Culture has a special historical and social significance in Slovenia. It was primarily thanks to their culture and their common language of Slovene that the people of Slovenia were able to forge themselves into a nation and survive. Language and culture have for centuries compensated Slovenes for the lack of their own state and political institutions. Slovenia is one of those rare countries, if not the only country in the world, where a day of culture is a national holiday.
Architecture is also a vital part of Slovenian culture. The most famous native architect, Joze Plecnik, was a pioneer of modern Slovenian and European architecture of the 20th century. Ljubljana is famed for his work. Many of Plecnik's students continued his legacy in the second half of the 20th century.
There are five professional orchestras in Slovenia, and a host of musicians who are famed outside the country. The largest concert halls are at the Cankarjev Dom cultural and conference centre, which holds close to a thousand events each year.
Slovenia's own brand of polka music reached its peak in the accordion and ensemble of Slavko Avsenik, while the annual festival in Sticna is a feast of choral singing, and the France Marolt folk group have performed their singing and dancing all over the world. The contemporary thrill of classical music is the territory of the Slovenian Philharmonic, particularly its top musicians, flautist Irena Grafenauer, pianist Dubravka Tomšič and soprano Marjana Lipovšek. Laibach have been a highly influential band in the last few decades in modern alternative music. The ethno-pop of Magnifico has gained a rising international profile. The giants of Slovenian pop music are Vlado Kreslin and Siddharta, while Slovenian DJs are welcome on global dancefloors, most notably DJ Umek.
The small size of the market means that many artistic and cultural activities in Slovenia enjoy significant support and subsidies from the government (approximately two-thirds of the requisite funding), and funding from local authorities. It is remarkable that less than 10% of cultural activities' earnings come from the consumer, i.e. visitors to cultural events. The exception of course is the entertainment industry, notably pop and jazz, where the performers have to rely on their own ingenuity to earn their dues.
Visual arts, architecture and design
Slovenia's visual arts, architecture, and design are shaped by a number of architects, designers, painters, sculptors, photographers, graphics artists, as well as comics, illustration and conceptual artists. The most prestigious institutions exhibiting works of Slovene visual artists are the National Gallery of Slovenia and the Museum of Modern Art.