European Capital of Culture Forum in Kaunas: Visions of Legacy and Lessons from Ukraine

What happens to a city when the European Capital of Culture year ends? Perhaps cultural life is replenished with new festivals, but it is more essential to see people discover their artistic flair and witness stronger, more self-confident communities? Legacy is both a stronger identity and a more robust economic blood flow. Sometimes it’s a newfound love, even a new family. Maybe it’s just a cosier backyard. On 19 May, the fifth European Capital of Culture Forum invited to discuss how Kaunas will live beyond 2022 and hear inspiring and thought-provoking international examples.

Ana Kočegarova-Maj, Head of the Kaunas 2022 Programme, welcomed the Kaunas and European cultural community to the Žalgirii Arena amphitheatre and reminded them that the first such forum in 2018 was organised in search of a recipe for a successful European Capital of Culture (ECoC). How to create projects that have a lasting impact and inspire ambition and change in the local community? This Spring, as the Kaunas 2022 programme gathered momentum and the second act of the Contemporary Kaunas Myth trilogy, Confluence, approached, the forum became a much-needed pause and opportunity to reflect on the work that has already been done and a place to ask questions - how will we live, what goals will we set for ourselves in the coming years? Moreover, as the whole world is witnessing the war in Ukraine, the meeting in Kaunas provided an opportunity to hear first-hand the enormous power of transforming one’s professional skills in the face of terror and the importance of appreciating what we have here and now.

Practical examples from Lithuania and abroad 

The first speaker of the ECoC Forum was sociologist and artist Tadas Šarūnas. The expert, currently conducting an external evaluation of Kaunas 2022’s activities and legacy, playfully presented possible ways to define value and meaning. As an example of how the impact of culture and art cannot be measured in numbers alone, he presented the answer to the question of the meaning of life and the universe, as given by the writer Douglas Adams in his book “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”. A computer that has done countless years of calculations only spelt out ‘42’ in the book. According to the sociologist, numbers seem meaningless when you do not consider what is untouchable and incalculable. Next year, we will be looking at a study based primarily on small success stories that happened in Kaunas. Each of them is part of one immense legacy, one city body.

Beatriz Garcia, Associate Director at the Centre for Cultural Value in Liverpool (UK), gave a more scientific view of what a challenge of the scale of the ECoC can bring to a city. Liverpool’s success as a European Capital of Culture in 2008 was due to many internal and external factors. For example, shortly after the city won the bid, it was announced that the 2012 Olympic Games would be held in the UK capital, London, which was an added boost. Liverpool’s European pride also grew. As the country witnessed Brexit, this city hosted some of the largest rallies for remaining in the EU. Garcia also stressed the importance of sharing data and knowledge - reinventing the wheel each time is pointless. A qualitative assessment of the legacy can only be made by looking at the figures collected from the perspectives of specialists from different fields.

The latter thesis was in a way extended by the presentation “Gold and Coal: Artistic Community Experience”. It presented the work of the Italian director, contemporary circus artist and teacher Roberto Magro with the communities of the Kaunas district as a success story.

One of the speakers, Lukas Alsys, Deputy Head for Culture at Culture, Sports and Science Department, Kaunas District Municipality Administration, reminded that the ECoC title is shared by two municipalities this year. According to him, the inhabitants of the Kaunas district - as many as 25 towns - by joining the co-creation process invited by Kaunas 2022 had the chance to realise themselves in an unexpected way, proving that the language of art and culture is the most universal.

“We are far away from cultural centres, and cultural life here is based on ethnography and folklore - this is not a bad thing, but the repertoire is inherited, the content does not attract external attention, and as an elder, it is important for me that we grow not only in the number of new pavements but also in terms of the emotional connection with our land,” said Šarūnas Pikelis, head of the Batniava eldership. He recalled the community’s acquaintance with R. Magro, who came here to create the performance “Visions”, inspired by the works of Vytautas Mačernis and Čiurlionis: “We remembered that we actually had a forest, we saw it with new eyes - after the premiere, it became a meeting place for people, the forest came to life.”

