The Czech Republic boasts a unique network of art schools focused on music, ballet, drama and visual arts. The institutions, which are quite generously subsidized by the state, are open to kids from the age of five. Just recently, a nationwide project promoting the so-called "zušky" took place around the country, giving the children and their teachers a rare opportunity to show their skills to the public. The happening was initiated by the Magdalena Kožená Endowement Fund, which was established to promote art education in the Czech Republic.
A newly opened office and shopping complex above Národní třída metro station in Prague has been fitted with artworks by the well-known Czech sculptors David Černý and Maxim Velčovský. A small “square” by the Quadrio building is now adorned by a 39-tonne moving statue of Franz Kafka produced by Černý at a cost of CZK 30 million. Velčovský has created a large glass piece for the foyer of the complex which occupies a previously open space in the downtown area.
Maxim Velcovsky is one of the Czech Republic's best young artists, though it wasn't his work but his appearance in a massive advertising campaign for mobile phones which brought him to widespread public attention. Maxim has a very distinctive look: he is tall with huge "afro"-style hair and was, while the ad campaign was at its height in 2001, one of the best-known faces in the country. He has also appeared in TV ads made in the Czech Republic for other markets around the world. Here Maxim Velcovsky describes the experience of having his face all