On the 18th of February 2022, István Puskás, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen responsible for culture, presented the 2022 budget for the various cultural institutions and non-profit organizations.
The deputy mayor said that the work plan for 2022 had been developed in recent months, with two key objectives: to serve the city’s citizens and support the strategic goals that Debrecen has set for the future through culture. He pointed out that a sustainable culture is being built to improve the city’s inner life and its visibility.
He said that they were rethinking the system of last year. The aim was to reorganize the network of cultural institutions based on competencies so that they could serve their objectives as effectively as possible. It also determined the budget and the program for 2022.
He stressed that in the field of public culture, a dedicated institution, the Debreceni Művelődési Központ és Ifjúsági Ház Nonprofit Kft. (DEMKI), has been created to carry out activities to strengthen urban cohesion. On the one hand, it covers the classical public cultural tasks, and on the other hand, DEMKI is responsible for the operation of the city’s community spaces and the organization of events and programs that strengthen the cohesion of the city.
According to the deputy mayor, the reorganization provides Főnix Nonprofit Kft. a very strong portfolio, resulting in a dedicated task for Főnix to organize major events in the city and manage cultural projects that aim to increase the visibility of Debrecen beyond its borders.
The Csokonai Theater has taken over the portfolio of the city’s most important performing arts venues. The Nagyerdei Open Air Stage was transferred from the Főnix last year, the deputy mayor added.
The public cultural functions and community spaces of the Méliusz Library were transferred to the DEMKI portfolio, he said, adding that the library now operates as a fully-fledged professional institution, part of the library network.
And the Vojtina Puppet Theater, the Déri Museum, the Modem, and the Kodály Philharmonic will organize their life in 2022 with largely unchanged activities and portfolios. However, the Kodály Philharmonia will operate as a non-profit company from 2022, according to the last year’s decision of the General Assembly. Major music events have been transferred from Főnix to the Kodály, he said, adding that it is not only an orchestra and a choir but also a music management organization.
Theater and Music programs in Debrecen in 2022
Speaking about the programs for the year 2022, the deputy mayor emphasized that the inauguration of the Csokonai Forum Theater will be the most important cultural event of the year, not only in Debrecen but also at a national level. The new theater is scheduled to be inaugurated on the 27th of May 2022 with the theater premiere of Magda Szabó’s novel Für Elise. In addition to performances, the Csokonai Forum Theater will also offer theater tours with concerts talks and will operate as a reading theater.
In addition to the soon-to-be-completed Csokonai Forum, the renovation of the Csokonai Theater is hoped to be completed this year, he said, adding that the renovated Csokonai Theater will be ready to reopen early next year.
Preparations have started for the arrival of the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Debrecen. The preliminary work necessary for the planning will be carried out this year, he said.
Among the plans for the Vojtina Puppet Theater in 2022, István Puskás said they are preparing performances accessible for the visually and hearing impaired. He stressed that this perfectly demonstrates Vojtina’s social sensitivity and its special attention to people living with disabilities.
Regarding the Kodály Philharmonic program, the deputy mayor highlighted the newly launched Zoltán Kocsis Memorial Festival, which will take place from the 21st to the 25th of November. He stressed the importance of the Zoltán Kodály talent contest, which will also be held for the first time.
He pointed out that a commemorative exhibition of István Tisza’s work, which was previously on display in the Parliament, will open at the Csokonai Literary Laboratory on the 22nd of April, and a traveling exhibition of material from Hungarian museums, entitled Hungarian Genius, will open at the Déri Museum this summer.
He stressed that the archaeological collection of the Déri Museum is of international importance. This is demonstrated by the fact that the exhibition “The Horseman of the Kagan” will be a guest at an Austrian exhibition, and the museum’s Bronze Age treasures will be on display at an American exhibition.
An important new development in the life of MODEM is that from 2022 it will have a permanent presence in Budapest with the launch of a project called MODEM Capsule. In addition, they will continue their educational project, which has become nationally renowned and won several awards. Among the exhibitions, he highlighted an exciting exhibition focusing on women artists, which will explore the relationship between contemporary women’s art and mathematics.