Magro himself invited the Forum participants to participate in a playful experiment, presenting a unique working method based on seven invisible strings that can be used to control creativity. “One needs an aesthetic experience to teach the mind to be amazed,” said the Italian, recalling that last year in Batniava, he was impressed by the warmth of the people and the dedication of the Lithuanian artists to the process even in the pouring rain. He then told about his trip to Linksmakalnis, a village literally translated as “Funny mountain”. “I remember the first time I went there. I didn’t find a mountain or any fun - just the fact that it was a secret radio town during Soviet times. But they took me to a small museum of angels, and that’s how we created the play “Radio angels”,” recalled Magro, who made Linksmakalnis a famous town. He and contemporary circus professionals from all over the world who have visited the Kaunas area are still in contact with local young people. Amazingly, one Linksmakalnis teenager is already attending a circus school in Kaunas and is seriously considering such a career.

Lessons from the front

At the invitation of Kaunas 2022, Yulia Khomchyn, Head of the Lviv Cultural Strategy Institute, attended the ECoC Forum. The Ukrainian, who briefly introduced the principal idea of the Institute, devoted her presentation to showcasing how her work and that of her colleagues has changed since 24 February, when Russia started the war in Ukraine. The international partnerships that had been established previously took on a new meaning: the Institute sends factual information on the war to colleagues abroad. It has been able to effectively protect heritage assets with the knowledge and advice of foreign partners. Stained glass windows in churches covered in wood, sculptures hidden under sandbags, theatres turned into places of refuge - this has been the daily reality of Lviv, one of Ukraine’s most beautiful cities, for three months.

“We do what ongoing events demand so that we don’t lose what we are made for”, said the guest from Lviv. The CSI also acts as a humanitarian aid centre for Ukrainians arriving from cities under heavy attack and provides information for those in the cultural field, both those wishing to leave and those staying behind to defend their country. Khomchyn also shared a sensitive video clip, an excerpt from the diary of a jazz festival director fighting on the frontline.

“In the face of war, we came out much stronger than we thought. We were able to transform ourselves quickly and professionally - it is something we keep in mind when we think about our potential to rebuild Ukraine after the victory,” said the cultural expert. She also announced that she would like to organise the Ukrainian contemporary art triennial in Kaunas this year - Lublin in Poland is also being considered. However, there is still plenty of time before October. Anyone with ideas is invited to get in touch and share them.

Growing culture, desire to continue 

In the afternoon, Agata Etmanowicz, Audience Development Specialist, Vice President of Impact Foundation from Poland, invited representatives of the Kaunas cultural field to share their experience gained in the training courses provided by Kaunas 2022. She presented the journey of the programme from 2019 to today. The impact of the programme on their organisations was shared s presented by representatives of the Kaunas Biennial, Kaunas Vincas Kudirka Public Library and Kaunas IX Fort Museum. “The experiences of the organisations are different, but the positive effect seen by all is the increased cooperation between Kaunas cultural institutions and the partnerships that have been established,” Monika Straupytė, Acting Head of the Cultural Management Department of the Kaunas Vincas Kudirka Library, told after the presentation.

Immie Jonkmann, Head of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018, shared the case of the region of the Netherlands, which celebrated the ECoC title four years ago. This year, Leeuwarden and Friesland are presenting the first ECoC legacy event, the Arcadia triennial. Among its highlights are hundreds of trees planted in mobile containers, which ‘travel” around the city to remind people of the importance of nature. According to Jonkman, the attitude of the authorities towards cultural projects has changed a lot since 2018, and it has become much easier to get support for ideas and funding.

Both the guest from the Netherlands and Virginija Vitkienė, Head of Kaunas 2022, who followed her, agreed that it is difficult to talk about the legacy of the Kaunas project at this stage when all the activities are just getting underway. Vitkienė presented the most important Kaunas highlights and initiatives, stressed the importance of having supportive partners and revealed which Kaunas 2022 projects will definitely live on in the years to come. These include the ConTempo and Magenta festivals, Kaunas Literature Week, etc.

The main day of the fifth European Capital of Culture Forum ended with the discussion “Post ECOC. A New Beginning”. It was attended by I. Jonkmann, V. Vitkienė, L. Alsys, as well as the Vice-Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Albinas Vilčinskas, and the Vice-Mayor of Kaunas, Mantas Jurgutis. All agreed that the activities should not cease after 2022. After all, the continuation of the project was already discussed in the project application, and both the Government and municipal representatives agreed to it. This is also included in the Kaunas Cultural Strategy.

On Friday morning, some of the guests of the ECC Forum took part in Etmanowicz’s workshop, while others were preparing for the Confluence weekend marathon. Over 60 events - concerts, performances, workshops, etc. - are planned for Kaunas, which celebrates its birthday on 20-22 May.

