The construction of the Central Community Centre - because such a name was used
for investment plans for a certain period – was enrolled in the official ideology. The idea of building the „cultural conglomerate” had been already contained in the protocol of November 1948. However, the start of the construction became possible only a few years later. The task of designing the Community Centre was entrusted to the Urban Architecture Design Division of Gdańsk Technical University in 1954. The main constructor was the Gdańsk’s Construction Industry. The project structure has been changed several times. Its final look is different from the one which was seen by architects. Socrealistic edifice is today a monument of a bygone era but at a time when it was built, it was the envy of people of culture and authorities throughout the north-eastern Poland.
The moment which greatly influenced the cultural development of Elbląg and cultural life in Elblag, was putting into usage in 1962 the building of the Community Centre of Elblag at Jagiellończyk’s Square. Its construction started in March 1955. The new building due to its location in the city center, excellent functionality, aesthetics and spaciousness, greatly attracted residents of Elblag. From the beginning, in that building there were housed two institutions, ie. The Community Centre and Theatre. With the administrative changes followed the transformation in business scope and its targets of Elbląg’s cultural centre, and thus it changed its name. And so, as a popular EdeK-whose role was the environmental and sectional activity, event organizing and serving facilities for institutions and organizations-facility operated until 1973, when it has taken (in addition to cultural) the entertainment-recreation function. When in 1975 the rank of Elbląg was raised to the capital of province, the status of urban centres has changed into voivodal (regional). Once again, there was a change in the name of the institution which on 21 August 1975 began functioning as a Voivodal Centre of Culture (WOK). In 1978, the Municipal Cultural Centre was formed in order to expand the cultural activities in the local environment. The beginning of 1982 brought further changes in the functioning of the cultural centre in Elbląg. By the decision of the voivode of Elbląg, the “scattered forces” were combined and also the tasks previously performed by the WOK and MOK (Municipal Culture Centre) – was formed one institution, which again was named Culture Centre of Elbląg (EOK). In 1990, the EOK was renamed again to the Voivodal Cultural Centre (WOK), and the Cultural Animation Centre “Promyk” became a part of it. Under this name the “Promyk” Centre run until September 2002.
In 2002, the WOK began functioning as the Centre of Culture and International Cooperation “Światowid”, and “Promyk” became the Dance Centre. By the resolution of the voivodeship council of 26 August 2009, the centre has changed its name again to the Centre of European Meetings “Światowid”. This change was a result of amendments of the statutes, which allowed us to reach the extra budgetary funds and to expand to other, not strictly cultural projects. Adapted - but slightly modified in the spelling - the name of a working here for years cinema ŚWIATOWIT became the official name of the institution. The ideas for organizing cultural life were changing over the years. There were new initiatives and ideas that were brought to life by subsequent directors, employees and associates of the cultural center. To the new tasks and projects had been adjusted also further fragments of the huge edifice.
The current director of the institution, Antoni Czyżyk, represents generation of cultural managers - people who are not only trying to meet the cultural needs of the esidents, but also people who have adapted Elblag culture to the standards of a market economy, changed the way of thinking about the cultural sector in the region and implemented the first projects financed from external sources. Design thinking in culture has led to the tangible results – with the money gained from the various sources, the building at Jagiellończyk’s Square has been continually modernized for years, equipped with the latest equipment and technology. The projects allow to organize interesting activities, which otherwise could not be financed. Thanks to the projects, it is possible to held concerts, performances, workshops, trainings, conferences and projects of international character. It is possible for intercultural exchange to exist and the residents of Elbląg and the region are able to gain knowledge and experience in various fields of art. The ŚWIATOWID has been trying to modernize the building for years – we renovated the arts rooms and ceramic studio and also the Gallery „Nobilis”. Television studio was established, sports hall was modernized and turned into a performance hall.
Various activities are carried out in ŚWIATOWID: educational, cultural, artistic and touristic and also activities for people with disabilities. We co-create the cultural life of Elbląg and take the initiative to promote the region. We try to inspire and promote integration, we expand cooperation network both at home and abroad, cooperate with non-governmental organizations and foreign partners. We are the originator and the producer of many cultural events, we organize artistic events, which over time have become cyclical and gained national and international range.
