A space to create: Kaunas to open a cultural centre empowering Ukrainians to create

As Lithuania is hosting increasingly more people of Ukraine fleeing the atrocities of war, public organizations and individuals are actively contributing to various forms of initiatives for support. One of them is the cultural field, therefore, on Thursday, March 17, “Kaunas 2022”, along with its partners, is inviting visitors to Kaunas Central Post Office where a cultural-creative space “CulturEUkraine”, dedicated to the creators and artists of Ukraine who have chosen Kaunas as their temporary home, will be opened. It is planned that organizations, communities, and other initiatives contributing to the support for the people of Ukraine will gather here.

Cultural support: a possibility to continue the work, a place to create and be visible in Europe

“Currently, all active civil initiatives, NGOs, and public institutions are joining forces and contributing to the safe arrival of Ukrainians, helping them find accommodation and providing them with the necessities. It is like a synergistic mechanism, in which the mission of Kaunas 2022 is to offer a cultural harbor, creative space, and visibility platform for creators from Ukraine,” Head of “Kaunas 2022” Virginija Vitkienė spoke of “CulturEUkraine” idea.

On 17 March the centre “CulturEUkraine” will be opened on the 3rd and 4th floor of Kaunas Central Post Office. It is planned that open spaces will be established here for creation and co-working, there will be zones for art therapy, communication, and spaces for exhibitions.

“We are striving to make this Centre a place where the voices of people of Ukraine and the news of Ukraine are heard across Europe. We hope that the creators who arrive here will be able to continue with their activities by maintaining relations both with the local artists and those who stayed in Ukraine. By providing support, it is important to ensure that their adaptation in our country is as smooth and emotionally easy as possible; therefore, we will create a possibility for them to continue their usual activities and to contribute with their creative solutions to make the war come to an end and to achieve Ukraine’s victory as soon as possible. The Centre “CulturEUkraine” will become a place to meet, communicate, create, relax or contact their relatives. We hope that various cultural partners, artists will settle down in the spaces of the Post Office. We will also contribute to the support in preparing exhibitions, meetings. Culture and creation help to overcome difficulties hence we expect that the project will contribute to the improvement of emotional wellbeing,” V. Vitkienė spoke.

Community support is essential for the establishment of the Cultural Centre 

The organizers are inviting everybody to contribute to the creation of a cosier, more functional space.

“In the processes of creation and development of the “CulturEUkraine” space, the contribution of the business sector is especially important. Therefore we are inviting the representatives of both large and small businesses to help to make the cultural spaces cosier and lay the foundation for the birth of a new community. Of course, the support and involvement in the process of creation of this space of citizens of Kaunas are also very important. Without the energy brought together by the people, without their help, support, and ideas it would be impossible to reach these noble aims, so, the involvement of each person is very important,” one of the organizers of the initiative, “Kaunas 2022” sponsorship manager Irutė Tumaitė said.

The representatives of this creative space emphasize that, currently, the most needed are the items that would help to equip a quality place for creation; and later on, once the project gains momentum, the contribution and support of the society and business could be expressed in other forms, i.e. by organizing activations, educational, well-being activities for the community.

“The most necessary items now are various household appliances – from lamps, lights, heaters, mirrors, furniture for sitting and writing, inventory for children (toys, puzzles) to those used for household chores – brooms, vacuum-cleaners, kitchenware, cutlery, and small appliances,” I. Tumaitė said.

The citizens of Kaunas are invited to bring the items to the premises of Kaunas Central Post Office from 11 March. The items will be accepted at Kaunas Central Post office (located at Laisvės al. 102, Kaunas) daily until 17 March, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you have large items, please contact us and we will collect them from your provided location (email for information  [email protected])

An opening ceremony of the Cultural Centre for Ukraine, gathering of the support initiatives and hospitality concert to take place on March 17

On March 17 the creative space “CulturEUkraine” will be officially opened. Organizations and initiatives providing and organizing support for Ukraine will be established on the 3rd floor. Communication, getting information and contact will be possible from 4 to 8 p.m.

The aim of this gathering is to present all the relevant information about the activities that are organized to host the Ukrainians temporarily staying in Kaunas. It is also important to show that we stand together. Visitors will be able to purchase souvenirs, symbols, pieces of art here; a space of “Kaunas 2022” will be open here too.

Both inside the post office and around it, hospitality to Ukrainians will be shown: in the evening, the historical building will be lit by a symbolic combination of blue and yellow, and nearby – at the intersection of Laisvės Alėja and Kanto Street a live concert will be held to support Ukraine and its people.

Photo author Martynas Plepys

Open call to join Courtyard Festival

“Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” is inviting artists and community representatives to co-create the Courtyard festival.

