September in Kaunas – world renowned names, premieres and exhibition openings: what not to miss?

Yoko Ono

Autumn’s first month is once again inviting us to return to cinema, theatre, and concert halls. September also brings a host of European Capital of Culture premieres, from the launch of the modernist film Folds (Klostės) to the long-awaited Kaunas Cantata and the opening of Yoko Ono’s exhibition. Kaunas 2022 is pleased to share their recommendations on what to see and what not miss in the autumnal city.

Yoko Ono’s retrospective exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom

The Learning Garden of Freedom is a retrospective exhibition of Yoko Ono’s work organized in collaboration with Studio One in New York, founded by the artist herself, the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, and Kaunas Picture Gallery in Kaunas. The exhibition presents an overview of Yoko Ono’s works, including various creative periods and practices ranging from conceptual art and experimental films to spatial installations, objects and performance art.

When: 10 September – 4 December
Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery, K. Donelaičio St. 16
See here for more information.

Fluxus festival, Martynas Plepys.

Fluxus Festival

On 10 September, Kaunas welcomes a return of the Fluxus Festival, organized by the Kaunas 2022 community programme Fluxus Labas. A festival that has become a tradition in the city will, this year, evolve into the biggest event of its kind ever. Expect the unexpected in original performances by Lithuanian and foreign artists who love to smile at life as well as the flamboyant climb up the Parodos Hill, the highlight of the festival.

When: Fluxus Climb – 10 September, 10 p.m.
Where: Parodos Hill
See here for more information

Litvak Culture Forum by Kaunas 2022

On 29–30 September, Kaunas 2022 will invite Litvaks scattered throughout the world to return, even if only briefly, to their ancestral land and gather at the Litvak Culture Forum for Kaunas residents and visitors. Over several days, this event will feature a rich cultural programme and discussions with renowned artists, researchers, and cultural figures, and is open to everyone interested in the city’s history. Guest speakers include: Prof. Antony Polonsky, Prof. Peter Salovey, Prof. Tsvia Walden, artists Michael Shubitz and Bruce Clarke, and many others. Patron of the Forum – Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė. Honorary patron – Prof. Liudas Mažylis

When: 29–30 September
Where: Great Hall, Vytautas Magnus University, S. Daukanto St. 28
See here for the full programme.

Foto from Julius Balašaitis.

Kaunas Cantata

An extraordinary immersive musical experience, created especially for Kaunas and the people who love it. Composer Philip Miller and visual artist Jenny Kagan, together with Lithuanian music performers, will invite the audience to choose what to listen to and what to hear. The work was inspired by Kaunas residents’ personal testimonies, memories, as well as the rich and diverse world of sounds.

When: 30 September – 1 October 1, 7 p.m.
Where: Kaunas Žalgiris Arena
Book your tickets here.

Interactive exhibition Out of Darkness

Artist Jenny Kagan, daughter of Juozapas Kagan and Margarita Štromaitė from Kaunas, grew up in the United Kingdom, surrounded by stories of pre-war and wartime Lithuania. In the exhibition Out of Darkness, she brings the extraordinary story of her parents’ survival in Kaunas during the Holocaust to life. The exhibition’s setting, including images, music, video projections, and other elements, immerses the viewers in a narrative that is both personal and universal.

When: until 30 October
Where: Gimnazijos St. 4
Book your tickets here.

Jenny Kagan „Out of Darkness“, Linas Žemgulis.

Conference Modernism for the Future. Interpretations

Modernism for the Future. Interpretations, a conference that has already become an annual tradition, will symbolically conclude the five-year programme. Curated by Vaidas Petrulis, the event is expected to foster debate and dialogue between a wide range of experts in different fields. Speakers from Lithuania and abroad will share best practices and insights on modernism as an inspiration for creativity and discuss cases of artistic communication of modernist architecture as well as their relevance in considering possible visions for the future of heritage.

When: 21–22 September
Where: Amphitheatre of Kaunas Žalgiris Arena and other locations
See here for the full programme.

Klostės

Premiere Klostės / Folds

Klostės / Folds is a 67-minute black and white silent film made by artist Aideen Barry and the residents of Kaunas. On 22–24 September, the film will be premiering in Kaunas at Romuva Cinema which will be opening its doors to visitors again after reconstruction. The film was inspired by Kaunas modernist architecture and the magical stories that lie within it. It was a unique two-year creative process that brought together over 600 local residents and professional artists.

When: 22–24 September
Where: Romuva Cinema

Cultural experiences in Kaunas district

In September, Kaunas district will once again become a centre of attraction. The project Contemporary Neighbourhoods will invite everyone to Rokai, Lapės, Linksmakalnis, and Kačerginė to join a number of colourful festivals organized by local communities. Cultural surprises also await in Zapyškis. The former dredger Nemuno7 will host the Agents exhibition, the fourth part of the Fluid Bodies exhibition series, and participating artists of the OSTRALE Biennial residency will present the results of their work in 3 marine containers situated on the banks of the Nemunas.

When, where: Rokai (03/09), Lapės (03/09), Linksmakalnis (10/09), Kačerginė (04/09), Agents exhibition (until 21/09), OSTRALE contemporary art exhibition (from 05/10)

Magenta, organizatorių nuotr.

Magenta Landscape Design Festival

Which comes first – nature in the city or the city in nature? Magenta Landscape Design Festival will invite you to reflect on this question between 9–25 September. Residents of Kaunas and Kaunas district will have a chance to enjoy almost 20 new objects of design, tactical urbanism, and landscape design, and a rich festival programme.

When: 9–25 September
Where: Kaunas
Organizer: public institution Šeimos laikas
See here for more information.

Kaunas Architecture Festival East-East

The international project East-East for professionals and the general public is returning to the programme of the Kaunas Architecture Festival. It is the result of a long-term cooperation which has laid the foundations for a previously non-existent architectural exchange between Lithuania and Japan. The festival’s programme includes a forum, exhibitions, lectures by professionals, and a competition for architecture students.

When: 22 September – 22 October
Where: Kaunas Central Post Office, Žalgiris Arena amphitheatre
Visit www.kafe.lt and www.laskaunas.lt for more information.

Flash Voyage

Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage

September marks the last month of Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage. The Town Hall Square has already hosted many representatives of the music, theatre, and even gaming scenes from Lithuania and abroad. This month, the Golden Parazyth, Gischt (AT), Rūta MUR, Tim Freitag (CH), ABUDU and many others will appear on stage.

When: until 17 September
Where: Kaunas Town Hall Square
See here for more information about free concerts and events.