Currently, these are: National Art of Words Festival „... is it love?”, The International Art Meetings (art festival presented by people with disabilities) organized by the Centre of Art Therapy, The International Dance Festival „Baltic Cup”. With an extended cooperation with other cultural institutions we host in our centre: The International Film Festival Era New Horizons, Planete Doc Review, as well as Replicas of Polish Film Festival in Gdynia and live broadcasts of operas from The Metropolitan Opera in New York and the retransmission of the National Theatre in London. We also carry out activities aimed at the promotion and documentation of the heritage of folk art and artists.
In times of short messages, e-mails, websites like Wikipedia, our mission is to show the importance of the word. In a world where everything is rushing, we want to get people to stop for a moment and find out how to tell a remarkable story in a few words, how important can a simple song be if it contains valuable words next to the beautiful music, how meaningful can the narration be. By presenting well-known artists, choosing interesting programs, using the formula of the competition we pass the value of word. For this purpose we organize National Art of Words Festival „...Is it love?”. There are fewer and fewer festivals like ours. This event, since its beginning, inspires artists and performers to the artistic exploration, has the formula of competition - competition takes place in the fields of art songs and recitations. On stage perform both students of secondary schools and adults. The high level of presentations guarantees the participation of the leading artists - winners of other competitions and festivals. At the same time, talented, promising artists make their debut on the stage, they have the opportunity to present themselves to the public, but also to obtain a professional assessment of their achievements by outstanding experts who sit on the jury. In the role of the jury we cooperate with such people as Jan Poprawa, Jarosław Wasik, and previously Olga Bołądź, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Jacek Bończyk and Piotr Machalica. Competition creates, especially for debuting artists, the unique opportunity to meet other artists from Poland, but also creates the opportunity for the mutual inspiration, observation and learning. This festival is also a series of artistic events, which include concerts and recitals of already established artists. Every year, ŚWIATOWID organizes dance festivals, where children, young people and adults present themselves on the dance floor. These festivals are aimed at people for whom it is the first public performance after the annual dance classes, an example of which is the “Bażant” Dance Competition. It is also aimed at dancers, for whom it is an opportunity to confront with the age-mates from other clubs from Poland. These festivals are the National Dance Sport Competition “Jantar” and the National Dance Sport Competition “Pomosty”. Young people, who prefer modern dance, may present themselves every year at the National Dance Confrontations. The most important dance festival organized by ŚWIATOWID is The International Dance Festival „Baltic Cup” – it is one of the biggest dance competitions in our region. The idea of the BALTIC CUP came from Tor Floysvik from Norway, who gathered around it partners from Poland, Sweden and Lithuania. The festival and its dancers were hosted by Elbląg, Kaunas, Goeteborg and Tallinn. The host of the first cup of the Baltic Sea was Elbląg. The festival has remained in Elblag, inscribing itself permanently in a dance calendar. BALTIC CUP has already become a tradition in the dance world. Its popularity is evidenced by the fact that each edition is attended by dancers from over 20 European countries. Every year, the dance festival is accompanied by workshops and seminars conducted by eminent experts, which have the purpose of educating participants of our programs. During the final gala of the festival, music is played live by Grodno Philharmonic Orchestra. It is worth noting that ŚWIATOWID organizes and co-organizes dance competitions at national and European Championship level. The first major dance project on an international scale was the organization of the World Championship Formation Standard in Elbląg in 1999. The next two were organized in 2005 and 2010. Next to the “Promyk” Dance Center works the “Jantar” Elbląg Dance Club where sports ballroom dancers train. The standard formation LOTOS-Jantar is the gold medalist of the World Championships in 1999 and 2010, and second vice-champion in 2005 and 2011. The “Jantar” Elbląg Dance Club is not only the story of the many people’s lives, but also a large part of polish dance history. For 30 years the club has trained 13,000 people. The region of Warmia and Mazury is full of talented people and places that are worth to show, therefore ŚWIATOWID organizes plain airs and art competitions involving individuals who just start the adventure with art as well as those who have their early successes behind them. There are initiatives that already have a well-established position – among them there are nationwide “Compositions” and “Ceramions” contests. Every year, we organize arts plain air in Kadyny. Kadyny is a beautifully situated village that was once famous for its manufactory, which produced remarkable ceramics. The group of talented young people from around the Poland participate in arts activities, the effects of which can be later viewed in exhibition. ŚWIATOWID leads also commercial activity, organizing exhibitions on the first and second floor of the building, and also in the Gallery “Nobilis”. There are held exhibitions of artists and creators, pupils and students in the various techniques of art - an exhibition of photographs, works made by the techniques of printmaking, watercolors and drawings.
