Jovanka Višekruna Janković, ArtLink: Art Needs Company – A sustained alliance of audience, artists, and patrons

The audience is best approached nowadays by festivals and not single events, and Jovanka Višekruna Janković, pianist, founder and artistic director of ArtLink, Member of the Board of the European Festival Association speaks about the ArtLink Yong Talent’s Festival, which begins in September, and promotes young artists through this form of exposure.

Jovanka Visekruna, portret, 2016.

1. The 2017 edition of the ArtLink Yong Talent’s Festival begins on 25 September. What is the concept and programme of the Festival?

I am happy that at the upcoming Festival, ArtLink will be able to share with our audience the art of truly excellent artists – Serbia’s internationally famed violinist Stefan Milenković, opening the Festival on 25 September together with the ArtLink Young Virtuosi, then the French-Russian violinist Fedor Rudin, the outstanding young Serbian pianist Pavle Krstić, and the internationally most demanded Hungarian cellist Istvan Vardai, who will close the Festival on 8 October. Mr. Vardai’s concert will also mark Hungary’s presidency of the Visegrád Group – which was in focus during our last festival. We will also have a Jazz Evening, and Wine and Music parties in cooperation with our partners and donors, for whose support I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude.

2. Besides the Festival, ArtLink is successfully developing a programme for young talents?

ArtLink Young Talents’ Cycle has also become a very notable program for young, talented musicians from Serbia and the region. Our program for young talents exists since ArtLink’s founding in 2004. The first youth program in 2004 – the so-called NORBAL – Nordic-Balkan Chamber Orchestra, composed of young artists from both regions, had a European character. It set off a number of successful activities: master-classes and workshops, a year-round Young Talents’ Cycle for which participants are selected through auditions, and who then perform together with their mentors, and ArtLink’s Annual Award for the Most Promising Music Artist in Serbia. This year we are running the Young Talents’ Music Cycle together with the EU Delegation in Serbia, in Belgrade and other cities throughout the country, where young artists learn and perform with their mentors from different EU Member States.

3. ArtLink is not only the Festival, but an organisation that covers a number of important projects on a broader level. ArtLink is also a partner of the European Festival Association, and a hub for the Western Balkans within the European project “Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe” – EFFE. What news in that area?

The Second Festival Summit organised by the European Festival Association, will be held in September, in Brussels, and will gather over two hundred festival directors from different areas. At the Summit, Festival Awards will be presented to those European festivals that, according to the international jury, merit them. This will be an excellent opportunity for festivals from Western Balkans to exchange opinions with European partners, build contacts, as well as to hear success stories by experts on the topic of financing festivals.

4. How do you secure support for your programmes and what is the situation on that topic in Europe?

ArtLink does not only link artists, but also partners and associates from other sectors, business in particular. Art and business have always been compatible. Throughout centuries art had its patrons, who remain equally important today. ArtLink is dedicated to the development of contemporary patronage of arts, but is simultaneously studying new trends and, in line with them, strives to introduce art, in some manner, into business flows.

That which is particular to art, and which can help develop the artistic scene and profession, is the creativity that art can offer in communication and through cooperation with other areas – not only business. That creativity should also be utilised when important social issues, on a global level, are at stake. I think that artists do have a thing to say and to offer in an era of complete materialisation – art and artist can offer fresh ideas.


In a decade that is not particularly kind to art and culture, ArtLink Festival’s mission is to attract the public attention to the importance of promoting young artists through festivals. The Festival establishes young talents as recognised artists, builds their confidence, professional curriculum, national and international recognition, contacts with other artists, talent seekers and partner festivals. We are, thus, contributing to the attainment of future meaningful employment for the young artists.

ArtLink is building up an engaged and sustained alliance of audience, artists, and patrons, and creating a new, powerful creativity and production lever. I firmly believe that classical music is as relevant and necessary today as ever. I would like young artists from Serbia to be heard and watched in the best musical environment, so that the world can discover and enjoy their talents – because true talent deserves recognition and support.

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