Since 2000, SCCA has operated as an independent, non-profit professional organization, led by a five-member executive board. SCCA’s team consists of a director, three program coordinators and two freelance associates.
SCCA is located in two rented spaces at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo (the office and library are in the cupola and the Internet café is on the ground floor of AFA building) and also rents one studio (where the multimedia production is located).
SCCA is one of the founding members of the International Contemporary Art Network (ICAN), the successor of the network of Soros Centers for Contemporary Art; it is also one of the founding members of the Balkan Art Network (BAN).From its beginnings, SCCA has produced and organized numerous exhibitions, art actions, workshops, seminars, lectures and presentations in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and abroad; the Center has supported the production of artworks, produced a number of multimedia works, published catalogues and other art publications, and assembled art documentation.
SCCA does not have its own gallery space. SCCA is a mobile art center, complementary and alternative in relation to the already existing art institutions.
Most of its projects, such as annual exhibitions, are held in open spaces of the city. The change of environment, the relocation from art-oriented space (the gallery) to non-art-oriented space (the street), changes an artist’s manner of thinking and behaving, his/her choice of subject matter and materials, and his/her way of communication with the public. New meeting places and new art scene are created. Art becomes a part of everyday life. The emergence of this new concept not only relates to a change in the artistic paradigm, but also to a change in the understanding of the function of culture and art. This kind of concept has proved itself to be productive, has expanded the notion of art, and has become a corrective agent to local artistic and public life.
SCCA is a gathering place, an active promoter of new cultural model, new events and developments in art. It unites the functions of institution (information/documentation / education center) and active participant in the artistic scene (production center). As the cultural life in the city is mainly reduced to the level of one-time events or traditional manifestations for the general public, the Center considers that its primary role is to keep program continuity on three basic levels:
local – locallocal – international international – localSCCA recognizes, articulates, supports and stimulates (in terms of production, organization and expertise) new tendencies and needs in contemporary art, and to educate students and emerging artists in subjects that are not available in schools or other academic programs.
SCCA develops two-way communication between BH and international artistic communities, and promotes new forms of art beyond territorial boundaries.
SCCA establishes active cooperation with BH artists in the Diaspora, and with artists and similar centers in neighboring countries and in the region.
SCCA directs its attention, first of all, towards the broadest, non-artistic public. Its goal is to bring this public closer to new and unconventional art (public art, site-specific art, environmental art, activist art, new media art), which occurs in “non-artistic” places, has a humanizing effect on the social and urban space and becomes part of everyday life. On the other side, SCCA directs its attention to young people-high-school students and students of the Academy of Fine Arts and other university faculties, who, with education and opportunities to realize their own projects, become (emerging) artists or a new dedicated public.
SCCA, with its technical resources and flexible organizational structure, it is qualified to carry out long-term projects. Depending on conditions and changes in the environment, it is able to react quickly to new situations, adapting its working materials and methods, but remaining true to its primary function of an institution and active participant in the scene, one that engages in the production, promotion and development of contemporary art and new media in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH).
SCCA secures its financial support from domestic and international grants and donations, and on the basis of proposed projects.
SCCA from 1996 to 2000Soros Center for Contemporary Art was founded in 1996 as one of the last in the network of twenty Soros Centers for Contemporary Art in Central and Eastern Europe. Its organizational and program structure was based on a concept common to all the centers in the network. The primary intention of the whole project was the creation of a contemporary, flexible organization that could act as a corrective agent or complement the institutions of the old system; the program mission was to keep contemporary art alive in countries in transition and ensure its participation in international artistic currents. Its basic activities – documentation (creating a database and forming a library), awarding donations (financing and co-financing programs and projects of institutions and individuals), organizing annual exhibitions and collaborating with other centers – were adapted to local needs and conditions.
SCCA’s First Annual Exhibition in 1997, “Meeting Point”, – a two-month series of installations, actions and performances in creative response to the historical and architectural context of one specific place, the summer garden “Culhan” located in the remains of a 16th-century Turkish bath in the heart of Bašcaršija (the old town), and the screening of collected video works that were created during and immediately after the war – defined the fundamental programmatic directives of SCCA.
As a result of great interest and the need to systematically continue what was begun the year before, 1998 and 1999 initiated a new projects in out door spaces and continued work in the electronic and digital arts. A technical base was created for the multimedia production, which enabled a large number of artists to create higher quality and more professional video works, as well as the means by which the Center could document its own activities and the activities of artists. Video works and installations produced in have been presented in the museums, galleries, festivals and exhibitions in the country and abroad. Parallel to its production, SCCA also organizes educational activities in this field via workshops and seminars (the Academy of Fine Arts still does not have a multimedia department).
Until 2000 SCCA organized three Annual Exhibitions (“Meeting Point”, summer café Culhan, 1997; “Beyond the Mirror”, different locations / sites in the city, 1998; “Under construction”, facade of the National Gallery of BH, 1999), realized and supported the production of numerous groups’ and individual projects.
SCCA since 2000In 2000, SCCA officially registered as an association of citizens (that is, a non-profit organization), changing its strategy and tactic, but not its essence. Attention was directed to the “export” of new art from BH, art that was already recognized as having originated with SCCA’s support.
In 2001 SCCA founded Internet café