Transcarpathian artists have long complained that they have no venue to exhibit their works, for neither in the regional center, nor in other cities of the region there are any specialized galleries with good lighting.
The Regional Art Museum named after Bokshay was not created as an art gallery, the same can be said about other, more suitable for this purpose, venues in Transcarpathian cities. In order to maintain interest in art the artists themselves took on the creating contemporary arts center.
In the family of Ivan Ilko there are as many as four artists: himself, his son Mykhailo, who is a member of the Foundation "Art Arsenal", his daughter-in-law Tetyana and his grandson. It is the honored artist of Ukraine Ivan Ilko who initiated the construction of the first Transcarpathian gallery in Uzhgorod.
The Arts Center of Ivan Ilko is located on Koshytska street, near the tourist center "Svitanok."
"We started building the premises three years ago – told the Honored Artist of Ukraine. – This was preceded by the family meeting where each of our big family supported such a pretty risky idea. It was risky, because its implementation required large financial costs, but did not provide a guaranteed profit.
The total exhibition area of the gallery is more than a thousand square meters. Everything is planned: on the the ground floor, in addition to the main room, there is a dressing room and a restroom. On the first floor there is concert hall with a grand piano and bar. On the second floor there is a sort of mini-hotel with a few rooms. It is intended for artists from other cities, who will open the exhibition here or just work or spend their vacation in Uzhgorod."
So far the Arts Center of Ivan Ilko has not opened officially. Moreover, it does not even have a name. The artist explained: the first exhibition of his paintings has been running for about a month, but bureaucratic obstacles prevent to solemnly open the gallery.
The new art gallery, according to its owners, will be sort of response to the famouse "Pinchuk Art Center". Only it will become a platform not only for representatives of contemporary art, but for all who have something to show.
Transcarpathian artists, who by the way, had not been aware of the construction of the gallery until the last moment, also have many plans for future joint projects. In particular, the head of the Transcarpathian Organization of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine Boris Kuzma said the "Zamok", that he has twice visited the new center and is convinced that the venue is ideal for a variety of concerts, exhibitions and performances.
Famous Transcarpathian artist Taras Tabaka also has a good impression of the new art gallery. "The need for such a center in Uzhgorod is indisputable," – he said the "Zamok." – I do not see any problem in that it is private. On the contrary – I am deeply convinced that in our conditions only where there is a private initiative, there can be responsibility and prospects for improvement."
And until the center is not officially open and there are no concrete proposals from artists, its owner Ivan Ilko is happy to exhibit his own works.