“While X is drinking his coffee Y paints the work of his life”
The future of Tűzraktér and Trafó is still in question Written by Ráhel Németh, translated by Mária Ballai Ruin-pubs are indisputably among Budapest’s biggest tourism attractions which often serve as cultural workshops too. Many institutions of this kind are nowadays in danger of closing.
Certainly everybody has heard about the story of the popular in Terézváros in the last few weeks, but few people know that in the 9th district is also in peril. The causes of these two situations are similar: the present owners of the buildings need returns.The Hungarian capital city would like to nationalize the building of Trafó (and the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre too). According to an article on Index news portal BKV (Budapest Transport Company) gets 19 million forints (about 70 thousand euros) from the state, but the capital city should renounce the ownership of the two real estates in return. This money would only partly and temporally save the transport company from the crisis, its long-term existence would not be ensured. To pay the debts it would need further state intervention.
Presumably Tűzraktér would not be rented easily because of the reasons mentioned above. If the cultural centre has to move after all, the Theresa-town Local Government’s income would decrease by 150 thousand forints per month and the building would not be maintained, not to mention renovated. Considering the tender announcement the local government would benefit more if Tűzraktér remained at its current place. Because instead of being an empty unprofitable building in Hegedű street it could remain a culturally diverse institute that yields definitely more than nothing. On the other hand the trouble the cultural centre would have to face if loosing the place must also be taken into account. Many people like Tűzraktér, it has more than six thousand fans on its Facebook profile. Most people choose the place because of the company or concerts it provides. Apart from the audience we should not forget about another group. Tűzraktér gave work and opportunity to young artists to show and make use of their talent. The 19 years old Norbert Nguyen Tran studies applied graphics and has been working for Tűzraktér for half a year. According to him the place’s biggest attraction is the artists’ retreat. “I am interested in all fields of art from street art to photography and painting. I have been long looking for the place where I can create something while getting to know others and feeling good. I have been spending all my afternoons in Tűzraktér for half a year. I think if someone strays in here for a coffee or beer he sees nothing of what is happening right there. While X is drinking his coffee Y paints the work of his life. This building is also an artists’ retreat where there are wide possibilities for young artists and not just for famous ones. ” Despite of the approaching deadline the artists, employees and fans of the cultural centre did not give up the hope to reason with the local government, on 25th March they organized a protesting march in the afternoon, and a big party with the concerts of previously performing bands in the evening. The local government held out the prospect of reconsidering the rent if the tender is unsuccessful and making other conditions for using the building. At the end of March it turned out that nobody wanted the building. Nobody could pay 10 million forints for the rent and the renovation. Tűzraktér did not apply for the tender but handed in its future economic plan to the local government. Two days earlier the most disadvantageous pictures of untidy rooms and dirty toilets in Tűzraktér were presented on the homepage of the Theresa-town Local Government which showed nothing about the actual activities of the Artists’ Retreat and the ateliers full of paintings. However on 31th March the decision-makers of the local government reconsidered the building’s situation on the evening board meeting. Considering the circumstances they decided to discuss the case in the following month, till then the artists’ retreat remains open. The management of the Tűzraktér published the favourable developments on its Facebook page and thanked the support of the fans as well. On the grounds of Thursday’s decision there is still hope that the Theresa-town Local Government would support the cultural activities in Tűzraktér instead of pursuing the highest possible income which seems temporarily unsuccessful anyway. The 18 years old high school student Zoltán Buka is one of the optimists. “As a matter of fact, I have been in Tűzraktér only for a few times but I know what attracts so many young artists here from every corner of the city. The artists’ retreat is a great example of the modern self-organizing art life in Budapest and that is why it would be a shame if it closed. I have pleasant memories of the place: one of my writings was published here for the first time.”
Original article in Hungarian: http://budapest.cafebabel.com/hu/post/2011/04/04/Kultur%C3%A1lis-k%C3%B6zpont-vagy-bev%C3%A9teli-forr%C3%A1s