A discussion with ÚĽUV’s director, Milan Beljak
Next year ÚĽUV will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its establishment. In the beginning its work was aimed at one target: to produce a quality range of folk art products to preserve as many traditional techniques, patterns, materials and their use. In the last decade there was a shift in its goal. The former almost exclusive focus on production started to diversify into many other activities. These changes can be seen by the public and producers. ÚĽUV’s sixty-year production and sale of folk art products as part of the programme of protecting cultural heritage has been provided by a network of non-profit organizations known as ÚĽUV PLUS since 2004. Non-profit organizations were created as individual legal entities in place of the original ÚĽUV shops. Cooperation between ÚĽUV and non-profit organizations is directed by a complex of contractual relationships that guarantee a high level of mutual connection and information. ÚĽUV left the current dominant orientation to leading producers and focuses its endeavours on all the crafts and skills of folk art production in Slovakia in the largest sense of the word. ÚĽUV strengthens the performance of advisory and consultation activities and improved education. Teaching syllabi for folk art production courses in ÚĽUV are approved by an accreditation committee of the Slovak Ministry of Education. By opening the Gallery of Masters it created a space for expanding exhibition activities and for promoting folk art production. The software for the Virtual Gallery of ÚĽUV is being developed as the basis for creating a new internet portal ÚĽUV CRAFTNET. In April 2005 ÚĽUV will open their first Regional Craft Centre in Banská Bystrica. There will be many other interesting projects taking place accompanying the anniversary.