Dorian by Robert Wilson

The play Dorian marks a historical event in the history of Kaunas National Drama Theatre and Kaunas culture. Robert Wilson, one of the world’s most renowned contemporary theatre directors and stage designers, in collaboration with Dhouse (Düsseldorf, DE), will tell the Kaunas audience the tale of a pleasure-seeking prince who cannot find himself in the time he lives in.

When: the play premieres on 1, 2 and 7 October.
Where: Laisvės Av. 71
Organizers: Kaunas National Drama theatre
Book your tickets here.

Summer is ending but culture continues

The much-loved project Culture in the Courtyards continues, this time visiting Aleksotas. The role of culture and artistic ideas in the debate on Europe’s future will be further reinforced by a session of the European Parliament of Culture. Yoko Ono’s installation Ex It will be entering its final days, and the CityTelling Festival will revive historical memory. The full Kaunas 2022 programme is available at www.kaunas2022.eu or on the mobile app.


The biggest Litvak Culture Forum in Lithuania will gather lovers of culture and history

M. Plepio nuotr.

Culture enthusiasts are welcome in Kaunas on 29-30 September. The first Litvak Culture Forum will take place here. The Forum, initiated by the Kaunas 2022 programme “Memory Office”, will be followed by a varied programme of art events in different parts of the city.

Academics, historians, museum professionals, education experts, representatives of the art world, and community members - the Forum will bring together dozens of speakers from various fields and countries. Many of the guests will be visiting the land of their ancestors for the first time - these experiences are crucial in an event that raises the question of what it means to be a Litvak. Other themes of the Forum include culture and art as a key to history and the perpetuation of memory as a way to build a better future and promote openness and dialogue.

Williamo Kentridgo paroda, M. Plepio nuotr.

Returning to the Roots

According to Daiva Price, curator of the Kaunas 2022 “Memory Office” programme, the Litvak Culture Forum is a summary of the programme’s efforts and projects started in 2017. “For five years we have been trying to remind people that Kaunas has always been a multiethnic city and that the Jewish or Litvak part of its history is an important part of its identity. Through various art projects, we have talked about the complex pages of the city’s history, World War II and the tragedy of the Holocaust. So during the Forum, we will try to summarise what Litvak identity is and how art helps us to understand the history and remember,” intrigues the curator.

According to Ms Price, it is important that not only Lithuanian artists have been involved in this dialogue about the wounds of our history, but the project has also encouraged Litvak artists and scholars to return to the land of their ancestors. One of them is Prof. Peter Salovey, a descendant of the famous Soloveitchik family from Kaunas, a Litvak and President of Yale University:  “The Forum is, therefore, a great opportunity to revisit our common past, to meet and reflect on the future, to discuss what kind of future we want for this city, and how (or if) art can help us to understand the history better and learn from its mistakes.”

M. Plepio nuotr.

Artists and Academia

Lithuanian and international artists such as writer and art curator Paulina Pukytė, Lina Šlipavičiūtė-Černiauskienė (project “Walls That Remember”), Jyll Bradley (UK), who has brought back the mezuzahs to the streets of Kaunas, translator of Leah Goldberg’s book “A Flat for Rent” writer Daiva Čepauskaitė, artist Sigutė Chlebinskaitė, among many others.

Prof. Violeta Davoliūtė, a researcher of the politics of memory in East-Central Europe, will represent the academic community, as well as a large group of scholars from all over the world. Among them are Prof. Antony Polonsky, Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University, author of numerous monographs (PAR/UK), Prof. Peter Salovey, Professor of Social Psychology, President of Yale University, Honorary Doctor of the VMU (USA), Prof. Tsvia Walden, Psycholinguist (IL), and others.

L. Žemgulio nuotr.

Rich Cultural Programme

During the days of the Forum, special musical projects will be presented to the participants and guests at Žalgirio Arena. On 29 September, a concert of Yiddish songs by Marija Krupoves, dedicated to the Jewish memory of the city and the special spirit of Kaunas is scheduled. On 30 September and 1 October, the focus will be on the premier of Kaunas Cantata by composer Philip Miller and artist Jenny Kagan. The Cantata tells the complex story of historical upheaval, the Holocaust, deportations and personal trauma, and the traces it has left in the lives of generations and individuals in the language of music, texts and images. The premiere will be performed by over 200 musicians, the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra, choirs and various ensembles.

During the Litvak Culture Forum, a number of unexpected artistic events will take place in Kaunas, helping to broaden the context of the discussions and to extend the conversations. n born in Israel, "Bringing back to Kaunas" will be presented in the central building of VMU. On 28 th of September the photography exhibition by Michael Shubitz, a Lithuanian born in Israel, "Bringing back to Kaunas" will be presented in the central building of VMU, while, the Emanuel Levinas Centre at LSMU will host a concert-narrative entitled “The Music Shell”, during which an international group of artists will perform original music inspired by Jewish folk songs, ceremonial music and professional music.

On the 29th of September,  two musical events will be happening in the city: a performance by pianist Aleksandr Paley and clarinet master Karolis Kolakauskas and the concert "After Shagal“. The recently deceased composer Anatolijus Šenderovas said of this later work: “[It] is full of symbols - the clarinet recalls the former Jewish life in Europe, the percussion and the string quartet are like an allusion to the biblical world.”  The work will be performed by the Chordos String Quartet, clarinettist Algirdas Žiūra and percussionist Arkadijus Gotesmanas.

The programme of events will also include exhibitions that are already in place and have been attracting a great deal of interest from the city’s inhabitants and visitors, such as William Kentridge’s “That Which we do not Remember” and Jenny Kagan’s “Out of Darkness”.

Participants will also be invited to visit Kaunas Fortress IX, where artists Bruce Clarke (FR) and Tebby W. T. Ramasike (NL) will present the visual art and contemporary dance work “Ecce Homo:  Those who Stayed”.

The patron of the Lithuanian cultural forum is Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė. Patrons of honour - prof. Liudas Mažylis and Faina Kukliansky, chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish community. Partners - Vytautas Magnus University and the Lithuanian Jewish Community.

More information about the events is available here.

 


The first half of the European Capital of Culture ends: a record number of visitors and international media attention

Kaunas is in the midst of the year as the European Capital of Culture, with over 1,000 planned events that will change the cultural face not only of the city but also of the whole country. From record-breaking numbers of visitors to increased media attention, the team of Kaunas 2022 reveals the results of the first half of the year.