The complete Confluence programme is available at kaunas2022.eu/santaka or on the Kaunas 2022 mobile app.


A joint exhibition of MO Museum and Kaunas City Museum: „Kaunas–Vilnius: Moving Mountains“

MO Museum and Kaunas City Museum open a unique exhibition about two cities and in two cities. The exhibition "Kaunas–Vilnius: Moving Mountains" explores the coded and inevitable conflict between Kaunas and Vilnius. However, this tense relationship is approached from a positive perspective – the rivalry does not take anything away from the two cities, but pushes them both relentlessly forward. The exhibition is one of the highlights of the Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 programme this year.

By inviting visitors to the exhibition representatives of MO Museum and Kaunas City Museum invite them to reflect on the changing dynamic relationship between Kaunas and Vilnius. And to answer the question: how are these cities related and necessary to each other? The entire exhibition can be seen by visiting both cities – MO Museum in Vilnius and the temporary M. K. Čiurlionis Art Gallery in Kaunas. The exhibition will run till 28 August.

More than external competition

Both cities are associated with stereotypes, with clichés that can't be explained quickly but are familiar to all. However, the curators of the exhibition missed new research about them, so they started by consulting experts in different fields. According to the cultural historian Tomas Vaiseta, the author of the exhibition concept, the exhibition was originally supposed to be about the competition between Kaunas and Vilnius, about stereotypes that could be analysed anthropologically. But as curators delved deeper into the exhibition's material, a different picture of the exhibition began to emerge – a narrative about the relationship between the cities, which is much more diverse than just an external competition.

"The exhibition is about the artistic, cultural and political interaction between Vilnius and Kaunas. The various storylines in the exhibition help to present the multi-layered aspects of Kaunas and Vilnius' proximity and relationship. This is an art and cultural history exhibition, which aims to grasp the constantly evolving and changing images of the two cities, the relationship of the citizens with these cities, their self-perception and even alternative identities," says T. Vaiseta.

What mountains are moved?

The curators of the exhibition have left both an intrigue in the title and a hint to the exhibition's intentions – they have chosen the metaphor of a "mountain" to describe the relationship between Kaunas and Vilnius. A mountain is an obstacle, a challenge, it connects and separates at the same time. Through the four mountains that constantly appear in the exhibition's narrative – Gediminas Hill, Žaliakalnis, Tauro Hill and Owl Hill – different forms of interaction between Kaunas and Vilnius are revealed.

"Although the exhibition is about mountains, there are no real mountains in either Vilnius or Kaunas, only hills. Therefore, "mountain" takes on several meanings in the exhibition. It becomes a metaphor for a complex or resentment, when we want what we don't have. The aspiration to "move mountains", which appears in the title of the exhibition, appeals to the effort to get rid of complexes, grievances and obstacles that prevent one from seeing the true relationship between Kaunas and Vilnius", – says T. Vaiseta.

The motif of the mountain is also physically important, as it is repeated in the architecture of the exhibition, which visually reveals the exhibition as an expedition. Visitors walking freely through the exhibition space will discover mountains, their foundations or ruins. The architecture for the exhibition was created by Julijonas Urbonas and Vladas Suncovas, and the exhibition designer is Inga Navickaitė-Drąsutė.

Works of art created especially for the exhibition

The exhibition features a wide range of artworks: paintings, photography, video art and installations. In total, there are 202 works of art (151 in Vilnius and 51 in Kaunas), including seven works created especially for this exhibition. It was very important for the curators to see Vilnius and Kaunas as cities that interact here and now, that influence each other and that are critically reflected upon by artists. Therefore, the exhibition deliberately includes a number of younger generation artists. The exhibition also features as many as 123 different sketches, posters, cartoons, online memes, children's drawings, videos from social platforms or songs.

Experiences to accompany the exhibition

By delving deeper into the relationship between Kaunas and Vilnius, the curators of the exhibition have expanded the theme in various formats. Therefore, the exhibition is accompanied by an exhibition book analysing the theme of Kaunas and Vilnius from different angles; from artistic, geographical, sociological and even linguistic perspectives. An e-guide to the exhibition in Lithuanian and English will help you experience the exhibition in both Kaunas and Vilnius.

