesses surveyed gave money to the arts, and that businesses devoted an average of five
percent of their philanthropic budgets to the arts56. Serbia has recognized the possibility of fiscal
measure incentives, and according to that, in 2002 published Article 15 of the Law on Corporate
Income Tax which regulates percentage of tax deduction on behalf of executed investments. That
percentage has over the years increased: from 1.5% in the Corporate Income Tax Act to the
current 5% in the Law on Tax on profits of legal entities. However, experience from practice
shows that investments are mainly small, and that the procedure of returning money is complex
and long-lasting. This requires improvements of the procedure and bigger promotion of the
incentive in the media, which would allow corporations to invest more in arts organizations and
benefit at the same time.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. (2012, November). How the United States Funds the Arts.
Retrieved July 30, 2017, from The National Endowment for the Arts: https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/how-

3) Participation in art fairs

Art fairs are being held over two hundred times per year57. They are one of the most
prominent ways for art galleries are artists around to world to promote and sell their art. Even
though this type of reaching art market is rare, it does not mean it is impossible. Organizations,
such as residential ones, can also participate and find the audience and potential buyers for the
artworks created during the residency. The organization would also gain promotion, artists could
find gallery representatives, organizers could potentially make partnerships and eventually gain

Promoting programs through participation at international events

The state, apart from founding the programs, has the responsibility to allow these programs to
promote their activities to international audiences as a way of cultural diplomacy and intercultural
dialogue. As one of the already established partnerships is the one with the Serbian Cultural
Center in Paris where artists each year get the chance to present their works to the French
audience. Although the open call requires anyone from the field of art and multimedia, music,
literature, audio-visual projections, presentations of authors and their works, panels, debates and
promotion of cultural heritage58, a regulation can be introduced that art colonies become regular
participants at the Center. This way, organizers and artists would make additional effort in their
work when knowing that their work will get international recognition.

Providing space for storage and permanent exhibitions

Probably one of the biggest and most urgent problems of all colonies is storage of artworks.
With colonies organizing programs on a yearly basis, some of them reaching their 50th
anniversary, art colonies are facing with serious problem of storage of works created during their

Sterns, Jamie. (2015, May 13). Art Fairs Are Slaughterhouses. Retrieved July 2017, 31, from ArtNews:
Ministarstvo kulture i informisanja. (n.d.). KONKURS za predlaganje programa/projekata u oblasti kulture i
umetnosti za Kulturni centar Srbije u Parizu u 2016. godini. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from Ministarstvo kulture i
informisanja: http://www.kultura.gov.rs/lat/konkursi/k-o-n-k-u-r-s--za-predlaganje-programa-projekata-u-oblasti-

residency. Although these issues should have been a precondition for establishing the program,
founders of colonies never had a long term plan for the collection. As cases in Jalovik, Zlakusa,
Sievo and Lipovac have shown, majority of previously produced art is currently stored in
inadequate spaces, without a proper conservation. Standards of conservation need to become a
mandatory aspect of every program that is taking over the ownerships over someones work.
Otherwise, colonies are becoming unprofessional and disrespectful to artists. In this case, local
authorities have an obligation to provide an adequate space for storage of works created during
the stay while, at the same time, providing an additional space for a permanent exhibition.
Without the promotion of artists and the colonies, art colonies lose their purpose, which is
unfortunately the case today.

8.2 Recommendations for Organizers

Benefit events

Even though not particularly common in Serbia, benefit events can put art colonies on radar
of many (often unexpected) donors. The event itself does not require large and complex
organizational skills and much investing. The crucial aspect of the benefit events is the guest list
which needs to be carefully selected and chosen. Making a benefit event will enable the
organization to take full advantage of the goodwill, publicity, and new and renewed interest that a
benefit can generate. The basis of the benefit event is raising funds while hosting an event. In this
case, organizers can even host an auction and sell artworks for lower and more affordable prices,
while at the same time raising money for the organization. By making these benefits a regular
event, the organization can over time become even more visible and have guaranteed profit.

Readjusting the program

The experience has shown that artists, due to the fact that they are time-limited while in
colonies with seven to ten days, many of artists replicate their previous works only to comply
with the rule. This usually results in non-original artworks that are of medium or low quality.