The Centre of European Meetings “Światowid” is a place where interesting people and their creativeness are portrayed. On pre-Easter fairs, which we organize under the slogan „The funeral of Sour Rye Soup and Herring”, and organized in early December The Warmia-Mazury Art Fair “SztukaTERRiA” - where you can only buy things done handmade, often folk artistic creations, as well as natural food. The aim of Easter fair is to cultivate tradition and folklore associated with Easter festivities. The event provides an opportunity for individual artistic activities and exchange of knowledge about the disappearing traditions of Easter. There are invited the exhibitors and sellers from our voivodeship and our visitors can obtain a spectacular unique Easter ornaments, eggs, palm trees, baskets, hand-embroidered napkins and many other artistic crafts. There are also culinary products produced by small family businesses or farms, whose recipes are passed from generation to generation. In that day, catering companies are preparing special displays of decorating Easter tables and the traditional Easter dishes. As a part of the project there are also organized art workshops, where the youngest participants are able to learn how to make and decorate Easter eggs in the „Corner of the Little Artist”. Teenagers and adults can participate in workshops that teach how to create palm trees and Easter centrepieces. Before Christmas, we organize The Warmia-Mazury Art Fair “SztukaTERRiA”. The initiative promotes the traditions of our region and its cultural heritage. The main target is to show the multidimensional culture of Warmia and Mazury and to promote the regional crafts and artists. As a part of the project there are presented: handicraft items (toys, jewellery, sculpture, embroidery, tatting, Christmas decorations, gifts, ceramics, paintings), natural food products (honey, meat, bread, dairy products). There are also organized handicraft art workshops.
During the year, we embrace several thousand students from Elbląg and the region by film education.
In a large hall of Światowid Cinema were hosted many famous film, theater and stage artists. There are held concerts, performances and official ceremonies. Almost every day, people experience unique emotions there – they are moved, they cry and laugh. Like years ago, in the building at Jagiellończyk’s Square are held major exhibitions and events less serious, such as the performances of cabaret groups.
The large hall of ŚWIATOWID cinema is one of the rooms that have undergone a thorough metamorphosis. Cinema Światowid is the only one, through a few old Elbląg cinemas, that survived the collapse of the Polish People’s Republic, the beginning of a market economy, the emergence of multiplexes and successive technological revolutions. It is where were held screenings of the film hits, festivals, reviews and demonstrations as part of the “cinema studio”. It is there, where participants of formed in 1978 the Andrzej Munk’s Film Discussion Club, met and talked about the art. The DKF still exists and shows the non-commercial, artistic and valuable films from around the world. It brings together a large mass of amateurs of valuable cinema. These are carefully selected film projections aimed at students and adult audiences. Screening of the film is connected to a lecture or meetings with artists, and after the film, viewers are invited to the discussion.
The Cinema Światowid is a part of the European programme Europa Cinemas, which already encompasses 69 countries, 1182 cinemas and 3194 screens. The program aims at the increase of the number of European films in the movie listings, the support of cinemas’ activities aimed at young audience and the development of the network of theatres, allowing the common action at the national and European level. Since 2004, the Cinema “Światowid-Private” is also a part of the nationwide Local and Studio Cinemas Network. Acting in the network, the cinema can spread the film culture at a high level. This is done especially through spreading the films of high artistic and educational virtues directed at the younger audience. It also belongs to the Polish Digital Cinemas Network, which is the program implemented by the Polish Art Film Institute in cooperation with the National Film Archive, aimed at helping cinema studios in the transition from analogue to digital cinema era. In the Cinema Światowid you can follow the biggest film events in the world and in Poland. Thanks to the Replicas of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, viewers can watch selected films from the main competition, and sometimes from other competition sections. We are making nationwide film screenings: Weekend of Digital Planete Doc Review, Festival of Short Films, Animation, Documents and Advertises Euroshorts, Grand Off-Independent Film Awards, Sputnik over Elbląg Russian Film Festival, one-minute video shows The One Minutes, New Horizons Tour.