A diverse exhibition team

The co-authors of the exhibition include no fewer than seven representatives from the fields of art, culture, history and other fields of expertise. The author of the exhibition concept is Tomas Vaiseta. Curators and co-curators of the exhibition: Justina Juodišiūtė, Kotryna Lingienė, Kęstutis Lingys, Ernestas Parulskis, Miglė Survilaitė, Rasa Žukienė. The curators of the exhibition were also consulted by: Julijana Andriejauskienė, Marija Drėmaitė, Linara Dovydaitytė, Giedrė Godienė, Lara Lempertienė, Jurgita Verbickienė, Sigita Žemaitytė-Strazdė. Architects of the exhibition: Vladas Suncovas, Julijonas Urbonas, designer – Inga Navickaitė-Drąsutė.

 

More about the exhibition in Vilnius - https://mo.lt/en/ivykiai/kaunas-vilnius/

About the exhibition in Kaunas – https://kaunomuziejus.lt/exhibition/kaunas-vilnius-moving-mountains/?lang=en


Kaunas will be shaken by the grand “Confluence” weekend: organizers reveal an impressive three-day programme

“It’s like a journey through the three stages of human life - understanding who I am, accepting myself as I am, and being happy with myself as I am,” is how Rytis Zemkauskas, one of the creative masterminds behind Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022, introduced the Contemporary Kaunas Myth Trilogy.

After “Confusion” shook the Lithuanian city in January, on 20-22 May, Kaunas 2022 invites the participants to immerse themselves in the second part of the trilogy, “Confluence”, and to listen to the flow of the waters, to forget the contradictions and to celebrate unity. Over 60 events await in Kaunas and Kaunas district over the festive weekend, from breathtaking aerial acrobat performances and puppet shows to a mystery show influenced by nature and the arrival of the great ship of culture.

A Massive Dinner to Start it All

It is no coincidence that the “Confluence” weekend, filled with togetherness, will kick off with the Courtyard Festival inspired by the European Neighbour Day. According to Kaunas 2022's community programme “Fluxus Labas!” coordinator Simona Savickaitė, the tradition, started by artist Vytenis Jakas in 2017, has survived thanks to the people who look forward to it every year with burning eyes.

“In a couple of hours, around fifty bands will perform on Laisvės Avenue. Tables of cafés, restaurants and people, communities and organisations will be lined up between their podiums. The artists will also entertain from balconies. We look forward to welcoming guests from other European Capital of Culture cities. The event will close with a special concert by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra at the Soboras,” says the organiser of the Courtyard Festival, inviting everyone to Laisvės Alėja on Friday evening.

The Weekend’s Main Intrigue to Take Place on the Water

The most anticipated event of Saturday, 21 May, and maybe of the whole weekend, is the Contemporary Kaunas Myth Trilogy show “Confluence” itself. “The experience of this event will also depend on the grace of Kaunas rivers: the speed of the current, the water level, the air temperature and the strength of the wind,” intrigues the creative team working on the first show of its kind in Lithuania to take place in flowing water. The artists reveal that the set will feature waves of boats, with projections animating the rivers providing a unique spectacle, and live orchestral music will help the audience sink into a dream.

Over a hundred performers will create an unpredictable impression and perform the technically complex programme at “Confluence”. Obviously, 21 May will be the only opportunity to see such a show, as it is impossible to repeat it.

The organizers are preparing even more surprises. After the grand evening event, at 11:55 p.m., the mysterious symbol of the city - Kaunas Mythical Beast - will show up to Kaunas residents and guests. It will be waiting for the audience nearby the “Žalgiris” arena, in the shortest sculpture unveiling ceremony in the world, which will last only a minute. “People will come to see this sculpture from all over the world,” promise the organizers and reveal that the best way to see the Beast is from afar: from the bike path of Karalius Mindaugas avenue or the Žalgiris Arena bridge by the Carmelite Church.

14 concerts on the Summer Stage

The second act of the contemporary Kaunas myth trilogy will also include Kaunas’ birthday. Performers from all over the world - Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Taiwan and Lithuania - will congratulate the city and its people at the new Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage, located in Town Hall Square.

Among the many performers are the Swedish string orchestra Musica Vitae, JISR, LÜCY, Bratři, Colors of Bubbles, Baltic Balkan, Kedrostuburas, Ministry of Echology and Arklio galia.

50 Assistants Needed for an Aerial Acrobat’s Performance

A 180-metre rope stretched 10 metres high, and an acrobat demonstrating her skills without any safety equipment. Sound incredible? Balance and imbalance, courage and fear, strength and weakness - a whole bouquet of emotions will come together in the Open Lines spectacle created by the world-renowned professionals from France, Cie Basinga. Music, acrobatic rope walks and the synergy of height and air await in just two exclusive performances at Santaka on Saturday and Sunday. The show will start at 4 pm on the Kaunas Castle grounds.

