Foto: Visvaldas Morkevičis

n 1966, Kaunas-born visionary artist George Mačiūnas began converting neglected loft buildings in SoHo, New York into live-work spaces for artists, which became known as the Fluxushouse Cooperatives. This movement had a great impact on the regeneration of SoHo, transforming it into one of the most vibrant and flourishing districts in the world and augmenting New York’s already-substantial reputation as a city of culture. Similar creative-friendly urban revitalisations have since taken place across the world.
Fifty years later, Kaunas stands at the outset of a comparable renaissance: by submitting its bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2022, it has taken the first step toward reimagining its future as a city open to change and progress. It, too, can profit from the enlightened vision that originated with one of its own sons, developing ‘Kaunas Cooperatives’ and attracting an influx of artists, artisans, designers and technology innovators from all over the world to live and work in the city. Kaunas would thus capitalise on its already well established assets – its remarkable architecture, the proliferation of universities nearby, its existing arts institutions and festivals and, most importantly, the famous good nature of its people – and become an international destination for both those who create, and those who appreciate.
Kaunas 2022: City of culture, city of creative industries.

Rita Valiukonytė


Rita Valiukonytė is the Cultural Attaché at the Lithuanian Embassy in London. In 1999 she graduated from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas with a BA in German Language and Literature, followed by an MPhil in German from the University of Bergen and an MA in European Studies from Freie Universität, Berlin. In 2004–05, as the recipient of a Robert Bosch Foundation scholarship, she worked at the Literaturhaus in Hamburg, organizing an interdisciplinary Lithuanian–German arts festival. In 2006–07 she worked as a study coordinator for Gateway College (Norway), in Cienfuegos, Cuba. In 2008 she was appointed Lithuania’s Cultural Attaché to Austria and Croatia, and in 2012 she was posted to the United Kingdom in an equivalent capacity.