By Valentyn Sherstiuk, Director, Kyiv Lysenko Specialized Boarding School of Music [KLSBSM]
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Friends and Colleagues,
I ask you to support and disseminate this (REPOST it with the comment – “I support it!”), an appeal by activists of the movement “Save the Schools for Gifted Students” to draw the attention of the media and government to an important issue for us, especially [in Parliament]: the Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine V. A. Kirilenko, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, S. M. Kvit, Minister of Finance of Ukraine N. I. Yaresko, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Budgetary Issues A. V. Pavelko, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Culture and Spirituality M. L. Knyazhytsky, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Science and Education L. M. Hrynevych.
Contact information for the media:
“Save the Art Schools!” Group: Info.firstname.lastname@example.org;
Chairman of the Board of Art School Directors, Director of KLSBSM, Valentyn Panasovych Sherstiuk: email@example.com, phone +38 (044) 456-1446, 456-6089. (Lysenko Music School: in English; in Ukrainian)
Message from artists and art workers from the Culture and Arts of Ukraine
Save the Schools for Gifted Students!
Our grave concern is caused by the Ukrainian draft law, which was submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, entitled: “On Amendments to the Budget Code of Ukraine” (concerning the reform of intergovernmental fiscal relations) (#5078, from 09.15.2014).
In paragraph 7 of Article 87 of the bill that specifies the expenditures covered by the State Budget of Ukraine, some agencies [were] removed and [instead] placed under regional budgets (Article 90. Expenditures funded from the budget of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and regional budgets of the project).
If passed, this bill will transfer the following six specialized arts schools from under the management of the Ministry of Culture to the local level:
• Kyiv Lysenko State Secondary Specialized Boarding School of Music (founded in 1934)
• Shevchenko State Secondary Art School, Kyiv (founded in 1937)
• Lviv Krushelnytska State Secondary Specialized Music Boarding School (founded in 1940),
• Odesa Stolyarskyi State Secondary Specialized Music Boarding School (founded in 1933),
• Kharkiv State Secondary Specialized Music Boarding school (founded in 1933),
• Krichevsky State Specialized Arts Boarding School I-III degree “The Collegium of arts in Opishnya” (founded in 1997).
The new subordination of such schools to the bodies of local government at the district level may result in their loss of exclusive status as [magnet] schools which enroll children on the competitive basis of their creative possibilities, and not just because of their locale, but from every corner of Ukraine. The very teachers who prepare the future cultural elite of the country teach at these schools. The unique combination of highly specialized art and general education was and remains the indisputable advantage of such schools.
Despite chronic underfunding, the graduates of music and art boarding schools were and are the outstanding artists of the XX and XXI centuries: Volodymyr Kozhukhar, Levko Kolodub, Myroslav Skoryk, Vladimir Shainsky, David Oistrakh, Emil Hilels, Ihor Shamo, Vladimir Krainev, Bogodar Kotorovych, Alexander Zlotnik, Vladimir Bystryakov, Yuri Kot, Lesia Dychko and many others, have created a golden treasury of Ukrainian and world art.
The students of these schools annually receive hundreds of prestigious honors and awards at Ukrainian and international competitions. They are the pride of the country!
They – are the citizens of the new Ukraine – a free, democratic and self-sufficient [country]. Culture – is the water of a nation, if it does not have its own water – it will have to take someone else’s, because life is impossible without water.
These are future artists, architects, musicians, composers, filmmakers, actors, politicians, and writers. They will be watched and they will be listened to – if we take care for them now.
The positive experience of the European Union shows that the network of art schools needs to be supported and developed. For example, in Poland, 250 art schools and 23 universities of culture and arts are subordinate to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and financed from the state budget.
At a time of rapid changes, many things are exposed to destruction. But, obviously, you need to destroy that which is ineffective, and that cannot be said in this case. And what is mistakenly destroyed is often difficult and sometimes impossible to repair.
We are certain, that what cannot be allowed – and not out of negligence, and not out of ignorance – is for these unique schools to be turned from specialized arts boarding schools into general ed district schools.
We demand to leave the state budget funding available for these specialized arts boarding schools while preserving their status.