She is only 23 years old, but she already knows that the most important thing is to be responsible and diligent in pursuing what fulfills you in life. Spanish artist Rebeca Marín Urízar gained new experience in the Šopa Gallery in Košice as part of our Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program. Her host entrepreneur for almost five months was Petra Housková. In the article they talk about their impressions of their cooperation, life in Košice and the local cultural scene.
Rebeca compares Košice to a small and comfortable city. When we ask her about the people that live here, she doesn’t hide her hesitation, but finally says that the locals just need to get used to foreigners and afterwards they consider them as one of their own. “For example, when I went to a store, people just nodded at me. They didn’t ask me anything and sometimes didn’t even greet me because they knew I was not from here and I wouldn’t understand them. Over time they got to know me because I used to go to the same places and it got much better. In Šopa Gallery, however, the experience was completely different. My welcome was very warm and they immediately advised me on where to find what. They created a very pleasant atmosphere,” says Rebeca.
She says that she was most surprised by the cultural life in the city. The first exhibition she took part in at Šopa was full of young people. “It is important that they are in this environment and I was very pleased to see that almost 50 people came to the opening,” she adds. She also comments on the cooperation between small cultural organizations and galleries. Their representatives meet not only at the exhibitions but also during workshops and it is obvious that they are constantly in touch. “Given that Košice is relatively small, I think the support is much more palpable here than in larger cities.”
During her stay, Rebeca observed the functioning of the contemporary art gallery, where each member had an additional job on the side. She worked as a gallerist, productionist and even as an event photographer. In addition, she took part in the creation of an audiovisual work Limen by Spanish artist – Marc Vilanova – which he prepared for the Art & Tech Days festival in Košice. “I never thought I would experience such a professionally prepared festival in Košice. I only knew about it thanks to Marc and his work, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the conference,” she comments.
Petra adds that Rebeca was a great asset to Šopa and helped them quite a lot. If someone suddenly falls sick, it is very difficult to find a quick replacement. Rebeca became part of their team and did whatever was needed. “Girls from the gallery are successful in everything they do. Šopa is such a good organization because everyone helps each other. Although they have their own tasks, they can substitute each other, if necessary. They are there for each other, doing great work and being really creative,” adds Rebeca.
Petra opened Šopa as a student at the Faculty of Arts at TUKE in Košice. “At that time, there was no space in Košice for students to exhibit their work. Even though I had no experience, I wanted to create it. At first it wasn’t very successful because we exhibited a mixture of everything, from street art to foreign artists exhibitions to students. Then we defined our vision and mission properly, and today we can say that we made it,” says Petra. In the future they want to expand it and establish further partnerships with different countries with which they could embark on interdisciplinary projects which link art with science.
Rebeca wants to complete her master’s degree after she returns back home and continue to gather new experiences and develop herself. “When I was supposed to choose what I wanted to study, I didn’t like anything but art. I have always felt that I want to go in this direction, but I realized that the study field doesn’t matter as much as pursuing responsibly and diligently what I want,” she says. Last year she wanted to have her own gallery dedicated to contemporary art. Now she is gathering as much new experience as possible before embarking on her own challenging project.