Located in the small town of Ribnica, the Mikl House Gallery has a rather long history that goes all the way back to 1972. Nowadays the gallery runs a well curated series of contemporary visual art exhibitions, takes care of its strong art collection, collaborates with a local private collector and runs educational and workshop programmes. It is a part of the Mikl House cultural complex, also featuring the Mikl House Library on the second floor. The gallery is administered by the Public Institute Ribnica Handicraft Centre.
Originally established under the name Petkova Galerija in the early 1970s, the gallery used to be located in the premises of the Ribnica Castle and was the first space in town dedicated to art exhibitions (which were previously hosted in the local school and health centre). Later, in 1988, its programme and collections moved nearby to the ground floor of the Mikl House, a former mansion that was renovated and adapted to the needs of the gallery as well as the local library in 1991.
In 1979, on the initiative of the painter Jože Centa, artist’s symposiums started to be organised in Ribnica and up until 1991 artists, critics, curators and local personage were meeting there. This meeting are the basis of many a public sculpture as well as the source of the 350 piece art collection that is owned by the Mikl House Gallery.
For a time the library and gallery were administered together with the Museum of Ribnica. In 2011 the Public Institute Ribnica Handicraft Centre was formed to run the gallery, the museum and a programme of promoting and researching the local heritage of handicrafts.
A regular programme of contemporary art exhibitions is held at the gallery, often featuring established curators from around Slovenia that present the work of contemporary artists like Jaka Babnik, Maja Smrekar, Sanela Jahić, Katja Felle, Pila Rusjan, Sašo Sedlaček, and BridA.
The annual exhibition from the Riko Art Collection presents parts of the rich art collection of the Riko Company’s director Janez Škrabec, also one of the most visible contemporary patrons of Slovene culture. In 2015 the gallery collaborated with ArTcevia, an international contemporary art festival from Italy.
The gallery ownes and takes care of an important art collection which includes around 350 works of art dating from the 1980s and 1990s by Slovene artists Mirsad Begić, Gustav Gnamuš, Emerik Bernard, Lujo Vodopivec, Matjaž Počivavšek, Janez Bernik, Dragica Čadež, Zdenko Huzjan, Dušan Tršar, Zdenka Žido, Marjetica Potrč, Marjan Gumilar, Sandi Červek, Bojan Gorenc, Marija Rus, Lojze Logar, Andraž Šalamun, Tugo Šušnik, Jože Barši, Mirko Bratuša, and Sergej Kapus.
The second, so called didactic collection contains 82 works of art. It is showing different techniques and genres as well as the key Slovene authors in visual arts. It was created together with the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU). The second part of this collection also includes several works by old masters, including Meister H G G, Valentin Metzinger, Matevž Langus, Ivan Franke, and Ivan Grohar, plus three golden altars dating from 1648.
The capacities of the gallery do not allow for a permanent exhibition of either of the collections. However, these works are regularly shown in smaller thematic clusters through temporary exhibitions, art workshops and courses.
A part of the Mikl House Gallery collection are also works of a public character, created during the Art meetings between the years 1978 and 1991. Besides sculptures (there is a miniature Forma Viva-like park in front of the Ribnica Castle) there are also various sculptures and paintings integrated into the local public buildings.
The gallery runs annual, year long visual arts school programmes, one meant for people over 15 and another for primary school children. These are complemented by various sporadic projects, like the year-long photography workshop series in 2015, led by Jaka Babnik.