“By August, more than 600 events – exhibitions, theatre plays, festivals and concerts – had already been organised in Kaunas and Kaunas district. We estimate that in the first half of the year, more than 800,000 people visited them and more than 6,000 professionals contributed to the programme. It is not just the numbers that are pleasing, but every day we also feel that people are engaged. From the very first day, we wanted it to be a community project that would involve in culture as many residents of the city, professionals, and the young generation as possible,” Virginija Vitkienė, Head of “Kaunas 2022”, says.

Marinos Abramovič paskaita, Martyno Plepio nuotr.

Record number of people at events

The most awaited and the most attended event of the “Kaunas 2022” programme was the visit of the Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović and the opening of her retrospective exhibition “Memory of Being”. The public lecture by Abramović was attended by 6,000 admirers of the artist and the exhibition was visited by over 25,000 visitors. Other exhibitions have been equally well attended, for example, more than 27,000 visitors attended the exhibition “That Which We Do Not Remember” by Kentridge, which runs until the end of the year.

The events of the Contemporary Trilogy of Kaunas Myth were also very popular. In January, over 150,000 people watched the cultural “Uprising” in Kaunas in front of the whole of Europe, and in May, “The Confluence” weekend attracted over 300,000 cultural enthusiasts.

“It is not only the involvement of Kaunas residents that is encouraging, but also the fact that the city is becoming increasingly more interesting to the international audience. By July, around 20,000 tourists had visited Kaunas. I think that the well-known names, the events of Capital of Culture have helped to reach the people in countries of Europe. Visitors from abroad are interested in Kaunas modernism, exhibitions, and the newly opened CulturEUkraine Centre for Ukrainian creators. We welcome many Germans, Italians and people from neighbouring countries – Poland, Latvia and Estonia. It is great to see that increasingly more people are coming to Kaunas not for half a day, but for a whole weekend or a few days – there are increasingly more activities to be found here,” Mindaugas Reinikis, Head of the Communication and Marketing Department, says.

Williamo Kentridge‘o paroda. M. Plepio nuotr.

Increased media attention

According to Mr Reinikis, it was the subject of the European Capital of Culture that was most prominent in the foreign media. “During these six months, Kaunas was visited by 144 journalists from 19 countries. Articles, interviews and reports were produced, reaching a large foreign audience.”

“Kaunas 2022” was mentioned in articles in as many as 62 countries, including not only European countries, but also the USA, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa and Singapore. Readers of media portals such as the BBC, CNN, TIME, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Deutsche Welle and the Financial Times have learned about Kaunas.

Istorijų festivalis, Andriaus Aleksandravičiaus nuotr.

Even more culture as autumn approaches

According to the Director of “Kaunas 2022” Vitkienė, the impressive results of the first half of the year are not yet final. “These figures only reflect statistics for the months from January to June. In the summer, we invited visitors to several events: the contemporary city festival “Audra”, the performing arts festival “ConTempo”, and the Citytelling festival. Finally, the autumn will be full of events. Therefore, we are looking forward to sharing even better results at the beginning of 2023.”

The upcoming autumn will indeed bring even more cultural experiences to Kaunas. The following events that started in the summer will continue until the end of November: the Festival of Stories that will continue to revive the multi-ethnic memory of Kaunas and its surroundings, Jenny Kagan’s exhibition “Out of the Darkness”, which will present the history of the Kaunas Ghetto, the exhibition “The Learning Garden of Freedom”, which will be dedicated to the works of Yoko Ono, the premiere of the film “Folds”, a film that has travelled around the world, which is devoted to the modernism of Kaunas, and the Fluxus Festival, which is loved by the residents of the city.

The full programme of “Kaunas 2022” is available at www.kaunas2022.eu or on the mobile app.


Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage Not to be Stopped by Calendar: Concerts Scheduled Through September

Golden Parazyth, photo by D. Babenskas.

The rhythm of the contemporary capital of Kaunas does not succumb to the traditional limits of seasons. Launched in May, the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage, located in Town Hall Square, continues its marathon of concerts with ten evenings planned for September. The repertoire includes performances by the Lithuanian ambassadors of the European Capital of Culture and their international counterparts and concerts by two unique orchestras.

Highlights of the Summer Festivals

After memorable festival tours, the Kaunas Town Hall Square will be home to many of the brightest stars of the Lithuanian alternative music scene in September. On 2 September, Flash Voyage will be hitting their home turf. After the band's spectacular performance at the Audra festival in July, the Kaunas-based psychedelic rockers promise to tell more than one guitar-based fairy tale heard in the woods or dreamt up by the lake.

You won't have to wait long for the next chance to sing along - on 3 September, Golden Parazyth will climb on the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage and invite the crowd to search for the light. The evening's programme will include the most memorable sunsets, beautiful tree shades, fragrant plants and the wildest animal noises.

Another European Capital of Culture ambassador, who paints even the greyest skies pink during her performances, is also on her way to Kaunas. Rūta MUR, the Klaipėda-based electronic music artist, will throw a concert in Town Hall Square on 16 September. That evening, GISCHT, or Ursula Winterauer from Vienna, will share the stage with Rūta. In her creations, the Austrian artist explores the grey areas between ambient music and slow techno.

The last highlight of the Kaunas 2022 summer stage on 17 September will be sparked by Abudu, whose latest album 'Gaisras (Fire)' is still smouldering in the players of the fans of alternative sound. 'Between lyricism and rebellion' is not only the motto of Abudu but also that of the Swiss band Tim Freitag, who will be closing the open-air concert venue together with Lithuanians. This band is sure to make you cry. The only question is: from joy or sadness?

Rūta Mur

Two Unique Orchestras

Orchestra concerts have already become a tradition on the Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage. The last month of the extended season has two special guests. On the afternoon of 4 September, the refreshing sounds of strings and brass instruments will fill the Old Town of Kaunas, as the Lithuanian Joint Klezmer Orchestra will deliver a special programme. The Rakija Klezmer Orkestar, percussionist Arkadijus Gotesmanas and violinist Boris Kirzneris will come together, especially for this year's CityTelling festival. The orchestra will invite you to bring back the tradition of klezmer, or Jewish folk, which almost disappeared after the Second World War.

The following exceptional guests on the Kaunas 2022 summer stage will arrive on 15 September from a Kaunas' partner city in Poland. The Toruń Improvisers Orchestra couldn't have chosen a better venue for their programme dedicated to the poet Adam Mickiewicz. After all, it was at the Jesuit Gymnasium in Town Hall Square where he once taught! The essence of the orchestra's project 'Local Landscape: Ballads and Romances' is to show the universality and cosmos of meanings of Mickiewicz's 'Ballads and Romances' in relation to contemporary times, culture and contemporary art. This year, the book turns 200 and 2022 in Poland is the Year of Polish Romanticism.

