Hungary arts incubator offers home to alternative types

BUDAPEST- A new arts and cultural "incubator" in Budapest has proved a hit with alternative creative companies and a response to Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ultra-conservative culture policies.
Since the Juranyi Community House opened late last year, the number of companies and groups renting workshop space there has risen to over 50.

Theatre companies, dance groups, animation workshops, artist studios and graphic designers have all gravitated to the Juranyi, a former school building rented from the municipality.
"It's a great opportunity for independent companies and people to rent a common space to work," the composer Tibor Szemzo told AFP.
Agnes Bakk, head of communications for the Fuge association which manages the centre, close to the Szell Kalman square transport hub on the Buda side of the Danube, says the "incubator feeling" is key to the Juranyi's popularity.
"We're curious what can happen when a performing arts organisation works together with other types of creative group," she told AFP.
The Juranyi also hosts an art gallery and costume-hire facility, as well as one of the few theatre spaces existing on the Buda side of the river Danube.
"It is important for us to be in a community rather than working alone in a workshop," said Dora Juhasz, a fashion designer for the Lucky Shepherd company.
Fuge also provides ancillary services like help with writing grant applications and marketing productions.
"We're an umbrella organisation, harmonising the different activities of tenants and letting the artists focus on their work," Agnes Bakk said.
In recent years, Orban has favoured artists and managers close to the far right, including even some anti-Semites, notably in the theatre world.

Sunday, April 7th 2013

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