In the land of Bashkortostan the interaction between different peoples has been shaping for centuries. The peoples of Bashkortostan have always pursued the peaceful neighbor relations and mutual cultural influence. Since ancient times our republic has been a kind of contact area between West and East, Christianity and Islam, Slavic and Turkic worlds. In spite of being multi-national and multi-religious, Bashkortostan still remains stable in respect of ethnic policy. One of the most important directions of the governmental cultural policy in the Republic of Bashkortostan is the preservation of folk and ethnic cultures, development of amateur and artistic creativity, arts and crafts and folk crafts of all the ethnicities living in the republic, improvement of cultural and recreational service, and development of the cultural and recreational organizations chain.
For the implementation of that important mission on February, 20th, 1937 the Republican Centre of Folk Arts was established in Bashkortostan. It was called the House of Folk Arts.
The principal wealth of the Centre is its staff potential. Currently more than 50 talented and active specialists work there. They are awarded by honorary diplomas and letters of appreciation of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and by the other federal and republican departments and organizations. Many of Honored workers of culture of the Russian Federation, the Honored workers of culture of the Republic of Bashkortostan, and the Laureates of the State Prize – Salavat Yulayev Award work there.
The Centre works on the organizing of leisure time of people, developing of folk art, preserving and promoting the culture of peoples of the republic in the cooperation with the republican municipal institutions. The network of the cultural and leisure institutions of the Centre is one of the biggest in the Russian Federation – it comprises more than 2000 organizations.
Houses of culture and clubs are the most available and democratic forms of the realization of people's cultural needs in leisure industry (entertainment).
In institutions of culture and leisure there are more than 18000 club groups, and amateur art associations. Among the amateur folk art groups more than 900 have high titles such as “people’s” and “exemplary”. The Centre has close ties with all municipal cultural departments and institutions, amateur groups. Mutual cooperation allows organizing systematic work on preservation, development and promotion of the national cultures of the peoples in Bashkortostan. The basis of any national culture is folk culture. In the era of globalization the role of the traditional folk culture increases, it starts to resist the cultural assimilation. In fact, such resistance is likely to be the only one and the most effective way to save culture of an ethnicity and its identity.
Lots of projects are aimed at the popularization of the Bashkir, Russian, Tatar, Mari, Udmurt, Mordvin, Ukrainian and other ethnicities' cultures. They are the festivals and competitions of Bashkir song “Irandyk mondary” (“The melodies of Irandyk”), “Ozon koi” (“A long melody”), of Tatar song “Tugan tel” (“Mother tongue”), the feast of Russian song and chastushka “Zvyezdy Belorechya” (“The Belorechye Stars”), the Festival of Art of Finno-Ugric peoples “Samotsvety Prikamya” (“The Precious of Prikamye”), the Regional contest-festival of traditional Mari dance of Highland Mari “Shiikandra – A silver rope(string)”, the Republican Festival of amateur art “Sotsvetiye druzhby” (“The Inflorescence of Friendship”), the Television Marathon of national cultures.
The genres of folk arts and craft are developing actively. Such art campaigns includes the festivals of dance “Veter peremen” (“The wind of change”), “Khorovod druzhby” (“The round dance of friendship”), “Rytmy vremeny bolshogo Urala” (“The Big Ural’s rhythms of time”), “Bayik”, the contents of Kurai players, kubyz players, throat singing singers, folklore feasts of garmon and kurai. These events have wide public response, the most of them are well-known not only in the republic but also outside of it. The majority of the events are traditional, they are being hold for years, and people’s love about them only growing. There are widely spread and enter into a kind of daily practice and popularity some of the people feasts in the Republic of Bashkortostan, such as “Shezhere bayramy” (“The feast of family tree”), “Sabantuy” (“The feast of plough”), “Kaz umasy” (gathering for preparing the goose meat), the street feasts and so on.
The diligent work on the revival of almost lost unique phenomenon of Bashkir culture – narrative art – is held by the Centre. The masterpieces of the world art culture – eposes (kubairs) “Ural-batyr”, “Akbuzat”, Bashkir long folk songs “ozon koi” are saved up till nowadays thanks to epic tellers (narrators) – sesens. In 2012 the Republican Centre of Folk Arts for the first time held the Republican Contest of Epic Tellers (narrators) “Ya zovu vas, seseny!” (“I am calling you, sesens!”).
