Bridge Guard Residential Art/Science Centre: a story telling and story maintaining method, what was established for keeping alive an important piece of history
The bridge guard initiative is a story telling and story maintaining method. It is renewed each year by a new art work telling the same story in a different way attracting again people’s attention preventing them from forgetting the history of the bridge.
The Maria Valeria bridge crosses the Danube connecting Štúrovo in SK with Esztergom in HUN. It was damaged in 1944, rebuilt and opened in 2001. Until then, the Hungarian population was reduced to a minority, relations between the two countries remained fraught. The Danube has been a border between nations for centuries and has seen many conflicts.
The Bridge Guard Residential Art-Science Centre was established to honor this renewed connection of ruptured communities through art, literature or science.
The aim of the Bridge Guard Residency is to support artists, scientists and personalities from other professions who work on projects which place emphasis on uniting, connecting, and bridging. Support consists of making possible a 3 to 6 months’ sojourn in the Residence in Štúrovo, with the right to work in complete freedom on one’s own project on topics such as integrating, bridging, connecting, uniting opposites, exploring and moving boundaries. A Guard also keeps a logbook about the bridge, meet local people and gave lectures to children.
Beneficiaries: Bridge Guards,children,inhabitants,tourists
Stakeholders: Cult. Assoc. of Štúrovo and the Surr. Area, Cultural Centre of Štúrovo, Štefan and Viera Frühauf Fonds
Financial: Living costs of Bridge Guard: 400 eur/month + 2000 eur/year for equipment for quards=6800 eur/year + 1 apartments (provided free by the Municipality)
Human: 2-3 volunteers, work” for the project cca. 4-5 hours/week/person
Evidence of success
It was managed to valorise the intangible heritage of the bridge keeping alive the history of the bridge and what it represents for the people lives on the different side of Danube.
Results: cca. 60 artists; Guards left 1-2 piece of artworks and all drafts of their works; exhibition about guards’ works free of charge;47 diaries about Guards’ experiences; 80 events; 40 pers./event; Guards meet local children, give lectures, 7 schools, 400 children/year; 1 meeting for former Guards; 1 new book.
-to get popularity of the project, as history and art attracts narrow part of society
-to select the proper person for the next Bridge Guard position
-communication barriers among Bridge Guard and locals-locals not always speak English,Guards not always opened for daily communication with locals
Potential for learning or transfer
There are lots of Art residences all over the world. The establishment of it is, easy, not requires huge financial resources, can be done almost everywhere.
The residency is Stúrovo is unique and innovative because:
•It is a thematic Art residence with storytelling and “guarding an important building” aims. To our knowledge there is no other Art residence, where the artists also have a symbolic additional “function”
•The Guards have to create artworks about the Danube, the bridge, or the connectivity. It is an innovative way to connect art, important moment of history, built heritage and water-based heritage. It can be adapted by towns, regions where a bridge (or other building) was destroyed and rebuilt, or where a specific building is a symbol
•It has a cross-border effect, so it is adaptable in cross-border regions
In general, it can be adapted by every regions which have an endangered heritages/plant/animals/ and they want to symbolically save or promote them.
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