Interestingly, for the performances to run smoothly, a team of as many as 50 assistants is needed to hold the rope from swinging with their body weight. Similar shows by Cie Basinga have already been organised abroad - ropes have been swung at great heights in Switzerland, the Czech Republic, France and other countries, with the help of local people - this will be the case in Kaunasm too.

Cultural Routes Along the Neris and Nemunas Rivers

For friends or neighbours, here’s an idea - divide into two groups, team Nemunas and team Neris, and spend 21 May sailing in canoes, boats, or even homemade rafts. The participants of the community cultural route “Let’s celebrate the river!” will be invited to enjoy various educational activities, exhibitions, musical rhythms and workshop areas along the way.

Those who choose the River Neris will be invited to join in creating a large-scale drawing in the art plein air event in the Neris riverfront park. An oasis of peace - an island of music and education - awaits families with children at the P. Vileišis Bridge.

The Panemunė beach will be waiting for participants sailing down the river Nemunas. There will be volleyball and checkers tournaments, a board games area and even fencing classes. At the Panemune Bridge, people are invited to a plein air painting of wooden boats. Yet another art stop will await at the Žemieji Šančiai beach.

The Weekend Finale to be Held in Zapyškis

Everyone is invited to Zapyškis, a town in Kaunas District, to celebrate the “Confluence” weekend finale. After the kite festival “Between the Earth and the Sky”, on Sunday, 22 May, the historical dredge will start a new life here, becoming a cultural boat “Nemuno7“. The main show will start after the sunset. An audiovisual musical narrative about water, sustainability and dialogue will be performed by the duo from Klaipėda “Tykumos”. The artists will voice underground, geological, human inner, visible and invisible water currents, while metal dredge structures will become musical instruments for one evening. All this will be combined with original atmospheric music and authentic folk songs sung by the mixed choir Kamertonas. Spectators are invited to watch the performance from the banks of the Nemunas and plan their visit to the culture boat, where the first exhibitions will already be on display, from 24 May.

Countless cultural events and traces of the Mythical Beast of Kaunas

Also from 20-22 May. Kaunas will host the International Puppet Theatre Festival Kaunas Puppet 2022, the European Culture Fair, the Artists’ Square, a unique Labyrinth Puzzle in the Old Town, and Putvinskio Street Day in the city centre.

Kaunas 2022 also invites the attendee of “Confluence” to visit the European Capital of Culture exhibitions. The National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum and the Kaunas Picture Gallery are hosting retrospectives of William Kentridge and Marina Abramović. At the same time, the exhibition “1972: Breaking through the Wall”, dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the burning of Romas Kalanta, awaits at the Kaunas Central Post Office.

Traces of Kaunas symbol - the Mythical Beast - will be spread throughout the city during the weekend. Ceramist Remigijus Sederevičius will present a unique sculpture of the Beast's Tooth. Moreover, after picking up a special mask at the information centres, Kaunas residents and guests of the city will be invited to take part in the game - visit the venues and collect stickers, for which they will receive special prizes.

Additional train routes Kaunas-Vilnius will be available during the weekend. Trains will leave from the Capital of Culture on Friday at 9:50 p.m., on Saturday at 11:40-55 p.m. and Sunday 09:50 p.m.

Traffic restrictions during the events

During the events, traffic will be restricted in Kaunas Old Town (from May 20 at 12:00 p.m. to May 22 at 9:00 p.m.), Užnemunės str. in one traffic lane (from 12 May at 6:00 p.m. to 22 May at 00:00 a.m.) and Užnemunės str. in all lanes (19 May 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. on 20 May and from 01:00 p.m. on 21 May until 2:00 a.m. on 22 May)

The complete programme of the Kaunas 2022 weekend “Confluence” is available on kaunas2022.eu and the Kaunas 2022 mobile app.

 


Kaunas 2022 to Open a Summer Stage: Around the World of Music and Culture in 80 days

On 12-13 May, Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022 will open a new Summer Stage, the essential cultural gift of the warm season for the city. Every Thursday to Sunday until mid-September, Kaunas Town Hall Square will host concerts, performances and other creative activities by Lithuanian artists and international guests.