Cinema Światowid is not only about film screenings, but also about education and activities in the region. In summer, we organize a series of events under the name “The time for cinema”. These are screenings of classic movies, exhibitions and events that popularize film culture and “vitalize” smaller towns of the region. It’s also a special place for the youngest viewers. We have been implementing a program of film education - School Film Library and New Horizons of Film Education. Moreover, the youngest viewers can take advantage of the activities as part of the Little Film Academy. Cinema Światowid plug also into organization of national preview of children’s films, and also organizes gratuitous screenings of films from the archives of Elbląg TV, that are mainly related to the history of Elblag and the region. Shows that are held under the slogan “Elbląg on the big screen” - are accompanied by commentary of Juliusz Marek - a lover of history, the founder of a local TV station, the originator of the cycle and the leader of the show. For a few years now, the Cinema Światowid has two cinema halls. Equipped with the latest generation equipment, the cinema shows movies from digital media, performs live broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera in New York in HD and displays 3D movies. The plan is to create a 5D cinema. More than half of the repertoire of the two cinema halls ŚWIATOWID contains European movies, about one third represents American films and the rest are Polish productions. Nearly 70% of films shown in the repertoire are the premiere shows. A large cinema hall (323 seats) is equipped with the 2D and 3D digital theater system, the traditional theater system (35 mm projector), the e-cinema (digital media and Full HD projector) and satellite system. Thanks to the digital surround sound system, we experience fantastic auditory experience during the projections. The small hall (115 seats) has also a digital theater system in 2D, e-cinema, satellite and online video viewing system, 5.1 surround sound system.
The Regional Digitization Laboratory is the first one in Warmia and Mazury that scans in 3D technology.
In recent years, we have put emphasis on activities based on the use of modern technologies. In the structures of the ŚWIATOWID functions the Regional Digitization Workshop. The Regional Digitization Workshop, using the latest equipment and software, deals with the digitization of the most valuable architectural and museum objects from the area of Warmia and Mazury. Thanks to digitization there are presented digital records of historical monuments with a precision that exceeds the capabilities of the human eye. Objects presented at www.cyfrowewm.pl are used in educational, promotional and scientific purposes. Popularization of the cultural heritage of Warmia and Mazury, which is currently available in digital form, and education in this field is also supported by the website e-wędrówki.pl and educational activities about digitization. The plans for the nearest future is to study the digitization of medieval artifacts from the region, the infrastructure in the Elblag Canal (ramps, wooden models and objects in the House of History in Buczyniec) as well as the creation of a virtual museum of the residents of Warmia and Mazury. The laboratory raises funds from the Ministry of Culture and the Regional Operational Programme of Warmia and Mazury. The Regional Digitization Laboratory is to be developed and as a Digitization Center become a space for the presentation of cultural heritage with the latest technology and educational space, which will be creatively inspiring by digital resources.
ŚWIATOWID educates both children and adults.
Besides conducted to a large-scale film education, our art instructors lead workshops in different art techniques. Classes are held not only stationary in ŚWIATOWID, but also in the region. There are not only children, young people and adults trained in schools and dayrooms, but also the people running classes with instructors, teaching other instructors working methods.