Costume Workshop and Rehearsal Before the Fluxus Festival 

One of the most anticipated events at the beginning of Autumn in Kaunas, when Parodos Hill will be closed to cars after dark and opened to the motley crowd of dressers, is the Fluxus Festival. On 10 September, this event will take place for the fifth time, so every Kaunas resident living in Fluxus's spirit must dress accordingly. Those who are yet to create their own Fluxus alter ego are welcome on 9 September from 5 pm at the Town Hall Square. ‘You will find the necessary tools in the workshop, but if you want to bring glitter, ribbons, wigs, boxes and other tools that are sleeping in the cupboards, you are welcome to do so and turn them into the craziest costume,' the organisers say.

Tomorrow’s Music in the Heart of Lithuania

What’s Next In Music, a showcase festival and conference traditionally held in the capital in September, will also visit Kaunas this year. On 10 September, the bright stars of tomorrow will take to the stage of the European Capital of Culture.

The programme will feature the Kaunas-based French singer Clara Giambino, the Vilnius post-punk band Local Blood, the Italy-based Albanian electronic music duo Shkodra Elektronike and the Estonian Andres Kõpper who will introduce himself as NOËP.

Tim Freitag, photo by Nadja Stäubli.

The European Capital of Culture programme in Kaunas and the Kaunas region continues throughout the year, with hundreds of traditional and debut events planned for 2022, including exhibitions, festivals, performances and other activities created by local and international artists and Kaunas communities. For the complete Kaunas 2022 programme, please visit www.kaunas2022.eu or the mobile app.


Karl-Erik Norrman: it’s very important to defend European values today

“This year, it’s very important to defend European values: in times of war and opposition against democracy, human rights, freedom of movement etc. That will be one of the main reasons of our meeting in Kaunas. We also think it’s significant that we’re meeting in a university – here we will discuss the promotion of the role of universities in European cultural cooperation”, says ambassador Karl Erik Norrman, founder and Secretary General of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP). On 8–11 September, he will participate in the ECP’s session in Lithuania – at Vytautas Magnus University and the premises of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022.

During the session of the European Cultural Parliament, Kaunas will be visited by ECP members, which include independent artists, writers, musicians, historians, philosophers, designers and representatives of other cultural fields from Great Britain, Sweden, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and other European countries. During the session, discussions, creative workshops and exhibition openings will be held. At the events, which will open to the public, topics related to Europe and its culture will be discussed: the role of universities in the European capitals of culture, cultural diplomacy, the role of culture in the context of war and other matters. Understandably, Ukraine will also be remembered: not just in discussions but in exhibitions as well. At VMU Great Hall, an exhibition by Ukrainian photographer Oleksandr Zakletsky will be exhibited.

“You can say that this year Ukraine is becoming a symbol of cultural diplomacy. In these very difficult times, Ukraine is doing a great job. We hear and see a lot of Ukrainian artists promoting their case as Europeans, as democrats etc. President Zelenskyy himself is a great cultural diplomat, he’s speaking to the whole world about European values”, – explains Karl-Erik Norrman, who is not only one of the founders of the ECP but also works as a lecturer of cultural diplomacy at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. According to him, the importance of cultural diplomacy is growing every year.

The Secretary General of the ECP also has many compliments to Lithuania and Kaunas, which is the European Capital of Culture this year and is holding various cultural events. “It is a very good program, and you’re doing it in a very tough time, with a lot of threats and pressure from your big neighbour. I think the Lithuanian approach is really to be praised. Our slogan is “to put culture first”, and we hope that Lithuania will continue to put culture first”, Karl-Erik Norrman says, expressing admiration of the program of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture.

He is also glad that in October, the VMU Agriculture Academy in Lithuania will host an international conference organised by the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC). This network aims to strengthen the role of universities in the events of European Capitals of Culture.

“This cooperation is very important: it will certainly inspire other universities to more actively participate in the cultural capitals. I think VMU is better than European average in this regard. Generally, I think it’s very important for universities to promote humanities and arts in their syllabus so that their place would not be taken by the more “concrete” sciences. I’d encourage VMU to take a strong role in promoting culture and cultural cooperation”, says the ECP Secretary General.

The European Cultural Parliament was founded in 2001, in the premises of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, in order to ensure that independent artists would be heard in order to balance the growing influence of technocracy. “Ethical and aesthetic values must be the essence of a new European Society. We also say that culture is the core of society and creativity is the source of human existence. ECP aims to amplify the voices of independent artists and to intensify the dialogue between artists and other creative individuals. So we’ve created a forum at the ECP for continuing dialogue year after year, for 28 years. We might say that we give globalisation a kind of human dimension through this forum”, claims Karl-Erik Norrman.

In total, ECP has 160 members from 43 European countries. The parliament organises various international projects, e.g. between musicians, philosophers and visual artists from Italy, Austria, Denmark and other countries. ECP has also contributed to political changes at the European level.

“An ECP research group looked at the economic role of culture in Europe. We came to the conclusion that the economic role of the creative sector had been underestimated before. We presented this report to the President of the European Commission and, as a result, the following year the EU started showing in its statistics that the cultural and creative sector represents some 3 percent of the total European GDP and almost 4 percent of the labour force. The people in the culture sector are working on a lower income level than the average but they are very important”, emphasises the Secretary General of the ECP, noting that the parliament contributed to changes in the European institutions’ agenda and promoting cooperation of European artists.

The European Cultural Parliament will hold its Kaunas session on 8–11 September at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) and the premises of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022. During the session, which is open to all representatives of culture and members of the public, various topics related to Europe and its culture will be discussed, including, but not limited to, the role of universities in the European capitals of culture and the culture of Europe in general as well as the particularly topical issues of cultural diplomacy and the role of culture in the context of war.

The founders of the ECP include Finland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs Pär Stenbäck, former Swedish diplomat, opera soloist, professor of international relations Karl-Erik Norrman, author of The Illustrated History of Europe Frederique Delouche and others. Senators of the parliament:  Benjamin Bradshaw – former British Minister of Culture, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges – former Minister of Culture of Luxemburg, Memli Krasniqi – former Minister of Culture of Kosovo, Ivaylo Znepolski – former Minister of Culture of Bulgaria and others. Past members of the ECP included journalist Anna Politkovskaya and philosopher, culture politician Leonidas Donskis, who have sadly passed away. This year the ECP is joined by the Dean of VMU Faculty of Arts, Professor Jurgita Staniškytė, lecturer of VMU Music Academy, pianist Rimantas Vingras and head of Kaunas 2022 Virginija Vitkienė.