The location of the new cultural space - Town Hall Square - fits perfectly with Kaunas 2022’s primary motto, “From Temporary to Contemporary”. It is one of the most traditional places in the city, where the sounds of today’s music will symbolically resound throughout the season, and later, the square will undergo reconstruction.

During the eighty days of stage activities, Kaunas aims to host performers not only from Lithuania and Europe but also from Asia and South America. The most interesting Lithuanian bands and Kaunas 2022 ambassadors will perform here. Audiences will also enjoy stage performances by Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre, Kaunas National Drama Theatre and other events.

Guests from Latvia and Germany for the Opening Weekend

On the occasion of the opening of the Summer Stage, unique gifts from Lithuanian and foreign artists are being carefully packed. The stage will feature four performances and as many different styles of music.

On Thursday, 12 May, Latvian indie-rockers Carnival Youth, one of the most successful bands of the new generation in the Baltics, will return to Kaunas after a two-year break. Back in 2016, the trio received the European Border Breakers Award. The band will present their latest work exclusively for Kaunas.

The Summer Stage will present an exclusive duo – a tandem of Algirdas Kaušpėdas (Antis) and Victor Diawara (Skamp). The songs of Antis, which sparked a true musical revolution during the independence movement in the 80s, remain relevant to this day. A special duo will present a new intriguing programme.

The opening weekend’s highlight will be the eccentric electronic music duo Beissoul & Einius, who rarely appear in Lithuania these days. On Friday night, the performers will surprise not only with their endless energy and exceptional sound but also their looks.

On Friday, for the first time, Germany’s TOYTOY, a jazz band whose music has already captured the hearts of many music fans, will take to the Lithuanian stage. The quartet’s music is inspired by hip-hop rhythms, contemporary classical notes and art-pop sounds.

14 concerts for the Birthday of Kaunas

Coincidence or not, the second act of the contemporary Kaunas myth trilogy, “Santaka”, will also celebrate the city’s birthday. Performers from all over the world - Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Taiwan and Lithuania - will greet Kaunas and its guests on the Summer Stage. As many as 14 performances will offer an alternative soundtrack for the city’s birthday.

The three-day music programme on the Summer Stage will start on a lighter note, with guitar music merging with jazz rhythms before building up to an electronic music fiesta. And for those who love the sounds of world music, there will be a bouquet of exciting performances in the world music programme, with four guests from Asia and Europe.

The local alternative noise-rock band Sraigės efektas will amaze the participants of the Santaka weekend with the sounds of a guitar. They will be joined by a female rock band Shishi, often described as the most vital trio in today’s Lithuanian music, breaking standards about women in alternative music. Both bands have been nominated for the M.A.M.A. (2021) Awards in the Alternative Band of the Year category.

Later will come jazz rhythms by the quartet Juzt. Although the group was formed only a few years ago, it has already conquered the Lithuanian jazz scene - the performers can boast first prizes in a handful of competitions. Kristijonas Ribaitis, an indie and electronica artist whose post-punk sound motifs can be heard in his work, will bring sharper sounds to the stage and invite everyone to dance.

On Saturday, the second day of the Santaka weekend, the Swedish string orchestra Musica Vitae will tell the legends of Sweden through the sounds of historical genres. JISR, a band from Munich, Germany, will combine Western and Eastern cultures. On the same day, pop/indie sounds from Taiwan will also take the stage, with LÜCY, an artist with hundreds of thousands of internet streams. She will later be appearing at major European festivals this summer.

The Czech DJ duo Bratři, frequent performers in the most exciting European locations, has also added Kaunas’ birthday to their itinerary. So did the Lithuanian rock band Colours of Bubbles, twice awarded M.A.M.A. Rock Band of the Year. After dark, after the big Santaka mystery, Baltic Balkan, famous for their around-the-world folk music raves, will bring the buzz back to the Town Hall Square.

As the Santaka programme will draw to a close on Sunday, the band Kedrostuburas, which enchants with rock, hip-hop, soul and jazz music, will light up the Town Hall Square with upbeat sounds. The reggae/dub band Ministry of Echology, who have released three albums in their career and are preparing a fourth, will also be in Kaunas to present new music on the Summer Stage. Another welcome guest of the Santaka weekend is the art-rock band Arklio Galia, who will perform on saxophones, guitars, plates and drums, while the band members will play librettos on the most intriguing topics.

