FRESHMEN’S: ‘Homeless’ Art Space Debuts in Abandoned Storefront

On Thursday 31 July, a unique, grassroots organization opened its doors to the public. Freshmen’s, a new gallery space and virtual platform, presented their debut exhibition, titled Emotions of Digital Memory by Peter Cvik, which is running until 10 August. Graduates behind this project, which had been in development since 2010, are Ján Ptačin, Ondrej Zachar, Alexander Kmeť, Michal Lošonský, and Paulina Ebringer.

The venue is located on Židovská ul. 3 under Bratislava Castle, and will be used as Freshmen’s gallery space for the following two months. The ‘homeless’ organization will periodically switch venues depending on availability and sponsorship, always moving from one place to another. While small and unassuming, with the help of dedicated art graduates the abandoned storefront became a professional showroom of fine art pieces, adding culture to the poor shape of this historically significant neighborhood.

Lack of financial opportunities for artists in Slovakia result in lost talent and cultural potential. This decreases cultural knowledge and development in general, and as such, weakens future prospective for exposure and sponsorship availability that are necessary for reform. The effort of Freshmen’s initiative helps bring attention to these issues, addressing them through a concept that works to facilitate communication, exposure, opportunity, and cultural development.

As their main objective, Freshmen’s seeks to actively improve the market conditions under which contemporary Slovakian artists are expected to perform. The idea behind Freshmen’s Gallery Space is to help revert the apparent lack of state and public interest in fine contemporary art, which primarily affects young artists, students, and graduates. With state and other forms of external sponsorship being insufficient, artists end up accepting various types of employment to support themselves, unable to dedicate time and money necessary for the creative process.

Using a web platform and an interactive approach to exhibiting art, the space functions as a physical and a virtual gallery for art students and graduates, but also as a creative workspace open to public inclusion and participation.

This concept provides a platform for the creation of collaborative relationships between artists, curators, art collectors, sponsors, and the public.  It allows the public to gain firsthand knowledge of the art world and of the creative process, as well as to support development of young talent. Freshmen’s will actively incorporate other forms of collaboration, such debates, workshops, and other interesting activities.

The author of the running exhibition, Phd. Art student at AFAD Peter Cvik, made a strong opening with five acrylic paintings on canvas from his fresh series Emotions of Digital Memory. Up until 10 August, Peter Cvik will spend time creating artwork inside the gallery itself. These pieces will be shown as a second part of his exhibition, which will take place on Friday, 8 August at 7:00 pm at Židovská ul. 3. Besides Freshmen’s, Cvik is currently showcasing at two other venues, the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, and Guláš 3 in River Park Gallery Bratislava.

Show support for fresh art. Visit the gallery, come see an exhibition, or become otherwise involved. To learn more about contemporary art, this project, the people behind it, or about how to get involved, Facebook or visit and subscribe to the list serve.

By Dorota Jakalova

Photos: Halanova Laurinc Photography

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