Apart from the traditional festivals and competitions of folk arts in accordance with the dictate of the time by the Centre the new projects are implemented: the Republican Bashkir Rock music festival “Velikaya step” (“The great steppe”) in Khaybullinsky district, the musical marathon “Realami music - 2012” in Belebey, the Republican contest of graffiti “The street art” in Ufa, the Interregional fair of ideas in the field of cultural and rest technologies “Club. Economics. Market” in Neftekamsk, the Republican contest of web-sites and web-pages on the theme of “The step with the time” and others.
The Centre pays great attention to the development and maintenance of the children’s creativity, training of the young generation to be active and culturally developed. Such festivals as “Kreshenskiye morozy” (“Epiphany frosts”), “Veter peremen” (The wind of change”), “Ritmy bolshogo Urala” (“The big Ural rhythms”), “Baik” for children, “Yeygor - Raduga” (“The Rainbow”), “Perezvon kolokolchikov” (“Clamour of bells”), “Yeshlek-show” (“The Youth show”), “Molodiye golosa” (“The voice of youth”) are always loved and expected by youth participants. The events for adults also include nominations for children, teenagers and youth, for the most of young soloists and dancers.
One of the important points of the Centre’s activity is still the issues of development and strengthening of the international and interregional relations. First of all they are realized by holding of international and interregional contests and festivals. Among the most significant programs widely-known all around Russia and abroad are the International Festival of Ethnic Cultures “Berdemlek”, the International Contest-festival of Musical Art of Turkic Youth “Ural mono”. More than once the Center submitted an application for participation in the federal target program “Culture of Russia”. The events mentioned above are usually held according to this program. The Centre of Folk Arts keeps in creative ties actively and coordinates its activity with the regions of the Russian Federation where Bashkir ethnicity resides compactly. Cultural interaction with the other regions has worked for more than 15 years. According to the agreements on cooperation in the field of culture the work on organizing of changing tours for amateur groups (collectives), conducting practical seminars and joint events, providing the cultural organizations by methodical manuals (handbooks), musical notations, and collections of playlists are held. Close contacts have been established with the regions of Volga and Ural Federal Districts, the countries of near and far abroad.
Big role in preservation and popularization of movie and photo arts, amateur arts and crafts are played by the Movie and Photo Club “Agidel” and the Gallery of Folk Art “Ural” of the Republican Centre of Folk Arts. On the basis of these cultural units exhibitions of art photographers, artists, and craftsmen are regularly held. The Centre holds organization of big international forums of photo artists, mobile photo exhibitions in the cities and districts of the republic, the part of expositions is based on the local material. The significant result of long-lasting and diligent work has become the revival of the interest to the traditional Bashkir folk crafts, such as art felting, fluff knitting, carpet manufacture, patch working. The Centre conducts great work on searching and supporting artisans; the best samples and works of craftsmen are annually performed at the exhibition festivals of Bashkir fluff shawls, carpets, art felt, patch work. Some of them are presented at the exhibitions and there is an opportunity to participate in workshops.
The significant structural department of the Centre is the House of Culture of the Republican Centre of Folk Art. It is the only institution of cultural and leisure type in the republic for people with disabilities. This place is a great opportunity for these people in expressing and realization of their creative abilities; they are able to attend different art classes and amateur art clubs, and any other different mass cultural events. The Centre annually organizes and conducts republican and regional practical seminars on different genres of folk art, craft, entertainment art and technologies, cultural units' activity organization and so on. Regularly workshops on folk dances, seminars for amateur composers, directors of Bashkir folk groups, panel discussions about the results of the Republican Exhibition of Bashkir stage costume are conducted.
The Data and Analytical Department specialists of the Centre give methodological assistance, monitor activity of the municipal cultural establishments, and analyze in details work of the methodological services of the culture houses in municipal districts. In 2001 for the first time the Centre conducted the Republican Competition for Methodological Services of the cultural institutions called “The Edges of Mastery”. As for the methodological work, the Centre pays a significant attention to the preparation and editing of the repertory and methodical literature, close cooperation with republican mass media. The Сentre cooperates with writers, dramatists, screenwriters, composers for editing handbooks. Also, it provides workers of culture in other districts and regions with manual literature and screenplays. The Republican Centre of Folk Arts has been and remains the development centre of amateur art of all the peoples of Bashkortostan. The best traditions on studying, preserving and developing of the traditional folk culture, monitoring and conducting of different festivals of folk art are founded and preserved there. At the same time, target and planned work on endorsement of new initiatives and promising methods is always led.