The Association of Fine Artists of Serbia (ULUS), as the successor to the Association of Fine Artists (ULU) founded in 1919, is one of the oldest and most numerous associations of citizens in the region. The original reasons for establishing the association of artists more than a century ago were to resolve the professional and status issues of artists in society. This significantly differentiated ULU from other artistic associations of the period, that joined solely by artistic affinities (such as the LADA of 1904 or the Association of Serbian Artists for Plastic Art and Music of 1898), (a source: N. Cerović, from the preface ULUS 100 Years Catalog). Today, ULUS has more than 2500 members, of which more than 550 have the status of independent artists. ULUS has acquired the status of the representative association in the culture, on the basis of which the Ministry of culture covers funds for entrusted affairs on data records of the independent artists. These funds are used to cover the costs of administrative and accounting services related to these affairs. The funds necessary for the entire production of artistic activities in two representative exhibiting venues – the ULUS Gallery and the Cvijeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion, ULUS is compelled to obtain through project financing, donations, membership and registration fees.
ULUS, as a professional association of artists active in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, accomplishes its mission in (1) promoting and protecting the working and professional rights and interests of visual artists; (2) securing their better social standing and accordingly (3) securing a better position for visual art in society, (4) raising the quality of artistic production, (5) organizing a reference and representative art program.
In order to achieve its basic goals, ULUS is engaged in establishing cooperation with other related associations and organizations, institutes and partners in the country and abroad, as well as, with business entities, funds and local institutions.
The basic act of governing ULUS is the Statute. The governing structure of the Association is composed of ULUS Bodies and Organs: Board of Directors, Supervisory Board, Arts Council, Court of Honor and Statutory Commission. Membership is organized through 4 sections – Painting, Sculpture, Graphic, and New Media – which have their own Committees. The ULUS working community is composed of: administrative and technical staff – business secretary, curator, financial service, legal department, technical service (8 employees in total). Since 2020 the novelty is the introduction of Working Groups (WGs), which are the operational units of the Association. They are established to deal with important membership topics and are geared towards achieving the goals of the Association. At this moment, there are the WG for independent artists, the WG for Fair Practices, the Art Pavilion Cvijeta Zuzorić and the ULUS Gallery, PR and Communication, Editorial Group, RG Photo Archives and Digitization, WG for the Web, etc.
ULUS’s regular program activities include the organization of exhibition programs within the premises of the ULUS Gallery and the Cvijeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion. Within these exhibition spaces, ULUS annually organizes over 20 solo exhibitions of contemporary visual production and over 10 collective exhibitions, among which the most significant are traditional exhibitions – Spring and Autumn, as well as exhibitions of New ULUS members, the Triennial of New Media, the Triennial of Graphics and dr. In the last few years, ULUS has started curatorial practices of artists, who in a self-organized manner produce artistic programs organized by the associations’ sections: painting, sculpture, graphic and new media sections and groups of independent artists. In addition to its programs, ULUS often hosts guest programs organized by other cultural institutions (October Salon, Museum Night, private art collections, etc.). Annually, over one thousand artists take part in ULUS exhibitions, and tens of thousands of visitors pass through the doors of the Association’s gallery spaces.
Drawing on the best experiences of its tradition, ULUS strives to maintain the quality of the artistic program and develop contemporary program policies, creating new artistic initiatives. In 2020 the launch of a new gallery space dedicated to new media and photography – the CAMERA Gallery, new discursive programs of debate in culture and educational programs for affirmation of youth creativity are initiated.