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Central Square. In Search of the Centre

Exhibition curator
Bartosz Arkuszewski, Piotr Kapusta
2022.12.11 time 12.00 Nowa Huta Museum
Ticket prices for the exhibition
Normal ticket 14.00 zł
Reduced ticket 10.00 zł
Ticket for group 10.00 zł
Reduced ticket for group 9.00 zł
Family Ticket 28.00 zł

The Nowa Huta Museum, a branch of the Museum of Krakow, invites you to another exhibition bringing closer the history of the city's youngest district.

This time the protagonist of the exhibition in the former Światowid cinema will be Central Square. Central Square, which, in the opinions of many Nowa Huta residents, but not only, is the heart of Nowa Huta. But is it for sure?

It is precisely the question about the “centrality” of Central Square that the authors of the exhibition try to answer, pointing out this issue already in its title (Central Square. In Search of the Centre). However, they let visitors answer this question.

“The key issue of the exhibition is what Central Square is in the eyes of the residents of Nowa Huta; what functions and roles it has played and continues to play today in the lives of Nowa Huta’s residents”, the exhibition's curators, Bartosz Arkuszewski and Piotr Kapusta, write in the exhibition's catalogue.
“Despite the many changes that have taken place within its boundaries, Central Square continues to be a place of significance to Nowa Huta. Here, we deliberately avoid the word “centre”, although considerations about it can be found throughout the exhibition. Whether Central Square is the centre of Nowa Huta remains an open question. We attempted to show different perspectives on the perception of Central Square, letting viewers to decide whether the square is the centre of Nowa Huta. Hence, the dose of uncertainty and processual understanding of this site in the subtitle of the exhibition: In Search of the Centre. We would like to invite you to search for Nowa Huta's centre together and see if Central Square, as its name suggests, has been and continues to be the centre of Nowa Huta.

Without getting into a discussion about whether or not Central Square is the centre of Nowa Huta, there is one thing we can say for sure: it is an extremely important place for Nowa Huta residents. The authors of the exhibition emphasise this fact, while recalling the history of the planned change of the square's name. In 2004, Krakow councillors proposed changing the name of Central Square to Ronald Reagan Square. It didn’t take long for the public to react. The residents formed the Committee for the Defence of Central Square, and their actions helped to establish a mutually satisfactory compromise. On September 8, 2004, the councillors adopted the official name of the place: R. Reagan Central Square. But listening to the daily conversations of Nowa Huta residents, you will continue to hear the usual name “Central Square” or, in short, “Central”.

The exhibition consists of several segments: “The Centre”, “City Centres”, “Names of Central Square and the Committee for the Defence of the Name of Central Square”, “Architectural and Urban Centre”, “Transportation Centre”, “Commercial and Service Centre”, “Daily Life Around Central Square”, “Recreation Centre – a Word on Nature and Ecology”, and “Endings”. A highlight of the exhibition, especially for younger visitors, will be the street scales and a soda maker.

The exhibition will feature many archival photographs, paintings and drawings showing Central Square and its immediate surroundings. There will also be everyday items that could be bought in stores around the square, such as Cepelia, a bookshop, a stationery shop, Moda Polska, a philatelic shop, and home furnishings shop.

An integral part of the exhibition will be a display of works by students of the Landscape Architecture Department of the Faculty of Architecture at the Cracow University of Technology. The works were prepared under the direction of Przemysław Kowalski PhD, Eng., and Miłosz Zieliński PhD, Eng. of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The works present visions for the design of Central Square, which can be brought down to the following question: What to do to give Central Square back to the residents?

The visualisations presented constitute a part of the entire project. So the choice is dictated by the desire to draw public attention to the heart of Nowa Huta – Central Square. In fact, students developed designs for the space covering almost the entire “old Nowa Huta” together with the Nowa Huta Meadows.

The works show different approaches, a different understanding of urban space, and different design sensitivity. However, what they do have in common is the desire to integrate individual interiors and to create a coherent network of public spaces with a clear contribution of the factor of greenery as well as pro-ecological and pro-social solutions.
Exhibition curator
Bartosz Arkuszewski, Piotr Kapusta
2022.12.11 time 12.00 Nowa Huta Museum
Ticket prices for the exhibition
Normal ticket 14.00 zł
Reduced ticket 10.00 zł
Ticket for group 10.00 zł
Reduced ticket for group 9.00 zł
Family Ticket 28.00 zł

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