Thanks to the funds obtained from the European Social Fund Programme, we are able to accomplish projects aimed at high school students from the area of Warmia-Mazury. In previous years, these were primary schools in Rogajny and Milejewo. Currently implemented projects are dedicated to students from Zwierzno, Pasłęk, Rychliki, Gronowo Elbląskie and Jegłownik. The project “School of the Young Geniuses” included 194 students, 84 teachers, parents and legal guardians of students, and lasted 21 months - from January 2017 until September 2018. During the school year, the project participants took part in extracurricular activities in math, language, ICT, creativity and innovation. Participants organized the “Festival of creativity” as the effect of the activities. The project also provided educational trips to Warsaw, Katowice and Gdynia, as well as trips to the theater, museum or art gallery. The project also engaged teachers from partner schools. We organized training for them, in the field of modern working methods, including the use of ICT and activities influencing appropriate students’ attitudes - creativity, innovation and teamwork. Through the project we wanted to show children that no matter where they live or what school they attend-if they really want to succeed – they will... The value of the project amounts to 1 557 982.32 zł (including funding of 1 479 482, 32 zł). The project “School of the Young Geniuses” received funding from the European Social Fund Programme as part of the Regional Operational Programme Warmia-Mazury for the years 2014-2020.
ŚWIATOWID educates both children and adults. The annual Overview of Senior Teams “What Plays in Our Soul ...” is aimed at seniors from the region. During the event, the teams that work at the Universities of the Third Age or support centers for elderly people, present themselves on the stage Interest sections have been operating there for years, the participants of which have successfully represented Elbląg in various competitions and reviews. At meetings with interesting people from the Warmia-Mazury held in ŚWIATOWID, in series of “Face to Face” audience is always full, entirely consisting of young people. To encourage them to participate in the cultural life of ŚWIATOWID, we launched a book-crossing point which means book exchanging. We organize urban games combining elements of hare and hounds, happening, or even a computer game. It is also an attraction for tourists. Among our proposals for children, we can distinguish “Fairytale Weekend for the Youngest” for children from 3 to 6 years old. It is a series of meetings with the reading-story. Our aim is to promote reading among children and their parents - in a fairy-tale atmosphere, children listen to stories and learn about the important role that reading plays in their lives. The project is carried out once a month, from September to December.
Also, once a month but throughout the year, there are classes from the series “Goblin Travels the World” dedicated to children from 6 to 9 years old. The meetings, which are held once a month, teach the children about the culture and customs of different countries. This event combines education and fun. During the educational course, the Goblins are able to acquaint with the location of the state, its flag, the national language and the anthem. Then, depending on the country, they participate in various classes: art, dance, theater, film, vocal, etc.
An important elements of our centre are tasks addressed to people with disabilities, seniors and people at risk of exclusion.
ART THERAPY CENTRE
Tasks addressed to people with disabilities, seniors and people at risk of exclusion are very important elements of our center. The underground of the building at Jagiellończyk’s Square have been adapted to the ceramic, graphics and art glass studios. People of all ages can discover and develop artistic talents in themselves. In the comfort of the studio, you can let your imagination run wild...
For years, there have been successfully implemented training as part of the “Art Therapy in Education”. Art Therapy classes, through creative activities and atmosphere of acceptance, affect soothing on the participants and allow them to discharge of stresses and strains. This form of the course is especially recommended while working with people with developmental disabilities, hyperactivity, trauma, decreased psychomotor efficiency, low motivation to take actions. Art therapy gives a chance for self-knowledge, work on own potential and strengths. We also provide training and workshops aimed at increasing educational competence of parents and their psychosocial skills. We teach professionals who work with children and young people, people with disabilities and people at risk of social exclusion. We exist to create the opportunity for the residents of our province to participate in the culture. Not only is it for fully active people, but also the disabled, who find it difficult to find their place in society. Our activities in the field of art therapy deserve for special attention because by this we can activate people with disabilities and marginalized groups in the fields of culture and art. High activity, but most of all, the effectiveness of ŚWIATOWID in obtaining extra-budgetary resources and well-developed cooperation with public benefit organizations mean, that we are the beneficiary of a number of EU programs and ministries. Thanks to our ideas - which include artistic, educational and social activities- we can prepare a wide range of cultural activities. The biggest event in the field of art therapy are the International Art Meetings. Art meetings is a wide program of activities aimed primarily at people with disabilities, with the active participation of non-disabled people, especially volunteers. The variety of forms (including concerts, plays, dance shows, exhibitions, conferences, integration meetings, workshops, screenings of films about social issues in the field of art therapy) allows people with disabilities realize their passion and artistic interests in a broad social context. The aim of the event is to present, to a wider audience, various forms of artistic work of disabled and non-disabled artists from Poland and Europe, to integrate different social groups and to align educational opportunities for access to cultural goods.
