International Festival KotorArt is the most complex art festival in Montenegro. For the past eight years, it has been officially a festival of special importance for the culture of Montenegro, it enjoys an international reputation, brings together the world’s greatest artists and attracts a wide range of audience with its quality and diversity.
This year, Festival takes place through four program segments: KotorArt Festival of Klapa Perast, KotorArt Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children, KotorArt Don Branko’s Music Days, and KotorArt Philosophers’ Square.
The core values of this elaborate multiartistic event are: artistic quality, diversification of programs and audience, expansion of festival activities, in terms of time and to other fields (education, tourism, environmental activities, publishing, etc). Also, it is characterized by strong ties with the local community and strengthening the spirit of belonging, as well as a tendency for the Festival to contribute to the creation of a desirable identity of the town.
KotorArt continuously and consistently cultivates the idea that Kotor, a town that belongs to the world’s cultural heritage under the protection of UNESCO, is an ideal place for filling each street and square with art.
The festival creates benefits for the development of cultural tourism in Kotor, promotion of the town abroad and a significant contribution to the international image of Kotor as an inevitable destination with a rich cultural offering.
Some of the features of KotorArt are, as well, cooperation with public, private and NGO sector at local and national level, and links to the international artistic community through cooperation with numerous organizations, artistic agencies, and associations from all over the world.
The Festival is distinguished by its aspiration to become more than an attraction by which Kotor is recognizable – to become a destination in itself.
For a decade and a half, KotorArt has become a great and important idea, a part of the Kotor and the Montenegrin cultural identity.
The festival was founded in 2002 as an Independent Initiative in Culture, that is, as a festival of art music, open from the beginning to the idea of expanding its program.
The event was created as a high spot of the concert season which was initiated in September, 2001 at the Music School in Kotor by Don Branko Sbutega and Ratimir Martinović. Don Branko Sbutega, an intellectual and visionary, immediately realized the importance and far-reaching effects of the idea, which he readily supported as one of the Festival founders and its honorary president.
During its first seven years of existence as a music festival, KotorArt built a national and international image of a first-class artistic event, which brought the European and world’s musical elite in the Town and Montenegro.
In 2009, by merging all existing relevant Kotor Festivals into one, with the Agreement signed between their producers, the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Kotor, today’s KotorArt was created. According to the signed Agreement, some of the major summer events in Kotor joined and accepted the aforementioned image and, while preserving their autonomous events, and also started using the existing name for this newly created joint festival – KotorArt.
Founded by joining the major festivals in Kotor into one, the present KotorArt relied on the very name and reputation of the existing music festival, which, in the meantime, as a musical segment of the new KotorArt, has been named Don Branko's Music Days.
Both the individual festivals and the very idea of the KotorArt artistic umbrella, and especially the Town and the Country, that is, their citizens, have had only the benefits of such an action and all that it implies. This has been confirmed by its quality and programs realized since 2009, by the role the Festival has in the development of cultural tourism in Kotor, as well as by a significant contribution to the international image of Kotor as an inevitable destination with a rich cultural offering.
In 2016, the Festival was celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the original KotorArt as a festival of art music. This edition of the Festival was marked by two significant anniversaries: ten years after the death of a prominent humanist, intellectual and cultural activist Don Branko Sbutega, and the decade of the renewal of Montenegrin independence.
In 48 days (July 1 – August 17, 2016) at KotorArt:
there were gathered over 1000 artists from 23 countries
programs were held at thirty venues in Kotor and Boka
there were organized over 254 diverse artistic and scientific programs
more than 45.000 visitors were attracted by the program of the festival (15.000 by the main and over 30.000 by the side program)
more than 80% of the annual budget was spent on the programs
31% of the revenue was provided by the Festival itself
over half a million Euros the festival audience left in Kotor through the costs of accommodation, catering and other services – it is estimated
more than 2000 nights in Kotor and nearby spent the participants in the festival programs
more than 80.000 Euros was paid to local caterers for the accommodation and catering services for the participants of the festival
there have been carried out more than 1000 programs since the consolidation of the Kotor festivals into a large multidisciplinary KotorArt in 2009
these programs have been seen by more than 200.000 spectators so far
DON BRANKO SBUTEGA (1952 – 2006)
Visionary and Founder of KotorArt, don Branko Sbutega, was an extremely knowledgeable and committed intellectual, who was known as such even outside the borders of Boka and Montenegro, where he was born. He is the author of numerous articles on history and culture of Boka, co-author of books Old Literature of Boka (1994), Kurosawa’s turmoil of the world and collection of poems Sebedarje, which was published posthumously. He was the spiritual leader of the Knights of Malta for Serbia and Montenegro. Don Branko Sbutega was born in Kotor, where he finished high school. He studied medicine and theology in Zagreb, Vienna and Rome. Don Branko was ordained to the priesthood in 1979, when he assumed responsibility for rebuilding churches, preservation and restoration of the great art treasures of the Diocese of Kotor, which were damaged in the earthquake. He was a benefactor and an inspiration for the paintings by famous artists, such as Vasko Lipovac, Vojo Stanić, Edo Murtić, Kosta Angeli Radovani and others. In the 1980s, when the Yugoslav crisis was evident, he was frequently present in the intellectual life, in public forums and television shows, in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. At the same time, he was responsible for the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid, the leadership of Caritas Diocese of Kotor and founding of the Center for Refugee Assistance in Padua (1996).
Don Branko was the first honorary president of KotorArt, he participated in numerous scientific meetings, conferences, round tables in the Balkans and Europe and was acquainted with numerous artists, diplomats, politicians and journalists.
Art is not a tool, it is a necessity. It is not less real than what we colloquially call reality. It is an alternative space and a great comforter, but also soothing evidence that the spirit cannot be reduced to the categories of space and time.Don Branko Sbutega