The Jan Skotnicki Public Art School in Grodzisk Mazowiecki
The Jan Skotnicki Public Art School in Grodzisk Mazowiecki offers classes for kids, teenagers and adults. The offer includes painting, drawing, graphic arts, clay sculpture, photography, film and history of the art lectures. Moreover, there are classes for persons preparing themselves for art studies.
The Jan Skotnicki Public Art School in Grodzisk Mazowiecki is an institution which can be proud of its long history. It is one of the rare art institutions in Poland, with such a rich and colourful tradition. While Warsaw, right after II World War, was completely destroyed, a small group of people devoted to culture and art found a shelter in nearby located Grodzisk. Thanks to those people, the Art Enthusiast Association was established very quickly. It had an art section conducted by Anna Czartoryska. It was her workshop which became a beginning of our Art School. On 17th of July 1947 Art Culture Centre was established by the decision of Ministry of Culture. The leader and first director of it was Jan Skotnicki. In 2004 our institution in honour of Jan Skotnicki declared him our patron. He is an authority about whom we must remember. He had the greatest influence on creating a unique character of our Art School. Jan Skotnicki has been a well-known painter, whose pictures belongs now to National Museum collections in Warsaw and Krakow. As a director of the Art Department of Ministry of Faith and Public Enlightenment he was one of the most active organizers of artistic activities in pre-war Poland. After II World War he abandoned administration work and resigned from the post in Ministry of Culture and Art. He took up upbringing young people while many years standing’ working as a teacher in Grodzisk Mazowiecki. Among his professors from Krakow University of Fine Arts there were Józef Mehoffer and Jacek Malczewski. In his all artistic works we feel a spirit of the Young Poland tradition. Therefore he was an ideal guide through art world for young researchers. He was trying to instil not only art technique knowledge and solidity but also love for beauty as a whole. Especially love for landscape painting which was significant for the painters of Young Poland movement. In one of the interviews he said: “Fundamental goal of our Art School is not preparing future painters, but raising the standard of an artistic culture of the society. We would like to make people aware of nature beauty and help them with an artistic expression. We would like to raise their inner life level and enrich them.
The first teaching staff of new-established Art School included: Jan Skotnicki (painting), Antoni Cetnarowski (graphic arts), Eugeniusz Galiński (drawing) and Armand Vetulani (history of art). From the beginning the institution was contending with location problems. At first it was a double room accommodation heated with a small iron heater called “Trzciniak” or “Koza (goat)”. Later, at the end of the 1960s, the beginning of the 1970s we received five rooms on the roof of Family Skarbki Mansion. It was built in 18th century, on the Parkowa street. Although this period object can vaunt with the unique paintings of Jan Bogumił Plersch, it was not the best localization because of permanent artificial lighting necessity and the lack of running water. Similarly, a building on the Kilińskiego street, which was next base, didn’t meet the requirements also. For that reason the institution had to move to the present seat which is located on the roof of Craft House at King Zygmunt the Old Square. Despite initial accommodation and financial problems the crucial moment for young institution was changing its status as public. On 1st April in 1951 our Art School was one of twelve such institutions which had state status. Then the name was changed for State Art School (Państwowe Ognisko Plastyczne). In the meantime, it was trying to standardize the syllabus. However, the unique character was not lost and still the priority was individual touch with students. A course was taking 2 years. Painting, graphic arts, drawing classes and history of art lectures were being conducted. Excursions and trips were a significant element of education.
Actually, from the beginning courses were free, not counting a small entrance fee and low payments for materials and teaching aids. As opposed to similar institutions, teaching staff work was focusing not only on children and teenagers education but also adults. Self-reliant study was providing the best contact with art. Teachers professional advice was indicating amateur artists proper direction of self-development. This tradition has been maintained till present day. Everyone is always welcome and an activity of a large students group is a proof of the fact that the most important are not only achievements but also work for self-satisfaction. Today one of the priorities for our teachers is preparing young people for University of Fine Arts entrance examinations. This tradition dates back to the beginning of our institution. The high level of the education has been allowing young art enthusiasts to prepare for art universities entrance exams. Plenty of our students graduated such universities successfully and became professional painters, graphic artists, designers, art historians… Right after II World War a few students became interior decorators in Central Department Store in Warsaw. Our Art School was decorating the interiors of community centres and rooms of PGRs (state-owned farms). Some of the students were taking part in different competitions and exhibitions. For many years teaching staff was including: Jan Skotnicki (painting), Marian Sztuka (graphic arts and director ), Tadeusz Łapiński (drawing and graphic arts) and Andrzej Kossakowski (history of art). It can be mentioned also that Janusz Michałowski was a history of art lecturer for some period. In 1967 Professor Aleksander Turek joined the teaching staff. His painting and drawing classes were very popular among students until 2009. Professor Aleksander Turek was also our Art School director for many years. His successor were Jan Leśniak, Danuta Reks and Kazimierz Makowski. Since 2002 this position has been held by Jakub Cwieczkowski.
However, for years the character of the institution have been creating mainly by the students. It’s impossible to say how many people set foot here, looking for an artistic impressions and proper advice, which development direction they should choose. For sure it was a few thousand people. Plenty of them was not only inhabitants of Grodzisk and nearby located towns, but also commuters from the capital. This is a significant fact which proves the high level of education here. Our pride are those who graduated art universities and thanks to their talent and enthusiasm they were received special art entitlements by Ministry of Culture. Being aware of the huge amount of people who have had any connection with this place is not only a source of pride, but also it obligates to further work and effort.
Thanks to support of Grzegorz Benedykciński, who is a long standing mayor of Grodzisk Mazowiecki, and helpful institution of Starostwo Powiatowe, our Art School has been still very popular and has provided high level of an artistic education.
Since 2002 a teacher and a painter Jakub Cwieczkowski has been director of the institution. He lives in nearby located town Otrębusy. The other teachers are: Professor Aleksander Turek /till 2009/ (painting and drawing), Jan Balcerzak (painting and drawing), Przemysław Głowacki (history of art), Sławomir Kamiński (painting and drawing, since 2009) and Mario Antosik (photography and film). Art School is open everyday afternoons. There are conducted different classes – model and still life painting, drawing exercises, history of art. On Sunday the youngest students have their classes with Paweł Cabanowski. Sometimes during weekends there are organised meetings for visiting Warsaw Museums and Galleries. These are also available for all. Moreover, Art School organises regularly exhibitions and competitions. For recent years plein-air painting trips are of a great significance. They are usually organised by Jakub Cwieczkowski, both during school year and summer holidays. Once Jan Skotnicki advised to value the beauty hidden in nature. Now the students have an opportunity to become convinced how good advice it was… So we invite you to our Art School!