Kyiv's Vozdvyzhenka to Host Academy of Ceramic Arts with Rehab Programs for Military and Disabilities. Activists raise concerns

15 february, 2024
The project, which has been discussed since 2016, aims to complement the existing landscape in Vozdvyzhenka and create new viewing areas. The Academy of Ceramic Arts and the Pottery Museum will be created in cooperation with the KUST studio.
3D-sketch of the Academy of Ceramic Arts project. Source: hmarochos.kiev.ua

Editors note:

After the publication of this news, disgruntled comments appeared on Instagram and Facebook, in which the Academy project was called a “restaurant of Moscow priests.” User Natalka Yakymovych pointed out the conflict between the townspeople and the developer — the «Yakisne Zhytlo» («Quality Housing») foundation. According to her, the foundation opposed the creation of a square and a school in that area. She also emphasized that the investors are only covering themselves with rehabilitating projects for military personnel and people with disabilities to open a restaurant in the new building and occupy land on the historical slope of Starokyivska Hora.

In 2023, activist Volodymyr Bondarenko wrote about this in more detail. He claims that «Yakisne Zhytlo» LLC is controlled by Vasyl Horbal, an associate of the head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak (according to Dilova Stolytsia, Horbal and Yermak studied together at the Institute Of International Relations of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv). According to the activist, it was Yermak who appointed Horbal as a member of the board of the National Bank. The post also mentions Vasyl Horbal's possible connection with representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, particularly Pavlo Lebed. Bondarenko calls Horbal “the [...] sponsor of Russian priests [...].” Both Bondarenko and Yakymovych emphasize that members of the UOC MP lived next to the construction site.

The Academy of Ceramic Arts will be located on Honcharna Street, in the Vozdvyzhenka district, right next to the stairs leading to the Landscape Alley, as reported by Hmarochos. In 2016, an unnamed investor proposed a project for an administrative building in the current location. The Kyiv authorities emphasized that the new building should not be high-rise to preserve the integrity of the current landscape, and add cultural significance to the location. The investors responded to the demands of the Kyiv community by hiring a foreign architect-consultant and finding an optimal solution. The Academy will fit seamlessly into the stairs ensemble and provide additional viewing platforms.

The Pottery Museum will be established, and relevant agreements with the KUST ceramics studio have already been signed. The studio will also be responsible for the rehabilitation program for war veterans with PTSD and people with disabilities. KUST has a proven track record of conducting similar activities for Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and children displaced by the conflict since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ceramics positively affect both physical and mental health. In the case of veterans' rehabilitation, such activities influence fine motor skills and help distract from stress. Regarding the experience of working with children, it is worth noting the improvement in the socialization process of children with special needs in new communities,” said Viktor Kushchenko, the founder of KUST.

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