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Ч What is your vision of St. PetersburgТs restoration services market? Ч The market is still in its formative stage, even though there are as many as 300 firms in St. Petersburg holding restoration licenses. Problems abound. The bulk of professional restoration is performed by small firms, which all qualify as Сsmall businesses.Т Preparation for the upcoming 300th anniversary has swept St. PetersburgТs restorers with more work than they can handle. Consequently, some construction companies have recently diversified into restoration. On the one hand, they do help us cope with the snowballing amount of work (after all, a considerable share of restoration is merely general construction). On the other hand, most construction companies are new to the business and unaware of its ins and outs. Ч What changes await restoration artists in the near future? Ч In 2003, the scope of restoration is more likely to increase than drop, so there will be plenty of work for everyone until after the 300th anniversary celebrations, when the situation may change dramatically. Restoration per se will certainly continue, but government funding will probably shrink. For restoration firms, this means only one thing: tougher competition. The fittest, most resourceful firms will survive. Ч What has the Restoration ArtistsТ Union done to prepare for the denkmal 2002 exhibition? Ч Denkmal 2002 is a major test for us. This year, it will be attended by 11 Union member firms. The Union is in charge of all organizational matters, including stand design concept, preparation and shipment of exhibits, and travel arrangements for the participants and St. PetersburgТs official delegation. We will be attending denkmal 2002 in conjunction with St. Petersburg City HallТs Committee for State Monitoring, Use, and Conservation of Historical and Cultural Landmarks. We will be allocated 70 square meters of exposition space. Our display will feature upwards of 40 exhibits showcasing the restoration process, techniques, know-how and results. Our stand will be manned by as team of professional restorers, including a gilder, a roofer, a mosaic artist and an enameller, who will put up a live demonstration of the different stages of restoration of individual artworks. Denkmal 2002 is a major image-enhancement undertaking for the Union, and is not expected to bring immediate financial benefits. The idea is to showcase the best work of St. Petersburg restoration artists in the run-up towards the cityТs tercentenary. We will be able to familiarize our colleagues in Europe with the St. Petersburg school of restoration, and to forge business links that would help us promote the services of St. Petersburg restoration firms internationally. St. Petersburg is already in the international spotlight. In fact, the city will be hosting the next Exibition in June 2003. It will be a major highlight for the city, deserving of serious preparation. In a sense, this yearТs Leipzig show is a dress rehearsal for us.
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