Pekarna (“Bakery”) is the largest alternative cultural centre in north east Slovenia, located in a former military bakery on the right bank of the Drava River in the city of Maribor. Pekarna with a total area of 6,000 square metres at its disposal has become the largest alternative cultural centre in north east Slovenia. The complex consists of several concert venues (the large Gustaf Hall and some smaller concert halls), gallery spaces (Hladilnica Gallery, several studios), a second-hand bookshop called Ciproš, practice rooms, a daily information centre Infopeka, and offices.
The Pekarna Magdalena Network that has run continuous programmes of the Pekarna Cultural Centre also represents the Pekarna in the international Trans Europe Halles network.
In July 2009 the reconstruction works have begun on the site of Pekarna, the project being financed by the Municipality of Maribor.
Cultural activities were started here in 1994 by three non-governmental and non-profit organisations: Friends of Dolphins, the Alternative Music Workshop Gustaf and House Gallery. While the majority of Maribor cultural institutions are located in the centre of the city on the left bank of the Drava River, today Pekarna still presents the only cultural centre located on the right bank.
Pekarna’s six buildings accommodate around 40 associations, clubs, and individuals; several of them focus on arts (music, visual arts, photography, video) while others focus on civil society activities or on sports. Pekarna collectively has the status of a youth centre and a local information centre. Financial support for its activities comes from Maribor Urban Municipality, and programme support from various ministries and ministry bodies.
The complex hosts a very wide range of exhibitions, concerts, performances, film screenings, festivals and workshops, linking and publicising the work of different associations through its co-ordinating agency the Pekarna Magdalena Network, which manages primarily the cultural programme taking place at Gustaf Hall, visual arts activities and festivals (hosting and supporting the NagiB Contemporary Dance Festival, Etnika International World Music Festival, the Magdalena International Festival of Creative Communication and DokMa International Film Festival).
Another feature of Pekarna Cultural Centre is the MISC Infopeka – Youth Information and Consulting Centre managed by Pekarna Magdalena Network a daily information centre which collects, edits and disseminates information for young people, offers Internet access and organises various workshops.
As the Pekarna Cultural Centre has at its disposal several venues its information centre MISC Infopeka – Youth Information and Counselling Centre, Pekarna is engaged also as a co-ordinator of the the European Volunteer Service (EVS) programme, one of its most successful projects being the visual arts initiative La Vitrine 2006-2008.