Culture in quarantine. 6 services you can use in Košice during a pandemic

The period of quarantine and the worldwide coronavirus pandemic also affected Košice. How are cultural institutions, communities or the City Council dealing with the current situation? This is a summary of 6 services which you can currently use in Košice. If you decide to make your quarantine days more enjoyable by using these services, you may also help to save these institutions in the future.

East Slovak Gallery

The off-program of the second oldest gallery in Slovakia is known throughout the year for its rich selection of exhibitions, educational and creative activities. It is no surprise that even during the quarantine period, the gallery decided to continue not only in its presentation activities but also in scientific and research activities. On their new page – At home with VSG – gallery visitors can now find many creative tasks for individuals or families with children which may help them develop different skills and creative thinking. VSG’s director, Dorota Kenderová, also mentions the commented tours of exhibitions – Even More – that are available on the web and social networks:

“We made sure that our visitors can watch short videos from exhibitions or guided tours in the online space. In this way, we try to present the works of those expositions that visitors were missed during the quarantine period. We also want to reach out to local artists who lost their way of making a living because of the crisis. For example, a video tour was shot for us by cameraman and photographer Tibor Czitó. We plan to add the extra content and the commented tours to various exhibitions, including past exhibitions.”

Bookstore Artforum Košice

Despite the unfavourable conditions, the most popular Košice bookstore is currently working on the basis of personal pickup, which is available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm. Book lovers can order them via email, by phone or via Facebook message, where they can choose to pick up or deliver books directly to their homes by post or courier. Moreover, Karol Voleman adds that as long as the weather in Košice is pleasant, they also deliver orders on their own bikes within the wider centre:

“We are a small business company and since we have no income other than a bookstore, we must do our best so Artforum Košice may continue. We’ve launched a book delivery campaign on our social networks, and we send invoices via email. The biggest help for us would be the purchase of our first design monograph on the painter Július Jakoby, whose event could not take place due to the pandemic. Since this is our first book, we don’t have to pay anyone out of it, and the entire proceeds go directly to us. We believe that the book will get the attention of the Košice audience because no other has been published about the painter for the past thirty years. We post podcasts on Facebook and open up literary discussions.”

Kino Úsmev

The centre of the audiovisual culture in the city centre has been closed for several weeks, but it has recently launched a new campaign for its loyal visitors with the label Give a Smile and Support Your Local Cinema. Using online purchases in various forms of subscription can support the staff of the cinema during the pandemic period – campaign profits will also help in reopening it in the future. There are forms of subscription for one film or even corporate packages for new business partners. At the same time, the cinema plans to join the online platform for virtual screening of films at home in cooperation with Prague’s Aero cinemas in the upcoming days, as director Lukáš Berberich explains:

My Cinema LIVE is a chance to share the enthusiasm for cinema in the online world. The screening takes place every evening at 8 PM and at the end of the film, the participants can discuss the titles together and contribute freely to any cinema involved in the service. Since we had to stop the cinema and bar completely in this emergency situation, we give our viewers and supporters the opportunity to get through this difficult period and help our cinema back on its feet as soon as possible.”


Regular cultural events during the pandemic also stopped in SPOTS. Their activities are not surprisingly ending this week, though – in cooperation with the Košice City Council, cultural operators in SPOT Štítova have set up a place where to get prepared materials for sewing face masks, which citizens can pick up three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. At the same time, volunteers and Spots’ workers deliver already sewn masks to facilities where necessary, such as retirement homes or hospitals. The project manager of SPOTS, Matúš Binc describes their activities in further detail:

“It’s a way to access people right next to their houses. We were looking for a way to help, and as we work in a community, we took advantage of the fact that we are closest to the citizens. We approached volunteers to distribute the face masks to those who need them most now. If we can’t work in the cultural sphere in the city right now, we help the city directly.”

Poď na dvor community

Poď na dvor community in the north part of Košice (Sever) is known for its cultural and social activities, involving people around Kišdyho Street. Now, they decided to respond to the current situation associated with the coronavirus pandemic, regarding primarily the elderly. According to a member of the community, Ivana Skoumalová, they wanted to focus on people who have more limited access to information on the Internet or who do not have family members who could help them at this time. They have, therefore, printed out information leaflets explaining the prevention of coronavirus with appropriate measures:

“The community should work in difficult moments, not just when good things happen. We thought of our neighbours who may not have enough information and are reluctant to ask for help. We wanted to alert these people to the fact that we are available to assist them with various tasks. We’ve added leaflets with our phone numbers and encouraged other community members to do the same in their homes. Inga Kepková has also sewed two batches of face masks, which she placed on Kišdyho court’s board with the information for free. We want to emphasize that collective work is essential at this time.”

Slovenský Červený kríž

Their slogan “We will help together” is definitely working out during the global pandemic in Košice. On its social networks, the Slovak Red Cross regularly publishes calls for volunteers who are willing to help with the delivery of lunches, care for repatriates from abroad, sewing masks for free or blood donations. Among other things, leaflets inform citizens about the safety measurements and rules related to the prevention of coronavirus disease. Zuzana Jusková, director of the Košice – City area, comments:

“In this extraordinary situation in which we found ourselves, it is a pleasant surprise how many willing volunteers want to help. In spite of the regulations that the safest prevention is to stay at home, they are trying to get involved in the activities of the Slovak Red Cross and to benefit those who are at home and need our attention. We are in close contact with the crisis management team and we can provide volunteers for other services if required. In the past few weeks, we have been able to send the face masks to children’s homes and emergency housing facilities. Through the Slovak Red Cross canteens in several parts of the city, we make lunch deliveries for recipients of old-age or disability pensions over 70%.”

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