There are five arts schools in the municipality of Chisinau and over 10,000 students of these are involved in different forms of artistic education. To make education more comfortable and youth-friendly, the municipality invests in the modernization of cultural infrastructure. The conditions in art schools are being improved. These are outfitted with new musical instruments, while the network of libraries is being extended. Each year, the Chisinau City Hall increases the budget intended for culture. In 2023, this budget is 256 million lei.
According to deputy mayor of Chisinau Angela Kutasevich, culture includes not only cultural events or buildings. It comprises the tangible or intangible cultural heritage. As a result of the reorganization of the General Culture and Cultural Heritage Division, the cultural heritage component was promoted for being developed. “Our specific features, as a nation, our traditions, culture and people of culture should be all developed and promoted. By consolidating the cultural heritage component, we will ensure the sustainability and richness of culture, which were omitted earlier,” stated the deputy mayor.
In the municipality of Chisinau, over 1,000 people work in the field of culture. As from February 1, the figure could rise. The City Hall is to announce a contest to fill a number of posts at the General Culture and Cultural Heritage Division. The initial training of employees as functionaries of cultural entities is the main problem. Solutions are being looked for. The persons who work in libraries and art schools are aged 45 years on average, but there are also younger persons who embrace creative professions.
Modernization of cultural spaces
Angela Kutasevich said that the municipality the last few years has actively invested to improve the infrastructure of the city. “For the City Hall, it would be good to have a concerts hall, but we do not have such a hall. But we use the halls available in the city, such as the National Palace. We haven’t yet set this as an objective as we have other things to do to adjust what we have to ensure the necessary conditions. During warmer periods, we stage many activities in the open air,” stated the deputy mayor.
Among the facilities managed by the Chisinau City Hall are the House of Culture “Orion” that provides free activities for children and grownups. Those interested can file an application to choose the activity depending on the educational offer of the facility. The child can be enrolled in different extracurricular activities also through the portal extrascolar.md, where there are presented the offers of different cultural entities. The activities are staged at art schools, the General Division of Education, Youth and Sport, community centers for children and young people organized by the General Children’s Rights Protection Division.
In 2021, the access to buildings that provide cultural services was assessed and it was determined that these mainly allow wheelchair access. There were also staged friendly activities or activities devoted exclusively to persons with special needs. All the specialized educational institutions for children with disabilities ensure the extracurricular component, including dance and music halls. “We make effort to encourage the forms of inclusion, where it is possible. We have activities implemented in partnership with associations of persons with disabilities. The cultural activities indeed require the inclusion component,” said Angela Kutasevich.
Development of area
As from February 1, the children will be able to choose a new discipline – the optional local history course “My Chisinau” – to learn about the culture, history and traditions of the city. This became possible thanks to the project “My Chisinau, Local History Textbooks” that is implemented based on a partnership between the Chisinau City Hall, the National Association of Historians of Moldova and the Civic Group for Cultural Heritage. The history of Chisinau, from the first documentary attestation of 1436 until present, is being thoroughly studied. There was issued a volume entitled “Historical Chisinau”. Four more such volumes will be issued.
Archeological digging works were performed with municipal funding for the first time. Recently, the National Museum of History of Moldova hosted an exhibition entitled “Chisinau: Unknown History”, which presented items discovered during archeological excavations in Chisinau.
Development of ethnoculture
A municipal commission for strengthening cooperation relations with local ethnoculture associations was constituted at the Chisinau City Hall. Twenty-one entities proposed a plan of activities for a year and the commission is validating the activities that can be supported by the municipal budget. The Festival of Ethnicities is the largest event staged by the City Hall. This event involves all the ethnoculture public association of the municipality and the whole country. Many ethnoculture entities have publications that center on the accomplishments and activities of such municipal and national associations. Given the refugee crisis and given that it has closer contacts with a larger number of Ukrainians, the municipality periodically stages activities that involve refugees or those who already live in Chisinau.
Chisinau hosts the Ukrainian Literature and Culture Library “Lesia Ukrainka”, which is a cultural center of Ukrainians. It promotes reading with the assistance of notable personalities of this ethnicity. The Municipal Libray “B.P Hasdeu” is attended by over 1,000 refugees who take books to read. “The mutual knowledge and understanding between ethnic groups are very important in the establishment of contact, communication, relations. The municipality each time supports the activities that are initiated and organized by ethnocultural associations. For us, it is essential to ensure services for all the people, regardless of ethnicity, race, skills, disability, chances to develop, grow, comfort in the municipality of Chisinau,” stated Angela Kutasevich.
In 2022, there were implemented 35 culture projects with the support of the City Hall and with municipal financing. Fifty-three projects were submitted for 2023. The projects that have an impact on the inhabitants of Chisinau, on culture, through the development of traditions and culture, are supported. Among these are the World Congress of Eminescologists, UNITEM Awards Gala, the Reciting Contest “Valeriu Cupcea” and the International Festival of Theater and Film Schools.
Milena Macarciuc, IPN