The festival is a tradition to foster community-building and friendship among people living in Kaunas city and district. On the festival day, various communities, organizations, and neighbors bring their chairs and tables to the city center and decorate it with white tablecloths and flowers. Food culture plays a central role in the festival: every year communities bring their favorite dishes and share the meals and stories with each other.
Besides the city-wide dinner, the festival is also marked by music, creative installations and different kinds of performances in unexpected public places, often created by the participants themselves. See the mood and many layers of the event in the videos of the year 2019 & 2021.

The Courtyard festival celebrates the friendship and unity of the city’s residents, guests and neighbors – there is no coincidence that the event is organized on the International Neighbors’ Day. Other important topics in the festival this year will be the relationship between man and river, ecology and other green course ideas.

Sounds tempting? Be our guest!

We invite You to celebrate communities together on the 20th of May, 2022. If you have projects, performance, visual arts or other ideas related to the topics listed above – you are more than welcome to share them in Kaunas! Participating communities are also encouraged to bring their national dishes to the tables of the Courtyard Festival.

Bring up to 15 members of Your community together and join the feast by enriching it with Your food, talents, and stories.
We will be happy to offer you Kaunas as a stage, discuss how we can implement Your ideas and cover accommodation and catering during the day of the event.

Application form: https://forms.gle/tx45Cpaq18wfaPay7
Any questions? Contact us!
Email: [email protected] Phone: +370 622 78274

Kaunas – the grand cultural stage of Europe: what not to miss in March

Kaunas has become a huge European cultural stage; this year there will be more events taking place than there are days in a year. The boundless and borderless “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” programme is flooding both the usual and the most unexpected spaces of Kaunas, and Kaunas district – the culture here is inescapable!

Here is a list of highlight events that will take place in Kaunas in March to plan your cultural experiences more easily. The organizers of Kaunas 2022 remind that you can easily find the detailed programme for the whole year on the website www.kaunas2022.eu or always have it at your fingertips in the mobile app KAUNAS 2022.

Events not to miss in March:

The International Day of Happiness, 20th of March

The last challenging years highlighted the importance of the people connection – our families, colleagues, neighbours, and other community members. Therefore, the organizers chose the slogan “Happiness to celebrate together” for the Day of Happiness in 2022 to announce that the biggest happiness is celebrating together – with people and among the people! This year the Day of Happiness invites us to share the moments of joy longer – the celebration, which starts on 20 of March, will continue during the whole weekend! Furthermore, an international congress “On happiness. Presuppositions 2022. Communities” will be held for the very first time.

Where: Different places in Kaunas

When: 20th of March

The event is free. The event is accessible to people with physical and intellectual disabilities and suitable for families with children. Pets are allowed at the event. More information: www.laimesdiena.lt/en

"Memory of Being", an exhibition by Marina Abramović 

One of the most significant art events not only in Kaunas but also in the whole Lithuania, will be Memory of Being, a solo exhibition by Marina Abramović, one of the world’s most renowned artists, in Kaunas Picture Gallery. The exhibition provides a detailed presentation of the most important stages of Marina’s work since the 1960s. It will feature video documentations of her interviews and most famous works, as well as the artist’s best-known video installations. One of the exciting news for art lovers is also that the creator herself is coming to Lithuania to share her thoughts and ideas during a public meeting in Žalgiris Arena.

Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery, (K. Donelaičio str. 16, Kaunas)

When: 30th of March – 31st of July

Paid event

“That Which We Do Not Remember”, an exhibition by William Kentridge

One of the world’s most influential contemporary artists, an honest and painfully candid humanist whose exhibitions are coveted by the best galleries in the world, is bringing his art to Eastern Europe for the first time to open the most significant show of the Kaunas 2022 programme. The exhibition at the National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art, That Which We Do Not Remember, will compel you to forget stereotypes. In this exhibition, Kentridge addresses humanity’s selective memory. The rejection of facts, history, and memories as a means of self-preservation or a propaganda tool is just as common a characteristic among people in Johannesburg and Rome as it is in Kaunas, says Kentridge, and calls us to dialogue with ourselves.

Where: M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art (V. Putvinskio str. 55)

When: Until 30th of November

The event is accessible to people with physical disabilities. Paid event. You can get the tickets here

„Modernism for the Future 360/365“, an international exhibition

Launched on the opening weekend of Kaunas 2022, this exhibition is an extraordinary report about the Modernism for the Future Programme. Over twenty artists from five countries spread their relationship with architectural heritage and its fate in contemporary European cities, such as Kaunas, at the iconic Kaunas Central Post Office. The exhibition encourages current residents and owners of modernist buildings to treasure their property and motivate the city to take pride in this legacy and present it to visitors and tourists. With this exhibition, Kaunas takes the lead in the modernism preservation movement and finally establishes itself as a centre of world research, promotion, and attraction of modernism in the world. The significance of Kaunas as a centre of global modernism will be one of the most important and enduring achievements long after the European Capital of Culture project comes to a close.

