Paris Montmartre settles in Prešov

A HINT of the atmosphere of Montmartre, the famous art centre in Paris with a bohemian-life spirit, will arrive in the eastern Slovak town of Prešov on August 26. Visitors will be able to have their portraits painted by professional artists or simply stroll through the pedestrain zone while listening music.
Well-known local artists - Anna Gajová, Juraj Kresila, and Milan Johanides - along with young Prešov student Milan Ladyka and an Ecuadorian artist living in the town, Eduardo Sosa, will offer their services to passers-by in front of the Šariš Gallery from 14:00 to around 18:00.


KRESILA surrounded by admirers.
photo: Gabriela Kutajová

A HINT of the atmosphere of Montmartre, the famous art centre in Paris with a bohemian-life spirit, will arrive in the eastern Slovak town of Prešov on August 26. Visitors will be able to have their portraits painted by professional artists or simply stroll through the pedestrain zone while listening music.

Well-known local artists - Anna Gajová, Juraj Kresila, and Milan Johanides - along with young Prešov student Milan Ladyka and an Ecuadorian artist living in the town, Eduardo Sosa, will offer their services to passers-by in front of the Šariš Gallery from 14:00 to around 18:00. A parade of accordion players, in true Montmartre musical style, will accompany the event.

"The tradition is over 10 years old and it has always attracted a great turnout. People even call in advance asking about the event; they want to have a portrait by their local artist at home. They also want to see the artists, talk to them, and watch their techniques," said Drahoslava Skopárová from the Šariš Gallery.

The artists' unique styles and use of various techniques often tempt people to have more than one portrait of themselves at home. The locals know that Ladyka does beautiful portraits of women, and for the children, the famous Kresila is a favourite.

One artist usually does 10 to 12 portraits during the event, for a nominal fee. Posing takes around 20 minutes. The demand for the portraits is generally satisfied - although local people can be seen queuing up for their portraits, according to Skopárová, the tourists are mainly interested in seeing the artists at work and enjoying the artistic atmosphere.

"We also thought of widening the scope of the participating artists, but the interest of outside artists is not that big. They are more interested in symposiums and workshops where they can create larger, more composit works," Skopárová explained. She also added that each year the organisers try to introduce a new face among the familiar trio of Gajová, Kresila, and Johanides.

Considering the constant and steady interest of the locals in the creative portraits of their artists, Prešov's Montmartre atmosphere seems to be well secured for the future. Currently, the town registers up to 100,000 inhabitants and, along with the tourists, the number keeps on growing.

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