together with Jaromír Císař and later also with Petr Michal, we have been members of several prestigious institutions that support art projects or the most significant world monuments for more than 20 years.
I personally held the position of the vice-president of FEDORA (The European Circle of Philanthropists of Opera and Ballet) for seven years, I was a member of the board of directors of the World Monuments Fund Europe, we’ve been patrons of the Paris opera for more than ten years. Along with other friends, we’ve founded the Circle of Friends of the Opera of the National Theatre in Prague in 1995.
While we were active in these institutions, we understood the enormous potential that a well-thought and well-organised support can provide to the arts. In the today’s alienated world, only money itself brings almost no social prestige. In the US and in some countries of the Western Europe, only support of cultural projects is the manifestation of the status that is respected and honoured. Apart from a social standing, contact with art from the unique position of the sponsor and patron provides an entirely new view upon the arts, one that uplifts and inspires at the same time.
In 2009, we have reached the conclusion that with our experience and necessary professional background of a strong law firm, we’ve got enough energy and means to establish an original Czech patronage entity. A community with the liberty and possibility to choose which art projects it is going to support. That’s how the BOHEMIAN HERITAGE FUND came into being. We built the fund on two fundamental principles: complete transparency of accounts for our projects and uniqueness of the projects we support. These remain our working principles until today.
The BOHEMIAN HERITAGE FUND supports national heritage. National heritage belongs into the cultural history of the world in all the cultural fields. In the field of music, we belong among the five world superpowers. This itself is binding. The reason to support exclusive projects that are significant for the national culture and its development from private sources, is amplified by the fact that public institutions often don’t receive enough resources for the support of uniqueness since the cultural policy of their establishers is often areal and has virtually no important qualitative ambitions.
Our goal is to learn to experience art and the happy privilege of its support along with our friends, to make the BOHEMIAN HERITAGE FUND as strong an institution and player as possible, who will help to set the standard and quality by its example and it will be an impulse for the development of patronage of high art in the Czech Republic.
JUDr. Pavel Smutný