Therefore, the colonies have supported quantity over quality which significantly affects the
overall reputation of these programs. Overtime, the collection becomes questionably valuable and
in these circumstances the necessary question is whether this is the right method. As one of
potential overcoming methods is extending the duration of the colonies or lowering the criteria
for required works that need to be created during the residency. This way, artists will have more
time to focus on one work solely that will, possibly, be of better quality. Additionally, artists will
not have the impression of being used or feel under pressure. However, programming of colonies
also needs more detailed analysis and reconstruction. In order to become eligible for applications
to funds, colonies need to provide well thought-out program that responds to the needs to its
focus groups and has a greater impact in the local community. Currently, the only connection art
colonies have with the rural community is the location. Instead, by creating activities that educate
locals in a more creative way that the usual out-dated models of workshops or activities that
would combine local craftsman and artists that could result in unexpected final solutions,
inspirations and projects, decentralization is encouraged and art becomes more approachable.
Moreover, as everyones objections showed, the lack of diversity and creativity in art disciplines
is very discouraging for young artists. While we educate people to work with new media and
technologies, connect and work with different sectors and fields, the colonies still focus mostly
on painting. After creating these conditions, organizers can challenge this idea and be creative.
For example, what could a painter create in ten days isolated from technology and painting
material? Could music be made without regular instruments? What do filmmaker and local
craftsman have in common? Can an artwork be created in only 24 hours? Are we too accustomed
to the accessibility of everything? However, most of the reprogramming requires help of experts
in the field.

Obligatory participation of curators

As a precondition for readjustment of the program, a group of experts with knowledge are
required to be engaged in the organization of the colonies. Only skillful and educated
professionals can create a functional and meaningful program that responds to the local context
and fully answers previously defined objectives of the program. Although the practice of inviting
curators at several colonies has become a regularity, most colonies do not have curators as

permanent members of the team. Instead, curators are usually invited to the already ongoing
colony where their only task is to evaluate the atmosphere, meet the artists and eventually write a
text for the publication printed at the end of the colony. Their engagement will raise the total
quality of the program and, without endangering the tradition, modernize the program so that it
responds to the needs to young artists and contemporary art trends.

Greater visibility and PR

As already mentioned, one of the biggest problems of residential programs is lack of PR and
general visibility. The lack of creativity and, in some cases, courage of organizers of art colonies
is also visible in the approach to promotional methods. While art colonies each year gather
number of artists active in various fields, one of the activities or initiatives can be used as a way
of providing innovative solutions for the visual communication of the colonies. The traditional,
outdated approach of the organizers, as well as, in many cases, fear of reactions of the locals, can
stop organizers from taking risks, making unpopular and unexpected decisions and, therefore,
making actual progress. Current promotional methods of art colonies consist of announcements
on local radio and TV stations, sometimes on the official website and creation of posters. In most
cases, there is no social media presence or, if there is one, no updates on the upcoming events
exist. Organizers are the ones in charge for promotion and, since most of them are have no skills
in PR and marketing, the promotion has no results. Additionally, when applying to funds,
organizers never budget external specialists, in this case for PR. One of the reasons for this is
their lack of understanding of the importance of promotion, as well as the necessary skills for
conducting the job. Although policy makers are the ones who need to decide on the obligatory
employment of PR experts which will be responsible for creating a marketing and PR strategy,
current employees need to educate themselves on the basic promotional methods. Most of young
people today get informed online and without the online presence, colonies will have difficult
time inviting young artists. However, even when it comes to the traditional promotional methods,
organizers fail at conducting them as well. Justifying the lack of promotion with budget
limitations also implies the lack of education when it comes to budgeting. Still, many of the
promotion techniques require no or very small amounts of money, social media being only one
example of this statement. As the focus groups showed, most of participants know about the

residencies through their colleagues or organizers themselves. This suggests that there is a whole
group of artists that is excluded and will never hear about the program.

Introducing participation fee

Participation fee is not a rarity anymore among the residency programs. By introducing
participation fee, organizers can provide better working and living conditions for their artists and
maybe even save money and create a fund. As Alliance of Artists Communities rightfully
observes, a residency that charges fees but provides other services may actually cost you less out-
of-pocket than a residency with no fees but fewer amenities. In some cases, this fee is rather
symbolic and used as a guarantee of someones participation. In others, the fee can be as high as
several hundreds or thousands of euros. However, in order to introduce a participation fee into a
program, a colony or residency needs to provide at least decent conditions from hygiene in the
facilities to the quality material. This way, the organizers ensure artists that they are professional,
taking their job seriously and respect artists. Although organizers of art colonies in Serbia might
think of this solution as a rather uncertain one due to the assumption that artists can not cover
these costs, the truth is that, at least for international artists, there are numerous funds and
councils that offer grants for individual artists that can be applied to travel costs, materials, etc.
Participation fee can be one of the final steps in rebranding and improving the current models.