Participants of ECP Kaunas session must register online (HERE)  before 6 September.

The event will be held in English.

Detailed event program

Website of the European Cultural Parliament

The ECP Kaunas session is part of the program of Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022.

About Karl-Erik Norrman

Ambassador Karl-Erik Norrman is founder (2002) and Secretary General of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP), the only Pan-European forum for cultural personalities of all sectors of Arts. The ECP has 160 members from 43 European countries.

As a Swedish diplomat for 30 years he served i. a. in Moscow, Beijing, Geneva and Rome, dealing mainly with foreign policy, trade negotiations, cultural affairs, development cooperation, humanitarian affairs and the United Nations. As Ambassador since 1989 he was posted in Spain and Swedish Commissioner General at EXPO 92 in Seville. In 1994, Karl-Erik Norrman was appointed the head of the Cultural Department of Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. From 1995 he was Executive Member of the Commission for Sweden Promotion Abroad at the Foreign Ministry. Norrman has also been an opera soloist (tenor) and is the author of more than 30 books about democracy, world population matters, Germany, China, India, UN, theatre, opera, design, food and other topics. He participates in the public debate in Swedish, German, British, Scandinavian and other international media and conferences. Since 2010, he has been guest lecturer of cultural diplomacy and European affairs at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, ICD, in Berlin. He is member of several International Boards, e.g. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, London, Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, Vizar Architectural Competition, Sofia, Music Mind Trust, Sussex, Harald Edelstam Human Rights Foundation, Stockholm, Fondazione Love Difference, Biella and Population Matters, London.


A long-awaited event in Lithuania: the exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom by the world-renowned artist Yoko Ono opens in autumn

Yoko Ono

On 10 September this year, the exhibition The Learning Garden of Freedom by the world- renowned artist Yoko Ono will open at Kaunas Picture Gallery. The show will feature conceptual artworks, installations, objects, experimental films, performances, sound and text works. While waiting for the exhibition, Kaunas residents and guests are also invited to visit Yoko Ono’s installation Ex It currently on display at the Kaunas branch of the Bank of Lithuania. The installation works as the introductory part of the retrospective exhibition and will be on display until 11 September.

Yoko Ono (b. 1933, Tokyo) began her career in the 1950s. She worked closely with George Mačiūnas, the founder of the Fluxus movement, and her first solo exhibition (featuring works from the Instruction Paintings series) was held in 1961 at New York’s AG Gallery, also founded by Mačiūnas and Almus Salcius. In addition to her innovative paintings and performances, the artist later began to create objects, films and spatial installations, to bring other artists together in collaborative actions, and to invite the audience to actively engage in artistic processes. In her performances and other works, Yoko Ono raises issues closely related to the feminist movement, such as the female body and women’s empowerment in society. The artist’s name is also often associated with the pacifist movement, which remains more than relevant to this day.

One of the central components of Yoko Ono’s work are ideas. They can be serious or playful, utopian or poetic, expressed in words or actions, realised as objects and installations or simply in the imagination of the audience. Her work is highly political and social, not losing its relevance with the flow of time, encouraging the viewer to critically assess the world around them and, by using the language of art, to actively express one’s position on important socio-political issues. The Learning Garden of Freedom is an invitation to get to know Yoko Ono’s work and to reflect on the seriousness and playfulness of life as well as the power of imagination.

The exhibition is organised by the Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius, Lithuania) in collaboration with the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (Porto, Portugal) and Yoko Ono’s studio Studio One (New York, US), and curated by the artist’s long-time friend and curator of Fluxus exhibitions, Jon Hendricks. It is a continuation of the exhibition held at the Serralves Museum in 2020, specially adapted for Kaunas, George Mačiūnas’ hometown. The exhibition is organised as part of the project Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 and will run until 4 December this year.


Japanese music concert. Tsugaru shamisen & taiko

This year marks the 100th anniversary of friendship between Japan and Lithuania. To celebrate this occasion, we are happy to invite you to a Japanese music concert, which will take place on September 2, 18:00 at Business Leaders Center BLC, lobby of the Building D (K.Donelaičio g. 62).

The concert will be provided by Hibiki Ichikawa (Japan), a traditional Japanese three-stringed instrument Tsugaru shamisen artist, together with his student Luke Burns (United Kingdom).

The concert is free of charge, however, the number of seats is limited.

Hibiki Ichikawa is a London based Tsugaru Shamisen player with over 15 years of experience in playing this unique and fascinating instrument. He first came to the United Kingdom in 2011. Officially recognized as a world leading talent of Tsugaru Shamisen, Hibiki regularly performs across the UK and Europe.

His professional activities include teaching more than 20 students and collaborating with several musicians and artists in a variety of projects. In 2016, he took part in the recording of the soundtrack for the BAFTA-winning stop-motion animated film “Kubo and the Two Strings”, produced by Laika Studios.

Luke Burns has been studying Tsugaru Shamisen and Taiko drums in London for 4 years. Luke is a student of Hibiki Ichikawa, the only professional Tsugaru Shamisen player in Europe, and learns Taiko from Liz Walters with the “Tamashii School of Taiko”.
Along with Joshua Green, another of Hibiki’s students, Luke is part of the duo "DENSHONEN", mixing Tsugaru Shamisen with Taiko and Guitar.

Both Hibiki and Luke have been appointed by “Nike” as their official brand ambassadors for DUNK shoe series.

Lets enjoy the sound of traditional Japanese music!

The event is organized by the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania.


Kaunas 2022 to Gather Litvaks From all Over the World to Their Ancestral Land

The exhibition “Out of Darkness” (Gražvydas Jovaiša).

“For me, this forum is like a wrap-up of the entire Jewish memory programme of Kaunas - European Capital of Culture. It is the culmination of our many years of efforts to build bridges of cooperation and dialogue,” says Daiva Price, the initiator of the Litvak Culture Forum and the curator of the Kaunas 2022 programme Memory Office. The event will welcome Litvaks returning to their ancestral land or arriving here for the first time on 29-30 September.

Before the First World War, about 2 million Litvaks - the name used by Jews of the region - lived in the former lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in the eight provinces of the Russian Empire. 2 million is 12% of the population. In Kaunas or Kowno, the centre of the gubernia, the Jewish population was as high as 35.32%, and today it’s just a few hundred people.

