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In the historic building on 16 Myru Square, in the very heart of Mukachevo, it is located the Children's Art School named after Mihály Munkácsy. For the years of its work, hundreds of young city residents have become the art admirers. Indeed, the atmosphere of the studio inspires to create! The head of the educational institution is a talented artist and pedagogue Serhii Kireiev.

The art school was established here not at once. The building was originally owned by the Rákóczi dynasty, then – by the counts of the Schönborn family. During the war and in general, it became the division's headquarters.  The so-called White Palace was built in the second half of the 17th century, and now it is one of the most valuable architectural monuments among the palace buildings in Transcarpathia. The building did not look the way it looks now. In the times of Rákóczi, the western part was built in the style of the late Renaissance, and the Schönborns finished it in the Baroque style.

In the second half of the 20th century, the palace was used as a comprehensive school, later – as a musical school, and since 1979 artists' muses settled there. It is noteworthy that the building became the educational centre thanks to the Schönborns, who transferred it to the community ownership under the condition that it will be an educational institution there.

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High ceilings, spacious halls, numerous rooms and authentic antique furniture create a peculiar atmosphere and prompts to fantasize about the palace life several centuries ago. "One, and in some places one-and-a-half-meter walls have the voids, and therefore, they preserve some secrets," Serhii Kireiev supposes. “It is known that there is an underground passage that was buried after 1945 when it was the division headquarters there. It has not been investigated, but these passages probably go under the Depeche Park in the direction of the shopping centre "Central Department Store", although it is not known exactly. I assume that this building was connected with the building in the old town. When a child, I saw arched stone coves there. I think there are unexplored catacombs: I don’t really think that those days the palace would be built on a hollow place."

The workers of the school arranged two memorial halls there. One of them is dedicated to Ferenc Rákóczi II – the Prince of Transylvania, leader of the anti-Habsburg national liberation war of the Hungarian people from 1703 to 1711.  Here on the walls, there are portraits of the prince and his parents – Ferenc Rákóczi І and Ilona Zrínyi, family coat of arms, etc.

Another hall is dedicated to a painter, initiator and creator of the Hungarian realistic painting Mihály Munkácsy. The first thing that strikes the eye in this memorial hall is the design for a memorial to this famous artist. It was performed by the Hungarian sculptor and architect Gents and Felger more than a hundred years ago. Now they want to finish the project and install a monument in the city. However, this is not the only thing that is interesting in the hall. There are lifetime photographs of Munkácsy, a poster with his image, and also the first coloured facsimile replicas of the artist's paintings "Ecce Homo", "Calvary" and "Jesus in front of Pilate". The hall is lighted by the chandelier of deer horns – it is a "younger sister" of the mermaid chandelier from the hunting palace of the Schönborns in the sanatorium "Carpathians".

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There is a large stone hall in the palace – it is held the exhibitions of students, teachers and graduates of the school, as well as representatives of the creative association "Rainbow" there. The fireplace and chandelier in the hall are preserved from previous owners.

As to the antiques of the school, there is still a wooden wardrobe with a large mirror. So the girl-students often come here –  to the director office, where it stands, to doll themselves up. In the director's office, there is a door leading into a small room, where, as if in the afterlife, you are immersed in the world of fantasy and inspiration – here is a studio of the artist Serhii Kireiev (, and before it was the studio of the previous head of the school Vasyl Tsybere (   

In the studio, students learn drawing, painting, composition, art history, sculpture.  By the way, in the classroom of art history, there are also portraits of famous Transcarpathian artists, founders of the regional school of painting.

The art school in Mukachevo is a basic art school for the fine art departments of the art schools in Transcarpathia. It has a basic five-year programme, so students have the opportunity to attend a master class – a special supplementary programme. The classes start at the age of 11-12, being completed simultaneously with the graduation from the secondary school. As the director of the school says, there are a lot of applicants, but it is possible to enrol only 330 pupils a year, so they are very eager to expand the licensed number.

Graduates of the school study at the following higher educational institutions of Ukraine: Kyiv National Academy of Arts, Lviv National Academy of Arts, Kharkiv Art Institute, Art Faculty of the Ivano-Frankivsk University named after V. Stefanyk, Ukrainian Academy of Printing (Lviv), Uzhhorod College of Arts named after A. Erdeli and Transcarpathian Academy of Arts.

The school operates not only as an educational institution but also as a tourist attraction.

Text: Kseniia Shokina
Photo: Nataliia Pavlyk
© Art&Culture Foundation Brovdi Art

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