Using artist residency programs as an organizational model

As a final recommendation that can also be taken as a general theme that has been repeating
throughout the whole paper, art colonies in Serbia need to shift towards artist residency
programs. As already emphasized several times in the paper, artist residencies today represent
upgraded models of art colonies. With numerous similarities and basic postulates, residencies
have over time managed to create a model on its own, whose crucial criteria is to keep track of
contemporary tendencies and art needs. That way, residencies have become what art colonies
should have been long time ago. Therefore, the general recommendation is for art colonies to
upgrade their outdated models and adjust them to contemporary art tendencies. By doing so, art
colonies will not lose its authenticity and tradition, but rather use the right tools and methods to
make the best out of them. Art colonies could still take place in rural areas and organize

educational workshops but, by implementing the example of residencies, art colonies could
provide a more interesting, valuable and meaningful content that will respond to many problems
lack of cultural content, education of rural population, connection with local communities,
cultural tourism, decentralization, cross-sectoral and intercultural connection (artisans and artists;
multimedia; young and old; urban and rural population etc.). Artist residency programs are
modern day solution for artists and local population in these areas to do what artists have been
doing for centuries now, question everything.

IX Conclusion

Art colonies in Serbia have an undoubted potential. The tradition, beautiful scenery in which
artists work and the isolation is priceless. However, it seems that all of these advantages have,
over the decades, become their biggest enemy. Even though the tradition needs to be respected
and guarded, in this case, tradition has prevailed the organization and concept have not changed
since their establishment, in most cases several decades ago. Forgotten by policy and decision
makers and left to lead the organization with the skills obtained decades ago, the organizers are
currently in a very unenviable position where they are trying to reconcile the expectations of local
authorities and community while, in most cases, are very conscious of the out-dated models these
programs are supporting. Somewhere along the way, the organizers themselves have made a
somewhat understandable decision to comply with the status quo for several reasons aware that
changes would lead to disapproval of local authorities, fear of taking risks and, in the end, fear of
losing their jobs. Meanwhile, cultural and art needs and trends have changed, audiences have
become more demanding and art colonies have remained the same. In addition to this, social and
political circumstances have only isolated the country and culture was and, in many ways, still is
on the bottom of the priority list. Development was happening only in urban areas, while most of
rural locations, as legacies of socialist times, have been left abandoned and forgotten. In this
situation lies the potential of art colonies. Established mostly in rural areas as methods for
connecting artists with nature, introducing locals to culture and arts and serving as an inspiration
to many, art colonies still have all those qualities, only they are in desperate need for
improvement of current organizational models. With over two hundred registered art colonies and
many thousands of artworks in archives across Serbia, these programs cannot and should not be
extinguished. They are a uniqueness of this region (although they were not first invented here)
and therefore must be perceived as a cultural heritage. However, even though the state as the
founder of most of these programs should be responsible for their funding and organization,
significant budget increase is not in sight, but this does not imply that art colonies in Serbia are
destined for failure, until some future decision makers decide to close them. There are many other
ways of modernizing and improving art colonies, some of them mentioned in this paper.
Creativity and enthusiasm are free and in the cases or art colonies, where creativity should be one
of the priorities, is obligatory. As artist in residence programs are flourishing and connecting

artists around the world, Serbia has yet to recognize that the beginnings of what today is called
residential programs have started here and that this idea, although may seem new and exciting is
something recognized long time ago. Therefore, artist residency programs should be the next step
for art colonies in Serbia today and the sooner this is recognized both by organizers and decision
makers, the better. As proven numerous times, art can change and inspire communities and
hopefully, art colonies will serve as an example.

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About the Author

Sanja Lazi was born on January 27th, 1990, in Belgrade, Serbia. She obtained her
undergraduate degree at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Sciences, Department of
Journalism. Her interest in art and culture, journalism and project management, along with
previous jobs that usually combined these fields and additionally confirmed what her primary
interest is, led her to pursue a masters degree in interdisciplinary studies, UNESCO Chair:
Cultural Policy and Management at the University of Arts in Belgrade, the partner study program
with the Universit Lyon 2.

Throughout her studies, she has been working almost constantly from hosting and editing
radio and TV shows, writing for an internationally acclaimed arts and culture online magazine,
organizing musical, art and literary events to participating in various seminars, conferences and
workshops that further expanded her knowledge.

She would love to dedicate her time in the future to establishing an artist residency program
in Serbia and the region.