The Litvaks spread worldwide in the second part of the 19th - the beginning of the 20th century. They remained the smallest Jewish group after the Holocaust. Today, Litvaks live in Israel, the USA, South America, South Africa and other countries. Many of them have roots in Kaunas. As the European Capital of Culture 2022, the city is hosting the forum as the first event of such kind.

The two-day event in the Great Hall of Vytautas Magnus university will feature a rich cultural programme and discussions between renowned artists, scholars and representatives of the world of culture on what it means to be a Litvak and the search for a common Lithuanian and Jewish identity. It will ask whether art helps us to remember and whether perpetuating memory can help us to build a better future and promote openness and dialogue.

The Litvak Culture Forum is part of the Kaunas 2022 CityTelling Festival, which will run until November. According to the curator of the Memory Office programme, the leitmotif of this year’s festival - a journey home - means not only a more profound knowledge of the city, its history and oneself in it but also perhaps the first visit to the land of one’s ancestors. A land that was too painful to enter for years. This has happened to some world-renowned artists featured in Kaunas 2022, such as William Kentridge. His exhibition at the National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art is busy throughout the year.

The exhibition "That Which We Do Not Remember" (Martynas Plepys).

This year has also been an opportunity for artists such as Jenny Kagan, Philip Miller, Bruce Clark, Marilia Destot and others to come and return to their ancestral land with their art. Many of them will share their experiences in the programme of the Litvak Cultural Forum. They will be joined by stars from the academic world, members of the Advisory Board of the Litvak Cultural Forum - Prof. Antony Polonsky, Prof. Peter Salovey, Prof. Tsvia Walden and others.

The two-day Forum programme will be enriched by exhibitions, performances and concerts dedicated to Jewish memory. The calendar includes events such as the interactive exhibition “Out of Darkness” by the UK artist Jenny Kagan, the Threshold installation route reminiscent of the Mezuzah tradition by Jyll Bradley, a photographic exhibition of the interwar photographers Mausha Levi and Shimon Bayer, and the paintings of Simon Karczmar. On 29 September, a concert of Yiddish songs by Marija Krupoves will take place at Žalgirio Arena, dedicated to the Jewish memory of the city and the unique spirit of Kaunas.

The exhibition “Out of Darkness” (Linas Žemgulis).

On 30 September and 1 October, a special premiere which took a few years to prepare will be held. It is the Kaunas Cantata by the South African composer Philip Miller and Jenny Kagan. In the language of music, texts and images, it tells the complex story of historical upheavals, the Holocaust, deportations and personal traumas, and the traces they have left in the lives of generations and individuals. A spectacular labyrinth of music and images is created in collaboration with Lithuanian and foreign artists of various genres.

The premiere will be performed at Žalgirio Arena by more than 200 musicians, the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, professional and community choirs and ensembles. “The cantata invites us to open up difficult and traumatic themes, and it invites us to confront ourselves, to talk about difficult choices in the face of dramatic events. It is therefore particularly relevant in the context of today’s war,” says Ms Price.

Kaunas Cantata rehearsal (Julius Balašaitis).

The patron of the Litvak Cultural Forum is Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė. Honorary Patrons are Prof. Liudas Mažylis and Faina Kukliansky, President of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. The forum is partnered with Vytautas Magnus University and Kaunas Jewish Community.

The Kaunas 2022 Litvak Culture Forum programme is available here, and registration is now open. For the complete Kaunas 2022 programme, please visit www.kaunas2022.eu or the mobile app.


Curator of Modernism for the Future Program: “Kaunas is Waking up and is Becoming More Open to new Experiences”

Architectural historian Dr Viltė Migonytė-Petrulienė will undoubtedly remember 2022 for the rest of her life. Curator of the architecture and heritage program Modernism for the Future of the project “Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022”, together with her team of assistants, this year turned the Kaunas Central Post Office into the Architecture Centre for several months, spread the message of optimistic Kaunas modernism all over the world, and now it is waiting for the world right here, in Kaunas. In September, the city will host the international conference Modernism for the Future. It will also include the premiere of a very special film, “Folds/Pleats”. What’s more, at the end of last year, the academic also published a monograph “Weekend Cities and Suburbs” about resorts in Lithuania! This time we left the topic of holidays aside - there was barely enough time to discuss the modernist movement, which has been rapidly growing for five years now. 

What do you personally consider to be the greatest success of this program? Maybe it’s one small event, or maybe it’s your own new skills, acquaintances or even future projects? 

Personally, the experience. I have never worked on a more interesting project, with so many opportunities and challenges, with such a professional team. Of course, not all the activities of the program had a smooth start, and not all the nights were for sleep, but all the experiences are worthwhile and precious. I would like to believe that our partners and the citizens of Kaunas will take away a similar feeling. When I started curating Modernism for the Future in 2018, I already saw how well the program had been strategically designed, how the target groups of activities had been logically distinguished, covering different audiences, how ambitious the goals had been set, and how the only thing left to do was to think about the means to achieve them, to try out new tools. It is true that we did not have a magic formula for success; we did not know what would work and what would not in our environment, and in the context of the European Capitals of Culture, exploring and interpreting architecture and heritage was not and is still not a common practice.  

The biggest motivation was that Kaunas already had international recognition, having received the European Heritage Label in 2015, and various community initiatives such as guided tours etc. were gaining momentum alongside this. It was both a gift and a responsibility at the same time. We invited cultural organisations from Kaunas and other cities to share it. Despite the fact that we have been working hard for all five years, the first strong feeling that the program was really working was after the initial call for partners to apply for all the Capital of Culture branches. I feel that the idea of Modernism for the Future is a real success when I finally attend the partners' events this year. All of them are a seamless story of the success of the program and of different experiences. I have great faith in that.  

Which partner events will you remember as highlights? 

All of them! I couldn't have dreamt of better content for modernism. The partners’ programme covers a very broad audience, with different interests and age groups.  From projects for architecture professionals and enthusiasts, such as: publishing a book on interwar architect Arnas Funkas (M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art), a tactile interactive pavilion of architectural cognition created with the blind and visually impaired, the exhibition “Architecture of Lust” decoding the lustful secrets of the modernist city, or the Kaunas Architecture Festival (Lithuanian Architects’ Union), which brings together intercontinental architectural ideas, and the International Summer School (KTU), which brings together the most relevant themes of global contemporary architecture… To exhibitions presenting impressive photographic personalities (Kaunas Photography Gallery), art objects inspired by the stories of modernism in the city’s public spaces (Lithuanian Artists’ Union), presentations, lectures, exhibitions aimed at expanding the geographic boundaries of modernity, performances (Kaunas Artists’ House), experiential tours (“Ekskursas”, Kaunas Dance Theatre “Aura”), or forward-thinking music festival at a metal factory “Optimismo”, and world music concerts (GM Gyvai), spread across various spaces in Kaunas and Kaunas district.   

