The Culture & Art House from the organiser’s point of view

When Nail Amca and Halet Hanım left the Culture and Art House’s management to our association, this task was handed over to me. Being completely inexperienced as a “gallery manager” the responsibility first suffocated me. I learned my first lessons during the preparation of the big opening ceremony and its’ successful realisation. There were a million things to be considered, privately I started taking notes which turned out to be priceless for the years to come. And I had good teachers in Nail Amca and Halet Hanım.

Cautious and provident preparation is one important basis for a successful exhibition, appropriate presentation another. The most valuable work stay unnoticed if no one comes to visit, if publicity is insufficient. 

 First of all a concept had to be worked out. The first principle was, and still is, to attractively present art and culture to the people in  Akyaka. Furthermore local artists should be considered as well as regional or even national ones. The aim being to offer a balanced combination of fine arts, documentaries and craftsmanship.

Easier said than done, where to find the artists, how to finance all of this and accordingly how to present it to the public?

In the first year the exhibition season was limited to the months July, August and September, the most lively ones in Akyaka. Since the year 2002, increasing popularity of the Culture and Art House enabled us to connect the start of the exhibitions with the celebrations for the 19th of May (Youth and Sport Holiday) and to continue in a 2- weeks rhythm up to October. The recurring excitement before every opening and exhibition gives this work a special attraction.

 On the eve of the festive opening sitting together with Nail Amca and Halet Hanım we discussed the approximate number of visitors. At least 500 will come, said Nail Amca and he was right. The next day more than 800 people attended....

 Some of the following openings were very successful, some less, but the anxious and happy excitement of the artist is always the same. Once three glasses (!) of Rakı were needed to calm the artist. In his own exhibition the artist reveals his innermost secrets; gives himself into a vulnerable situation – a high risk for everyone. And always the same questions are troubling their minds “Are the visitors going to like it? Do they understand my request?”

When finally the doors open, the artist’s anxiety ceases, replaced by elation. On the day after many artists can not even remember their opening, for them time has been flying.

 Preparations for the new season are beginning already at the end of the previous one. Usually at the end of December the next programme is defined, afterwards the catalogue with a section for each exhibition is prepared, pictures are taken, sponsors are needed,  the printer has to be bargained with, the media is  informed and the exhibition salon has to be brought into shape. To work with artists, if professionals or amateurs, is very pleasant but not easy at all. Nearly all of them are individualists and have special wishes to be considered.

 Up to date 75 exhibitions of 53 artists have been showed, 24 came from outside the province of Muğla, among them well-known names like Hasan Mutlu and Abdullah Taktak, Cem Sağbil with his bronze casts, the caricaturist Muhittin Köroğlu or Nurdan Bozkurt’s ceramic art. According to our policy each year regional artists get the possibility to exhibit their work, too. Meanwhile demand is increasing and often it is quite difficult to chose fairly and justly. I hope, that we managed to do likewise for this exhibition period.

(For Nail Çakırhan and Halet Çambel)

Thomas Schmitz