The tradition of Museum Night in Croatia dates back a few years only, but it is always a great success. In Jelsa, it is usually very low-key, as the little Museum has not yet been properly established, and still lacks a curator. However, the beautiful little space in St. John's Square provides a perfect setting for Jelsa's thriving elementary School (Osnovna škola) to show off the artistic achievements of its pupils. Jelsa's Elementary School knows how to encourage talent, and is producing some very fine young artists. It is also justly proud of its status as an 'International Eco School', and encourages pupils to understand the importance of looking after their beautiful environment.
For the 2015 Museum Night, the school's art teacher Željana Slaviček organized a retrospective of the calendars produced by pupils over the last 15 years. Mrs Slaviček explained how the calndars were produced: first there was consensus as to the subject for the year, and a broad outline of ways of expressing it. The rest was left to the imagination and skill of the pupils.
History teacher Vinko Tarbušković collaborated in the presentation by helping the pupils to prepare a history of the calendar and methods of dating from ancient times to the present day.
Impressively attired in historical costumes, several pupils read out the history of the changes in dating methods over the centuries. They delivered their texts with a fine combination of confidence, verve and humour, with a background of slides for visual impact.
As the space is limited, the audience spilled out through the doorway, but the clarity of the readings meant that missing the slides did not spoil the message.
The standard of work displayed on the walls was extremely high, a great credit to teachers and pupils alike. The paintings and drawings showed skill and imagination. In many cases the pupils captured the essence of what makes Hvar such a beautiful and magical place.
After the formal presentation of the material, refreshments were served while the audience had the chance to browse around the pictures which covered the wall. It was all touchingly simply presented, and the atmosphere was of unbounded goodwill.
The teachers work tirelessly to bring the best out of the pupils, and their success rate is exemplary. The youngsters of Jelsa by and large turn out well, and have an excellent base from which to develop their careers and hobbies for the rest of their lives. They probably don't know how lucky they are!
© Vivian Grisogono 2015