Polish-Czech cooperation is only natural since both countries share a border and history. However, the times of socialism were not conducive to integration or exchange of experiences. The border on the Olza river divided Cieszyn into two cities and it was one of the most heavily guarded borders. Together, we have executed several artistic and educational projects with the participation of students and academics from University of Ostrava and University of Silesia, school students and people associated with such institutions as: Zamek Cieszyn, Dom Narodowy in Cieszyn and both Cieszyn Town Halls – Czech and Polish. Several border land galleries also took part in the project: Magna Gallery from Ostrava, Chagall Gallery from Karvina, Uniwersytecka Gallery from Cieszyn. The most important projects executed together are: Contacts (Kontakty) I, II and III, Galerie 05, Tales and legends of the Cieszyn Silesia (Podania i legendy Śląska Cieszyńskiego), Touches by Graphic Art of Visegrad's Four, CK Design and Borderline.
The projects were financed from the Phare funds and regional funds for cultural development. Many of the projects were carried out despite a lack of external financing and only because there was a desire to create something together.
CONTACTS (KONTAKTY) is a series of projects initiated by the Magna Gallery in Ostrava in 2002. The purpose of the project was the exchange of experience through joint artistic activities, workshops, exhibitions and seminars. The initiative was born when Poland and the Czech Republic weren’t yet EU members and several actions were being undertaken in order to stimulate the cross-border cooperation. Each edition of the project was followed by a publication documenting its events.
There were four editions. The second edition was organized by the Polish side and other editions were organized by Magna Gallery in Ostrava and the University of Ostrava.
“CONTACTS II – art beyond borders” (“KONTAKTY II – sztuka ponad granicami”), financed from PHARE funds, coordinated by Małgorzata Łuszczak.
Polish and Czech students who participated in the workshops in Cieszyn and Ostrava created several dozen pieces of art which were presented at various exhibitions. More information can be found in the publication.
Tales and Legends of the Cieszyn Silesia (“Podania i Legendy Śląska Cieszyńskiego”) – is a project of the Faculty of Ethnology and Educational Science financed from the Phare funds. Małgorzata Łuszczak organized open air workshops in Ustroń and exhibitions in Wisła and Cieszyn with the participation of artists – professors from the Institute of Art in Cieszyn.
Galleries 2005 – Project of the Magna Gallery in Ostrava, the Czech Republic – presentation of borderland galleries from the Czech Republic and Poland, a project co-financed by European Union and Moravian-Silesian Region. Małgorzata Łuszczak was the curator of the exhibition at the Galeria Uniwersytecka in Cieszyn.
Other galleries participating in the project: Galeria BWA and Galeria Fraktal Bielsko-Biała; Galeria Vytvarne Umeni in Ostrava; Mueum v Bruntale, Hrad Sovinec, Bruntal; Vystavni Sin Vilema Munscheho, Havirov; Beskidzka Galeria Sztuki, Szczyrk; Dum Umeni in Opava; Fotograficka galerie Fiducia, Galeria Beseda, Galeria 7, Vytvarne centrum Chagal, Galeria Magna, Galeria Mlejn, Ostrava; Galeria Languve Dum, Frydek-Mistek; Galeria ”Nad księgarnią”, Galeria Dom Narodowy, Galeria Szara, Galeria 13 and Galeria Uniwersytecka, Cieszyn
Touches by Graphic Art of Visegrad's Four, Galeria Chagall in Karvina. The purpose of the project was to exchange experience between Polish, Czech, Hungarian and Slovak artists through joint artistic endeavours, visits, meetings, private views and exhibitions. Artists associated with the following galleries participated in the project: Chateau Gallery Chagall Karvina, Nograd Historical Museum Salgotarjan, University of Silesia in Katowice, Galeria Uniwersytecka Cieszyn, The Novohrad Museum and Gallery in Lucenec. The project concluded with a publication.
The exhibition opening in Chagall gallery in Karvina, the Czech Republic
The exhibition opening in Nowohradzkiego Muzeum, Lucenec, Slovacia
The exhibition opening in University gallery, Cieszyn, Poland
ART CIRCLES (Kręgi sztuki) – Małgorzata Łuszczak organized and managed workshops, exhibitions and seminars, participated in concerts and panel discussions under the International Festival of Art Schools – Art Circles (Kręgi Sztuki):
2010 – Borderline, Polish-Czech workshops with the participation of students and academics from art departments of the University of Ostrava and the University of Silesia. The purpose of the workshops was to work together and create an art object in a public space. To impart the workshops with symbolism, they were held on the bridge over the Olza River which forms a border between Poland and the Czech Republic. The Olza River also divides Cieszyn into two parts and for years it separated the Polish and Czech communities. Today, the bridge connects people and the artistic endeavours of Polish and Czech students help to create a new image of Cieszyn.
2011-2012 – art workshops for children and their parents titled A Friendly House (“Przyjazny dom”), The Butterfly Republic (“Republika motyli”) and A Minute from Cieszy (“Minutka z Cieszyna”) combine fun and artistic activities in the open air on both sides of the Olza River. Hosts of the workshops: Katarzyna Kroczek-Wasińska, Kaja Renkas, Hanna Grzonka, Katarzyna Pyka i Małgorzata Łuszczak.