Last Weekend of May Packed With New Albums, Hip-hop Legends and African and Chilean Rhythms

African rhythms will bring spring to a noisy close in Kaunas. On 25 May, the African Drum Festival comes to the Summer Stage. The cultural event “African Days” has been presenting African culture for a decade and spreads the word about this continent every spring – stoked to have them in Kaunas!

On 27 May, Subhira from Chile will join in the music therapy. One of the country’s most innovative ensembles in the world music genre, their compositions blend the rhythms and languages of South American nations, progressive and contemporary world music, jazz and folklore. They are brought to Kaunas by the World Sounds Festival, which will offer more exotic surprises this summer.

Lithuania’s most loved rock band Garbanotas has prepared a long-awaited gift for Kaunas - on 26 May, they will present their new album on the Summer Stage.

And then there’s a surprise for urban culture lovers - the legendary hip-hop festival “Live from Kaunas Streets” will return to the city for one day, on 28 May, taking the audience back to 2005-2014. The festival, which is of great importance for the development of Kaunas underground culture, has contributed to the entry of artists such as Lilas and Innomine, MC Mesijus, Tie Geresni, Micro One and others into the music scene. Hip-hop fans will be able to see legendary artists such as Vaiper, Erke, MC Messiah and others again.

Another international, but in fact very local, highlight on the Summer Stage is planned for 29 May. The Kaunas 2022 programme “Memory Office” is organising a klezmer music concert “Songs from Testimonies”.

All Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage events are free of charge. For a full schedule of concerts and other activities, visit kaunas2022.eu, the Kaunas 2022 app or the calendar at kultura.kaunas.lt.


Kaunas Spring and Culture Without Borders – the Programme of “Kaunas 2022” for May

May – "Kaunas Spring". This city holds its traumatic traces, ideas of freedom and the culture that has taken off its Soviet clothing. The events of May 1972 are now even more relevant due to the events in Ukraine, so this month’s programme is dedicated to Romas Kalanta and the culture that grew out of the underground. It becomes an even more important message about struggle, freedom and citizenship. Culture will change its shapes: it will sail together with the cultural ship “Nemunas7”, will spread in the Courtyard festival, and will sound on the Summer Stage. For a perfect ending – the second act of the contemporary myth of Kaunas trilogy – the “Confluence” (Santaka). The large-scale event with the entire three-day programme is about to become the largest birthday celebration of Kaunas both for the people of the city and its guests.

 

International Writers’ and Book Festival “Kaunas Literature Week”

Book lovers will be delighted – Kaunas will host an International Literature Festival! The programme of the festival includes foreign and Lithuanian, young and famous writers and poets who are well known to readers. On 4th of May, the festival will be opened by a meeting with Vaiva Grainytė, the poet and writer who won the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture. The event will be closed by a solidarity event with Halyna Kruk and other Ukrainian authors. The horizons of literature this year will extend from France to Indonesia. Follow the programme of the festival on www.literaturossavaite.lt

When: May 4-8

Where: various places in Kaunas

Organizer: Vytautas Magnus University

The event is free

Europe Day. Symphony of Unity

The 8th of May will be dedicated to peace and unity in Europe! Europe Day will be celebrated in the European Capital of Culture: a special event will invite you to listen to the music and participate in important conversations. The European of the Year will be awarded during the evening.

When: 8 May

Where: Kaunas Town Hall square

Organizers: Representation of the European Commission in Lithuania and “Kaunas 2022”
The event is free

Exhibition “1972: Breaking through the Wall”

We are sure that every visitor will be touched by this exhibition. Our city will be as open to itself as never before. The exhibition “1972: Breaking the Wall” will take the viewer to the communities of people who disobeyed and resisted the system in the 1960s and 1970s: youth rock bands, actors of drama and pantomime from Kaunas, rebellious hippies, modern artists of Kaunas and Vilnius. Paintings, photographs and films, documentary testimonies of musical life, youth fashion of this period and other artefacts tell about alternative culture and non-Soviet way of life in Soviet Lithuania.

When: from 14 May

Where: Kaunas Central Post Office

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

Tickets: on site

International Conference "Forgiving or Forgetting – Dealing with a Painful Past"

How to deal with the painful history of the 20th century? To conveniently forget it and allow separate interpretations of the past to thrive, or perhaps to go deeper in search of forgiveness and agreement? The international scientific conference "Forgiving or Forgetting – Dealing with a Painful Past" will seek to bring together people who can share the experiences and methods of recognizing the painful past and encourage Kaunas residents to understand and reconcile with the unspoken history of their city.