ŚWIATOWID cooperates with domestic and foreign institutions and associations, schools from the region, as well as with academic environment, i.a of the Warmia-Mazury and Pomorskie. Through the realization of a number of projects funded primarily by the ministries and the EU, we want to inspire and support the integration, as well as international cultural cooperation. In the field of film education, there is conducted cooperation with scientists from the University of Gdańsk (Department of Film Studies and Audiovisual Culture) and Gdynia Film School. Lecturers conduct talks as part of the Film Discussion Club, workshops, meetings and discussion panels as part of the events organized at the Cinema Światowid. With the implementation of activities in the field of art education we cooperate with in the staff of the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (Arts Department) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk (Department of Sculpture and Intermedia). Lecturers lead workshops during the open-air art organized by the „Światowid” or assist in the organization and implementation of art competitions. Normally, we cooperate with the State University of Applied Sciences in Elbląg - especially with the Institute of Pedagogy and the Languages, which students and lecturers support ŚWIATOWID staff with the implementation of educational projects targeted at children and young people. ŚWIATOWID invites you to cooperation and common implementation of various types of projects - from training to concerts and festivals - including representatives of the Central and Northern Europe. We have established cooperation with Germany and Norway. The Lithuanians, Czechs and Slovaks also participate in the projects. The potential of cooperation is determined not only by successfully completed projects, but also business vision of ŚWIATOWID. It is also worth noting that by the decision of the Board of Warmia - Mazury in Olsztyn dated on 04 January 2006 of CKiWM ŚWIATOWID works CBC with Kaliningrad Centre. Its functions include: developing and strengthening cultural cooperation in the Kaliningrad area, organizing cultural exchange programs and also the implementation of projects in the field of culture and cultural education between Poland and Russia.
Events organized in a modern and adapted to the European standards headquarters will be on the national and international level. The emergence of professional learning and training spaces will make us meet the expectations of participants in the culture of the region, country and foreign partners. The standard of the services offered by the institution will be comparable to the EU standards. Events organized in a modern and adapted to the standards of the European headquarters will have the national and international range. Professional educational rooms and training facilities will meet the expectations of participants in the culture of the region, country and foreign partners, and the standard of services offered by the institution will be comparable to the standards of the European Union. Often it seems to us that culture is something without we can’t do anything. Or that a culture is about festivals and concerts on picnics. Culture is something bigger and more serious, something that lies deep within each of us. That is the way we think about the world, life and ourselves. The way that we work, we celebrate, relax and live our lives. It is the ability to create, critical thinking, acceptance for diversity and democracy. Culture is what saves and what lasts. It is said that today without culture there is no freedom, social changes, creative Europe and the sense of self-identity. Bringing such a vision of culture to life is the great challenge…
By the modernization of the object we are going to get new space and functionality for cultural activities, as well as gain new functionality of rebuilt and renovated space. That will give the opportunity to expand the cultural offer of ŚWIATOWID and increase the access to cultural services. Modernization of the building will improve local and regional attractiveness in terms of leisure. There will be:
• The hall of educational cinema;
• The Center of Social Activity (art therapy, activities for seniors and excluded people);
• The Digitization Centre (regional education and promotion of the region using modern technology);
• modernized rooms for cultural education and sports hall adapted to the organization of various events.
The object is to be expanded by nearly 1,900 square meters, which will include the projectional and educational hall, the experience of the world hall, the children’s art studio, the art studio of individual therapy, the painting and visual structures studio, the gallery of modern and avant-garde art, the hall for rhythmic gymnastics and ballet, as well as the artistic weaving studio. The project „Expansion, reconstruction and renovation of the Centre of European Meetings ŚWIATOWID in Elbląg” will focus mainly on expansion, reconstruction and renovation of the building of the cultural center ŚWIATOWID but also on increasing the surface area of exhibition, equipment of thematic studio to the necessary equipment to conduct classes in developing passions and skills and to increase the functionality of the auditorium but also to increase space for the audience hall.