In January, the official start of Kaunas – European Capital of Culture was kicked off with the opening of the exhibition “MoFu 360/365”. In the context of the international exhibition and the whole program, the number 360 symbolises all possible perspectives on modernism: cultural, political, economic, and so on. Meanwhile, the number 365 refers to our attention to everyday heritage. How did you and your team manage to implement the 360/365 formula?  

I have always seen the program as a platform for community and cross-sectoral heritage experiences, where we all learn, have the right to make mistakes, disagree, discover and co-create, and share the responsibility to make modernism even more understood, noticed and appreciated. I must confess that working directly with the community has never been a comfort zone for me, so I am extremely grateful to the team members who have taken the lead in reaching out to the local population. Žilvinas Rinkšelis and his team of volunteers have visited many modernist apartments, filmed dozens of interesting stories, and described hundreds of buildings on the Modernism for the Future website. In this way, the concept of the heritage of everyday life, encoded in the numbers 360/365, gradually took on a clearer form.  

Yes, the number 360 means all possible perspectives of modernism: cultural, social, etc. They were touched upon not only in personal conversations with residents and public discussions but also in artistic interpretations made by artists from different fields of study about 20th-century architecture and the complexity of ideas that it represents, as well as about the different fates of buildings and society. In other words, the collected authentic testimonies about Kaunas Modernism became an inspiration for the creation of a new narrative and language that could be understood by a wider audience.  

Meanwhile, the number 365 is intended to draw attention not only to the representativeness of churches, museums and other institutions but also to the architecture of everyday life: residential houses, industrial buildings or places of leisure. Was the language of modernist interpretations interesting to everyone? It would be naïve to think that everyone took in the heritage of this period and fell in love with it, just as everyone read or admired the messages conveyed by all the creators. This did not demotivate us but made us think more - how else can we do things? Where can we find the funds for the ideas?  

I am glad that fortune was not standing there with its back turned and not far away, just waiting for a bigger effort, which paid off all four times with additional funding from Creative Europe and Interreg Europe. This has opened the door to international partnerships, inviting and welcoming artists from Ukraine, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Israel and other countries to tell a more coherent story of modernist architecture as a phenomenon experienced by Eastern, Central and Western European cities. There is also great support and enthusiasm from foreign embassies and the Lithuanian Cultural Institute. The result is still visible today. Right now, the Ukrainian artist Lia Dostlieva is visiting Kaunas for the whole month of August. Under the guidance of Monika Amyra Pociūtė, Lia is designing a futuristic costume that will combine the identity of the two cultures, in which she will also leave a message about the feeling of (at)building/(at)creating the future of her country.   

How would you assess the involvement of Kaunas residents in their environment? Has it increased thanks to the initiatives of Modernism for the Future and its partners - excursions, exhibitions even for children, articles, videos, projects with dance and other arts... or has it sparked a greater love for the city? And is it love, or empathy, that is the feeling to talk about when it comes to the relationship between the city and the individual?  

Kaunas is waking up and is certainly becoming more open to new experiences. I believe that inertia has been created by the activities of partners and the initiatives of citizens. Everything matters - the aforementioned excursions, international photography and architecture exhibitions, dance performances, intelligent contemporary and world music concerts, sculptural compositions that open up in unexpected spaces in the city, etc. Although there is a great deal of high-quality cultural content on the theme of architecture this year, I sometimes think that modernism as a phenomenon has a diminishing role to play here. Especially in the New Town, the cultural legacy of the interwar period is an ideal setting, which sometimes inspires, complements or assists, and sometimes helps to fulfil or reinforce the idea of the project, and adds a unique and significant touch to the art form. It clearly helps to increase knowledge, cultivate curiosity and understanding, and see the possibilities, which leads to a stronger emotional connection with one's surroundings. This leads to practical success in small or large heritage conservation processes. Some of them are linked to personal stories of love for modernism, others to political will and the pooling of intellectual resources.  

One of the most anticipated events this year has been postponed because of the war in Ukraine. It is the inclusion of Kaunas modernist architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which hasn’t happened because the UNESCO session in Russia was cancelled. What is the mood in your team regarding this issue? 

Let’s be optimistic, though. While we are waiting and hoping for the capitulation of the aggressor, nobody is tying their hands to work together towards the preservation of heritage and the creation of a sustainable, quality city. UNESCO does not add value to the city, only notoriety, so it is the daily contribution and efforts of everyone that are important.  

One of the highlights of the program, the stop motion film “Folds/Pleats” by Aideen Barry,  has already been screened at several festivals abroad. What kind of response has the film received? What exciting things are planned for the premiere in Kaunas? 

Firstly, I am glad to announce that the film, which has been screened since the beginning of the year on the big screens in Canada, England, Ireland and Italy, will finally be presented in Kaunas, at the historical Romuva cinema in September. 

The organisers of the international festivals shared very positive feedback, and many spectators googled flight tickets to Kaunas right after screenings, as they became interested in the city’s history and cultural programme. Before the screenings, the audience was invited to read Sandra Bernotaitė’s text, in which the writer skilfully arranges the main accents of the film’s narrative, answering the question of what the role of architecture is as the main character and why the surrealistic aesthetics of the moving pictures is used, which arouses surprise and smiles. The premiere in Kaunas will be followed by an interesting conversation with the film’s director Aideen Barry, Sandra Bernotaitė and Rita Stanelytė, the film’s communications specialist who helped the film enter international festivals.     

The project is also presented as a unique creative process that brought together more than 600 local people and professionals over a period of two years. The production of the film was accompanied by a pandemic, so its management was a huge effort for our team, and especially for the producer Ugnė Marija Andrijauskaitė. Enthusiasts of music, creative writing, stop-motion animation, and even food production students from the Kaunas Food Industry and Trade Training Centre, who, by the way, will invite the audience to enjoy a huge modernist cake after the screening of the film, were invited to get involved. Those who will not make it to the national premiere on 21 September will be able to see the film on 22-24 September. In the cinema foyer, viewers will be greeted by an experiential installation created by Aideen Barry, Povilas Vincentas Jankūnas and Mindaugas Barnatavičius. 