Where: iconic Kaunas Central Post Office (Laisvės alėja 102)

When: Until 10th of April

The event is accessible to people with physical disabilities. Paid event. You can get the tickets here

“Stories of the House”, an exhibition

The historical palace commonly known as the residence of the Presidents of Lithuania (1919–1940) has reshaped itself. Time portals will take you to seven epochs: the Governor’s Palace, the Ober Ost Commander’s residence, the Presidential Palace, the house of the Supreme Council Presidium, Nazi Headquarters, the Teachers’ House, and the revived historical palace. The motley list of its residents and visitors includes Tsars, Kaisers, military commanders, artists, and even a Pope! The palace is as if a crossroads of the history of Kaunas and entire Europe. The new exhibition will surprise city residents and its guests: here, history can be seen, heard, touched, smelled…

Where: Historical Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania in Kaunas (Vilniaus str. 33)

When: Until 15th of July

Paid event

Kino Pavasaris Pop-up Cinema: „Pilgrims“ are coming back home

With the International Vilnius Film Festival “Kino Pavasaris” approaching (start on the 24th of March), exclusive screenings of “Pilgrims” (directed by Laurynas Bareiša) – a crime drama that won the Venice film festival lion – will be waiting for Lithuanian cinema lovers. For the film’s Lithuanian premiere, “Kino Pavasaris” will build a pop-up cinema in Karmėlava, the town in Kaunas District featured in “Pilgrims”. The team will also present an immersive guide of filming locations around town.

Where: Karmėlava, Kaunas district

When: from 17th of March

Paid event

“ARNO FUNKtionalism”, an exhibition

This exhibition is dedicated to one of the city’s most renowned interwar architects, engineers, and masters of interior design, Arnas Funkas (1898–1957). Funkas introduced the principles of functionalism to residential and public architecture and designed numerous representative examples of the style in Lithuania. This show will present Funkas’ work and explore the principles of interior and building architecture prevalent in his time and which became a unique feature of Kaunas, representing the city’s architectural landscape.

Where: A. and P. Galaunė house-museum (Vydūno al. 2)

When: Until the 1st of July

Paid event

Don’t Miss the Chance to meet Marina Abramović in Kaunas, the European Capital of Culture

For one night only, only with those who have secured their tickets in advance. The Serbian artist Marina Abramović, synonymous with performance art, has promised to meet her fans in Kaunas, the European Capital of Culture. She is scheduled to give an open lecture on 31 March 2022.

The artist will travel to Lithuania to open her exhibition “Memory of Being”. The show will be available to the public at the Kaunas Picture Gallery from 30 March.

Photo by: Marco Anelli

The exhibition, initiated by Meno Parkas Gallery, is one of the most important and ambitious events in the programme of Kaunas 2022. It will present in detail the work of the icon of the contemporary art world from the 1960s to the present day. The visitors will be welcome to get acquainted with the documentary material, her artistic biography and interview, the famous Manifesto, and the unique creative Method.

In the conversation with the writer Adrian Heathfield, Marina Abramović discusses the role of an artist:

„What is the function of an artist? Each artist you ask will probably have a different answer. But mine is definitely consciousness-raising. Start with yourself; change yourself. If you change yourself, you can change thousands.”

Photo by: Marco Anelli

According to the director of Marina Abramović Institute Giuliano Argenziano, the exhibition partner, the exhibition will have a unique form – it will be displayed as a spectacular video installation of the selected artist’s performance documentation and films.

Arvydas Žalpys, one of the curators of the exhibition and the director of Meno Parkas Gallery, is positive that the worldview of the people of Lithuania and the surrounding region is close to the work of the Serbian artist: “From the times of the Soviet Iron Curtain, Lithuanian artists and people of culture tried to find the information about  Abramović’s work in many different ways – it symbolised a brave pursuit of liberty, surpassing fear and established clichés, as well as an unconstrained expression of the artist’s identity by freeing from the well-known shackles of the Soviet system. This is why this meeting of the audience and the author is very important.”

Meno Parkas has already published the Lithuanian-language version of catalogue “The Cleaner”, the most comprehensive presentation of  Abramović’s work, which is a must-read for those planning to attend “Memory of Being”. The show in Kaunas Picture Gallery will run until 31 July.

Open lecture by Marina Abramovic in Žalgirio Arena and the support for Ukraine

Even though one will have four months to see the exhibition itself, the contemporary art lovers from Kaunas, Lithuania and other countries who are most interested in the phenomenal woman and her work, ideas, and ways of thinking should get their tickets now for the artist’s meeting with her fans on 31 March at 6 pm.

Due to the much-felt anticipation, the event is planned to occur at Žalgiris Arena instead of the Picture Gallery. Tickets to the open meeting are here.

In response to the aggressive actions against Ukraine and its people, the organizers announce that part of the tickets’ incomes will support the Ukrainian cultural program in Kaunas. The Ukrainian culture program will host, support, and provide space for artists and creators, who will choose Kaunas as their temporary home during the war.