Valery Zhiltsov collection is one of the first private collections in Belarus. The collapse of the USSR, that helped the art leave underground in the post-Soviet period, initiated its establishment in 1990. In the mid 1990s, a metropolitan gallery - Zhilbel Art Center - was opened in Belarus to deal with young and beginner artists belonging to so called Belarusian vanguard, and now many of them are prominent in the world art community and represent the Belarusian art at the world modern art forums; among them are: Ales Taranovich, Alexandr Rodin, Natalia Rachkovskaya, Alexandr Zabavchik, Artur Klinov, Valentin Petrov, Sergei Lapsha, Valentin Nudnov, Alexei Zhdanov, Sergey Malishevsky, Grigory Ivanov, Vitaly Chernobrisov, Konstantin Goretsky, Valery Pesin and Vladimir Akulov.
Having a professional staff of art critics and experts from its very inception, the Gallery, located in the very heart of Minsk, in the Old City - Troitskoye suburb, - has turned into a progressive non-profit-making organization actually supporting the artists and directly involved in the country's art life.
Over a distance of some years, the Gallery has actually become the only non-governmental institution supporting contemporary Belarusian painters and graphic artists through sponsorship of the patron of the arts and collector Velery Zhiltsov, an owner of the Zhilbel company, and also manager of the non-profit-making Art Support Fund Art Center Zhilbel. During 16 years of its activities, the Art Center Zhilbel has organized hundreds of exhibitions of Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian artists in the Gallery hall, Troitskoe suburb and other cultural centers to exhibit the paintings of such masters as Leonid, Shchemelev, Gavriil Vashchenko, Boris Zaborov, Georgy Skripnichenko, Vladimir Savich, Nikolai Seleshchuk, Vladimir Tovstik, Roman Zaslonov, Boris Kazakov, Victor Alshevsky, Leonid Khobotov, Ruslan Vashkevich, Sergey Rimashevsky, Vitaly Gubarev, Petr Kirillin, Vyacheslav Zakharinsky, Vladimir Kozhukh, Zoya Lutsevich and Konstantin Andrukhovich.
Tens of personal catalogs of artists and arts informational publications have been edited.
Acquired experience of promoting the "names" of the 1990s generation helps the Gallery further successfully form a circle of artists who are to define the Belarusian art school identity in the future. Currently, the Zhiltsovs family continues its charity activity to support painters and sculptors, immigrants from the FSU republics, in New York, Museum of Contemporary Russian Art established by a known Russian patron of the arts, collector and writer Alexander Glezer in 1980.
Exceptional intuition in selecting painters and pieces of the collection and skill of the collection owner to hit the target have helped the collection win the status of the best and most comprehensive Belarusian contemporary art collection. Currently, Valery Zhiltsov's collection comprises over one thousand best pieces of more than 200 contemporary Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian notable painters. Now, the collection is, indeed, a wealth of the Russian art and is worthy to be exhibited in the best museums of the world.
Taranovich, artist, art critic, Berlin. 09/20/2006.
How to hit the target invisible to others
Valery Zhiltsou, a businessman, owner a collection of contemporary
paintings and graphic arts, President of Arts Support Fund
of Art Center Zhilbel, gives an interview to Alena Malochka,
the author of the column �Autograph� of the newspaper Belarus