Could you also reveal more about the upcoming Modernism for the Future international conference? How has it grown since the first edition in 2018? 

The first conference, which was also the symbolic opening of the program, focused on the perception of the cultural value of the heritage of modernism and the search for the uniqueness of Kaunas, especially by drawing on the experiences of foreign countries. Among them, the video projects of Aideen Barry, who then visited Lithuania for the first time, were presented, as well as projects dedicated to sensitive social issues, contemporary creative and educational methods of heritage cognition applied by Sharon Golan Yaron at the Tel Aviv-Liebling House, discussion of the topic of national modernisms, which is also relevant to the Lithuanian context etc. 

This year’s conference “Modernism for the Future. Interpretations” is scheduled for 21-22 and is the symbolic closure of our program. We will have much more to share ourselves. For five years, hundreds of citizens of the city and the district, dozens of cultural organisations and artists have worked, taught and given incredible experiences in the modern cultural heritage laboratory, and I believe that the two-day programme will be of interest and relevance to everyone.  

The programme will span from creative workshops on the accessibility of heritage, to seminars on the role of contemporary interpretations based on the experience of Kaunas - European Capital of Culture, as well as topical conversations on the subject, presentations and discussions in the Žalgiro Arena with renowned New York artist, architect and heritage conservationist Jorge Otero-Pailos, architectural critic and researcher Grzegorz Piątek, architect, architectural historian, curator of architecture and art projects Ievgenija Gubkina, and many others. The programme also includes the opening of two exhibitions, the presentation of Marija Drėmaitė’s book on Arnas Funkas, and the premiere of the aforementioned stop-motion feature film. The symbolic farewell will therefore be very optimistic.  

What plans does the Modernism for the Future team have for 2023 and beyond? 

It is very difficult to talk or dream about the future, even if it is the near future, when there is so much work left to do with Vaiva Marija Bružaitė and other colleagues. I know that all modernists, whatever they do in the future, will have a special personal relationship with heritage. I can only wish them all that they do not lose their enthusiasm and do not get tired of sharing their lessons and experiences with others.  


Kaunas 2022 team surprised MEPs: we have never seen this before

Kaunas the 2022 European Capital of Culture attracts more and more attention and international visits. On July 18-20th the city received important guests a delegation from the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) of the European Parliament. They met with the representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Kaunas City Municipality and organizers of the Kaunas 2022 programme.

A delegation of six MEPs visited Kaunas for three days - they not only participated in the various meetings but also visited a considerable part of the ongoing events and exhibitions. According to S. Verheyen, the chairwoman of the CULT, the most important questions were the legacy of the programme and what awaits the city when the year of the Capital of Culture ends.

“Our goal was not so much to verify the facts, we wanted to see the long-term perspectives. It was clear that while hosting world-famous artists, Kaunas dedicated a lot of attention to the issues of city identity, community building, and inclusion of young artists. It is great to see how local communities, private and public sectors are joining the project. It is very important that local people are involved in the programme, so that the culture develops from the community itself, brings joy, and encourages people to participate,” said S. Verheyen.

In her speech, A. Verneyen emphasized multiple events and initiatives taking place in Kaunas and Kaunas district, the unique dredger boat “Nemuno7”, the modernist architecture of the city, and the involvement of former and current European Capitals of Culture in the programme.

The members of the delegation were also impressed that the city is not afraid to tell stories that often do not reach the public. Untold stories, painful twists of the city's history must also be heard, said N. Kizilyürek.

It is not the first year for Kaunas city and region to host these events - the programme has been developed together with local communities for five years. Kaunas region is holding events for the “Contemporary neighborhoods”, and the suburbs are enjoying festivals and the internationally acknowledged project “Culture to the Courtyards”. The Kaunas 2022 programme also aims to revive and turn various objects and spaces into new places of cultural attraction – the public art route “Emerald road” was opened in the Kaunas district, and the dredger boat “Nemuno 7” was turned into an exhibition space. In the former central palace of Kaunas Post Office, there is a space dedicated to Ukrainian artists and creatives named “CulturEUkraine”. Meetings, exhibitions, and other activities are organized at this center of open cooperation.

The attention of MEPs was also attracted by Mythical Beast of Kaunas

MEPs were very impressed by the Mythical Beast of Kaunas. Created by the community itself and becoming a myth and mascot of the city, the Mythical Beast of Kaunas is inseparable from the Kaunas 2022 programme. It also unites the three main events of the Capital of Culture – the “Confusion”, which opened the programme, the “Confluence” that flooded the city at the end of spring, and the “Contract” that will take place in the autumn. In the city, you can also see the sculpture of the Mythical Beast, the design of which was created by Darius Petreikis, the tooth of a mythical creature made by ceramicist prof. Remigijus Sederevičius, and in the entrances of Kaunas Castle you can hear the snoring of the Beast.

We have never seen the myth associated with the European Capital of Culture. I think it's a great way to involve both children and adults, Ms Verheyen said. It is also very interesting that in many years' time people will remember this myth as their own, perhaps without even knowing that it was created in the year of the European Capital of Culture.

The events will continue beyond the end of the European Year of Culture in Kaunas

According to Mindaugas Reinikis, Head of Marketing and Communication at Kaunas 2022, Kaunas has grown into a contemporary capital of culture, therefore, even after the end of the year of the Capital of Culture, residents will continue to enjoy an active cultural life. Among the events planned for the future are the Day of Happiness, the festival Audra, the European Capital of Culture Forum, the community programme Fluxus Labs!, Nemuno7 and other initiatives and events.

By the end of the year, Kaunas 2022 will invite you to multiple events and exhibitions. For the remaining months, Kaunas residents and guests of the city will be delighted by the international festival of performing arts ConTempo, CityTelling Festival, landscape design festival Magenta, Fluxus festival”, Yoko Ono's retrospective “The Learning Garden of Freedom”, and a conclusion of these events by the last part of the trilogy the "Contract".

The delegation of the EP's Committee on Culture and Education consisted of Chairwoman S. Verheyen (European People's Party, Germany) and MEPs Niyazi Kizilyürek ("Left", Cyprus), Marcos Ros Sempere (Socialists and Democrats, Spain), Tomasz Frankowski (European People's Party, Poland), Maria Walsh (European People's Party, Ireland) and Irena Joveva ("Renew Europe", Slovenia).

 

Photos by Gražvydas Jovaiša