A38 is the reincarnation of a Ukranian stone-carrier ship. With its inauguration on 30 April 2003, it started a new life on the Danube in Budapest as a cultural venue. Since its opening it has become one of Budapest's most important venues, and according to artists' feedback, one of Europe's coolest clubs. By its first birthday on 30 April 2004 - which happens to be the day when Hungary joins the EU - the A38 team will have managed about 200 events out of which approximately will have been international.
The name comes from Artemovszk 38, which is the name of a ship prototype and the reminder of a period of design and industrial history on the verge of extinction. A Ukrainian stone-carrier ship, built in 1968, was tugged through international waters in order to receive a complete makeover and an infusion of new life. The building project lasted for one and a half years. Architects, ship engineers, acoustic designers, electricians, musicians and promoters contributed their skills and experience to make it an understated but elegant, artist and audience friendly place with a concert venue, bars, rooms and a restaurant.
By reconstructing the ship and harbouring it on the Danube, the A38 team plays an initiative role in bringing life and living culture to the bank of the Danube in Budapest. The ship, as the utmost poetic symbol of freedom, life, travel, adventure and discovery; and the Danube, as one of the strongest symbols of Central European history and culture provide the A38 team with inspiration and serve as a compass for the whole project.
Reshaped, rebuilt and rehabilitated, A38 has become Budapest's new industrial, trendy venue, overlooking a beautiful view, with the touch of nature and the memories of old and contemporary history.
The A38 ship project is a 100% private and independent initiative. Its owner and project manager is Zászlóshajó Ltd., which was established in 2001. This company bought and renovated an old Ukrainian cargo ship, raised the funds, managed the finances and now is responsible for the whole operation. The overall cost of the renovation work, the architectural design, the interior and the technical equipment is c. € 3 million.
The building was financed by the own recourses of the founders of the Ltd. and by financial bank loans. The purchase of the technical equipment was supported by the Hungarian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Information.
Since its opening on 30 April 2003, Zászloshajó Ltd. has been managing the cultural programmes but also the catering business. Renting the ship for commercial activities and the income from the restaurant and the bars help financing the cultural activities. The team is also applying continuously for state, city and European funding for its projects.
The A38 ship has become one of the most important and best equipped cultural venue in the 11th district of Budapest therefore it agreed to provide public services for the local district. An agreement for these activities were signed and Zászlóshajó Ltd. established a Közhasznú Társaság (Public Service Company) in May 2003 with HUF 3 million stock capital. The Ltd. is the sole owner of the Public Service Company. (Kht. in Hungarian), which is a not-for-profit organisation, and fully responsible for its operation and obligations. From its income, the Ltd. is also able to provide financial backing to the non-profit organisation. The Kht has been established to implement non-profit cultural projects.
The cultural project
- open to ideas and unsolicited proposals,
- independent in decision-making and from any governmental organisation,
- future-oriented in choice of the themes in the programming, of the technology and due to the programmes for children and young adults,
- international in its programming, target audiences and in its project management methods.
A38's objective is to become a sparkling, dynamic cultural and community centre:
- through imaginative, high quality programming for a wide public;
- through cultural services for the public, the artists and for the business community;
- by encouraging, archiving and documenting artistic production and process.
The aim of A38 is to become a modern, pleasant, dynamic cultural centre. Besides its international music programming it also provides home for various cultural activities such as professional meetings, film, literature, digital and even gastronomy events. The A38 team initiates and manages its own projects as well as hires the venue for independent promoters and cultural organisations for artistic events. The programming is very broad in terms of styles and genres but consistent in quality standards.
A38 has a multipurpose cultural venue with a standing capacity of approximately 600 and seating capacity of 250. It is purpose built and acoustically designed and equipped with high quality sound, light and video equipment. It is ideal for concerts of any amplified music, for film screenings, readings and other artistic events. With its stylish backstage area, dressing rooms and studio it is also a comfortable working environment for artists.
A38 is programming a wide range of jazz, world, electronic music, contemporary and rock music bands and musicians. Events are organised by the A38 team as well as a wide range of independent promoters. The result is a very colourful programme from contemporary classical music to drum'n'bass events. A38 collects a lot of creative energy though the involvement of musicians, promoters, DJ collectives and international partners. Any good, quality and financially feasible project finds home on the ship.
Since its opening, the A38 ship has welcomed several excellent international artists with the highest professional and artistic calibre such as the Vienna Art Orchestra (A), Erik Truffaz (Ch), Boris Kovac (Serbia), Maceo Parker (USA), DJ Vadim (UK), Nicola Conte (I), Amon Tobin (UK). The A38 team has also facilitated cooperation between Hungarian and foreign artists such as joint performances and recordings. Besides its regular concerts, the team started various series of music programmes like Local Waves that helps local bands to experiment, and Up-Date, that is introducing young bands to new audiences and provide them a possibility to play with high quality technical equipment. In April 2004 we are starting an exciting series supported by the EU's Phare programme called In-Fusion that brings together musicians from the enlarged Europe.
In cooperation with a team of artists, architects, IT professionals and teachers A38 has initiated a series of programmes that is to explore the relationship between real and virtual spaces. The programme includes a biweekly discussion between experts and audiences and a weekly programme for young people.
The ship also provides a unique content for the Hungarian Digital Archive by recording events, concerts and discussions.
Other art events
In the first year A38 has given home for various interesting cultural events such as literature and student film festivals, book launches. The original "Wine and arts" festival combined gastronomy, literature and arts in a stylish way.
For the future the team is developing regular literature programmes with publishing houses, all day thematic events with web journals and arts academies.
Corporate and private events
With its restaurant, bars and panoramic terraces, A38's aim is to become a popular hangout for local people as well as for tourists. The facilities of the ship are also designed to serve as an ideal and interesting place for business entertainment events. The main hall can be easily transformed into training rooms, seminar or conference hall. Various other spaces can be used for small sessions or meetings. The restaurant is equipped with a high-tech kitchen, and can provide in-house catering, serving all needs.
The event management agency working within the A38 structure closely collaborates with the cultural team and the facility management in order to provide cost-effective, creative, high quality service for business and private entertainment.