Art and community

In 2018, I moved to Rijeka.

I had been here many times before, but never really noticed the square. It was special in some ways, three schools are there, but it was not inviting, a bit dingy. It didn’t even have a name. I never felt it was a place that called my attention. Until that autumn.

Jolanda was my boss, my colleague and a gallery manager.

The gallery she manages is called Kortil, which in local Chakavian dialect signifies a courtyard, a place where people meet. She decided to create such a cosy meeting point in the neighourhood, the old part of Rijeka called Sušak, nearby the Gallery. What she did still amazes me.

She took art out of the museum and transferred it to the streets, to this very square!

The result of this are the most artistic stairs one can find in Rijeka.
And not only that – she managed to involve the neighbourhood and to motivate them to do something together.

Until moving to Rijeka, meaningful community projects were a thing happening somewhere else. And now I was able to take part in one.
In spring 2019, I joined Jolanda and many volunteers with a mission to make the square look even more inviting.

We constructed a seating area, planted flowers and herbs, assisted school children in drawing the map of their neighbourhood and later we made pancakes for everyone, while local bands were playing in the middle of the square. We even had this thing where anyone could suggest a name for this square. The whole day was filled with laughter and positive atmosphere.

My favourite part was when we yarn bombed the big trees in front of the schools.

Jolanda and her helpers changed the entire neighborhood! And the best thing is- she showed us that anyone could do it.

Author: Anita Ladišić

This digital story has been realised within the European project “Stories Behind the Cities”, founded by Creative Europe Programme, European Commission.