Although the pandemic was ongoing in 2021, it seems that we are slowly coming out of the crisis. What has been the overall impact of the pandemic and Covid-19 crisis on culture? How much have the cultural institutions adapted and recovered?
It is a great fortune that during 2021, despite the pandemic, no cultural institutions closed down. Theatres, museums, concert halls and cinemas worked following the prescribed measures, but they were continuously open and ready to adapt to the new situation. The audiences recognized cultural institutions as safe and secure places for quality leisure time. The crisis caused by Covid-19 led to a decrease in the number of foreign tourists, but at the same time, it boosted domestic tourism and the audiences travelling between cities, which was a great opportunity to improve their connection with the audience.
In 2021, we had several truly exceptional theatrical, museum and musical endeavours of high quality, which shows that we have recovered, adapted and overcome the crisis. The new situation has undoubtedly encouraged museums to be innovative, creative and ready to experiment in order to attract audiences and provide them with new experiences. Numerous innovative programmes have been implemented, such as the Room for Indulgence in Art (Soba za Prepuštanje Umetnosti) at the Matica Srpska Gallery, which is a good example of how we adapted to the needs of our audience.
More substantial investments in culture have been announced for this year. What do we need to do to have even bigger investments in culture, but also to attract more audiences to cultural events?
The news that the cultural budget of the Republic of Serbia has been increased is phenomenal news that will lead to greater investments in culture in 2022. I believe that this is an award for good management of cultural institutions in extraordinary circumstances over the past two years because we realized how important and important culture is for the everyday life of people. It turned out that the restrictions on travel and socializing made cultural content and events one of the rare opportunities for enjoyment, having a good time and acquiring new knowledge. The audience showed great interest, and it is up to us to continue to prepare attractive content even after the pandemic. The budget increase will certainly contribute to making the programmes even more attractive and interesting, especially when the possibility of international cooperation returns.
Greater media interest in cultural content and programmes is certainly one of the ways to highlight culture and its importance through bigger investments in culture in the form of public-private partnerships.