AQ Gallery (Art Quarter Gallery), established in 2013 by Cultural-Artistic Society AQ Gallery, is a contemporary art gallery in Celje, oriented mostly to the urban or alternative cultures and scenes. It is the youngest art gallery in Celje, formed on the initiative of photographer Robert Hutinski, who is also the head of the AQ Gallery. It presents a project of artists working in the Celje’s Artistic Quarter, part of the city, where art studios are intertwined with the historical city.
AQ Gallery is part of Celje’s cultural complex, called Artistic Quarter. It is located at the start of the Gosposka and Na okopih Street along the Savinja embankment; its studios are used by a variety of artists who also run the AQ Gallery. The Artistic Quarter sprang up in 2004 when the Municipality of Celje invited the local artists to move into defunct and abandoned boutiques and handicraft workshops flanking a tiny square. It is one of the few creative areas of this type is Slovenia – it is a kind of Celje’s version of Ljubljana’s Metelkova – and it represents a notable part of the Celje’s cultural and arts scene.
In the Artistic Quarter there are ten art studios inhabited by ten artists (painters, a sculptor, photographers, a performer and a musician) who run AQ Gallery by themselves. They work as an independent, autonomous community, but they collaborate with other artists and cultural workers too and organize events in cooperation with public and other institutions. Although it is possible to purchase their works of art in their art studios, their mode of working is strictly and declarative non-commercial.
AQ Gallery, in fact the entire Artistic Quarter, is the only venue for alternative cultures and alternative scenes in town, therefore it has a strong cultural as well as a social aspect. For the citizens and visitors, it offers creative contents, a varied art programme and a place where it is pleasant to socialize and connect creative ideas: in the first five years of its activity, AQ Gallery carried out around 90 projects.
The gallery has hosted the finest domestic and international artists engaging in a variety of artistic practices, including painters, sculptors and photographers, for example Ana Kučan, Sandra Požun, Jošt Franko and Dušan Letnar. Occasionally, next to exhibitions, it is also a venue for musical concerts, for example of songwriters like Marko Brecelj or Damir Avdić, and literary projects, presentations of books and lectures, and also a place for workshops for adults and children. The openings are always attended by a large audience enjoying a relaxed vibe. During the summer it is part of the annual festival Summer in Celje.