István Puskás added that the Árpád Bényi Gallery opened in the Kölcsey Center on Thursday, where a new profile and a new curatorial concept has been introduced to the space.
He said that the International Military Music Festival, Wine and Jazz Festival, the Flower Carnival, and the Debrecen Advent Festival would be organized this year. In addition, the Jewish Cultural Festival is planned for the first time.
Last year, a process was launched in Debrecen to give more space to the national cultures in the city, he said, adding the Christmas of Nations will be held At the end of the year again to showcase national cultures.
He noted that DEMKI would operate 11 community spaces in the city, with plans to increasingly give space to civic organizations, who will prepare exciting programs such as a street music festival, a 24-hour competition for young people, or showcase exhibitions. The Great Forest Cultural Park plans to introduce two new play attractions while maintaining its colorful program offering.
The adoption of the Pop Music Strategy started this year to make the pop music scene in Debrecen as colorful and qualitative as possible, help musicians in Debrecen build their careers and develop artistically, and support them in finding new connections with the public.
Last year 70 bands received support; the support program continues this year. The only music information and talent point in Debrecen and the region that helps budding bands to build their careers will be continued. Last year, the former Delta cinema was converted into a small concert hall, and this year the studio will be completed. DEMKI and Rocksuli are working together to develop further real estate that will provide new spaces for popular music.
A new, very exciting initiative, Made in Debrecen, will be launched in Debrecen in March, in cooperation between Rocksuli and the Municipality of Debrecen city, he said. The idea behind the initiative, which started in Pécs, is to showcase as many local bands as possible in different parts of the city for a day. On the 26th of March, there will be a one-day music festival in the center of Debrecen; bands will play in pubs, concert venues, and community spaces.
Debrecen will be the first guest of honor at the recently inaugurated Hungarian House of Music in Budapest. The deputy mayor said that the aim is to present Debrecen as an exciting, creative, and musically innovative city to the country and to tourists.
Literary programs in Debrecen 2022
The deputy mayor said that between the 5th and 14th of April, Sándor Tar will be commemorated, who would have turned 80 last year, but it was postponed to this year due to the pandemic. One of the most prominent 20th-century Hungarian prose figures will be commemorated with exhibitions, film screenings, a conference, and a book launch.
In connection with literature, it was said that it is hoped to organize the Poetry Festival, the Book Week, the Night of Literature, the Térey Book Festival, and the Debrecen Literary Days.
The Méliusz Juhász Péter Library intends to organize a network of reading clubs called ODEM (Read Debrecen Movement), but they would also like to launch a book lover and book tour program and movement this year. He noted that this year is the 450th anniversary of the birth of Péter Méliusz Juhász, which will be commemorated.
The deputy mayor pointed out that they are already preparing for the important anniversaries in 2023 including the 250th anniversary of Csokonai, the 200th anniversary of the Hymn, the 200th anniversary of Petőfi and the 60th anniversary of Szilárd Borbély.
2022 budgets of the various cultural institutions and non-profit organizations in Debrecen
István Puskás presented the budgets of the various cultural institutions and non-profit organizations in Debrecen for 2022. As he said, the substantial increase in DEMKI’s funding is due to a significant increase in the portfolio under DEMKI’s management. The Főnix has received substantial funding commensurate with its new tasks. The budgets of the Kodály Philharmonic and MODEM have almost doubled compared to the previous year, while the Nagyerdei Kultúrpark (Maintainer of the Zoo and Amusement Park) can now benefit from an increase in funding that also allows for the purchase of equipment. The Csokonai Theater and the Vojtina Puppet Theater benefit from an increased subsidy.
The significant reduction in the subsidy for the Méliusz Juhász Péter Library is due precisely to the reorganization of the task since the community spaces and the costs of running them are now included in the DEMKI budget and not in the budget of the Méliusz Juhász Péter Library.
As he explained, the budget of the Déri Museum is always based on archaeological revenues. The deputy mayor believes that the figures and the programs prove that Debrecen is again preparing for a very high-quality, exciting, and enjoyable cultural year in 2022.