 

When: 13-14 May

Where: Vytautas Magnus University

Organizer: VMU Andrei Sakharov Research Centre for Democratic Development

 

Theatre play “Kaunas Spring’72”

The theatre play “Kaunas Spring’72” of the Kaunas National Drama Theatre intertwines documentary material and today’s look at the events of 1972 in Kaunas. Theatre director Jonas Tertelis raises the question of how the act of 19-year-old Romas Kalanta resonates in today’s society. The analysed moods, expectations and tensions of that time become a surreal fragment of collective memory in the great picture of European and global movements for liberation. Are these events really just the past, or is history really repeating itself, and what are you personally trapped in?

 

When: 13–15 May

Where: Kaunas National Drama Theater

Organizer: Kaunas National Drama Theater

Tickets: HERE

 

Premiere of rock opera “1972” dedicated to Romas Kalanta

Rock opera is best suited to remember Romas Kalanta. Just outside of Kaunas State Musical Theatre on May 14, 1972, 19-year-old Romas Kalanta, in protest against the Soviet regime, poured gasoline on himself and having set himself of fire, shouted: “Freedom for Lithuania!”. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of this significant event, the personality of Romas Kalanta revealed in the rock opera “1972” is an artistic expression of that time, filled with the spirit of protest and youthful energy, and a unique musical experiment combining documentary and fiction with the sound of a modernly interpreted psychedelic rock classic.

 

When: 14 May

Where: Kaunas State Musical Theatre

Organizer: Kaunas State Musical Theatre

Tickets: HERE

 

European Capital of Culture Forum 2022. LEGACY

Although the most dynamic season of the programme is ahead of us, the year of Kaunas - European Capital of Culture each day is approaching its last day. What awaits the city, the district after this year? Answers and solutions will be sought as usual for the programme of “Kaunas 2022” – in cooperation, involving participants, creators, partners and researchers of the Capital of Culture programme.

When: 19–20 May

Where: Kaunas

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

The event is free

Courtyard Festival

This traditional event is aimed at strengthening the community and friendship spirit of the residents of Kaunas city and Kaunas district, and commemorating the upcoming International Neighbours’ Day. The participants of the event include communities, organizations and neighbours who will bring their chairs and tables to the city centre and decorate them with white tablecloths and flowers. During the event, music will be played in unexpected places, participants will be surprised by various creative installations and performances, some of which you will be able to create yourselves – residents and guests of the city.

When: 20 May

Where: Laisvės Alėja and Vilnius Street

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

The event is free

The great event of the year: CONFLUENCE. Act 2 of the Trilogy

“Confluence” is the second major event of the “Trilogy of Contemporary Myth of Kaunas”, which will once again fill the entire city. For the Birthday of Kaunas – in one of the most impressive places in Lithuania – at the confluence of Kaunas – we invite the visitors to resolve their internal contradictions and celebrate unity. At sunset, the city celebrating its birthday will be greeted by a performance on the water of an unprecedented scale in Lithuania, and for the rest of the weekend, the audience and guests of the city will be amazed by the performances of acrobats, contemporary circus performances, the introductory events of the international puppet theatre festival “Kaunas Puppet 22”, the initiatives “Let’s celebrate the River” will invite visitors to the river bank, musical picnics to the settlements of Kaunas and Kaunas district located by the rivers. Get ready everyone – days full of events are awaiting.

When: 20-22 May

Where: Confluence of the Nemunas and Neris, various places near the rivers in Kaunas and Kaunas district

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

The event is free

The great ship of culture “Nemunas7”. Opening

“Nemuno7” is a unique river art and landscape design project in Europe that will serve as a public cultural space. The object combines history of technology, heritage and contemporary architecture for local residents, guests from Lithuania and abroad will become a new place of attraction in Kaunas district. 22nd of May is worth marking in the calendar as it will be the opening day of the ship-excavating machine “Nemunas7”, where the audience will be invited to experience the water from the perspective of art, architecture or science.

When: May 22, 21:30

Where: Left bank of the River Nemunas in Zapyškis, Kaunas Disctrict

Organizer: “Ars Futuri” VšĮ

The event is free

Exhibition of artists’ group “Konsortium” “Memory / Future” (Germany)

There are a lot of modernist buildings in Kaunas. International and intercultural exchanges started here, architects and artists came here not only from Lithuania but also from Germany, Poland, Russia, Switzerland and the USA. A group of artist-curators “Konsortium” (Germany) invited over fifty artists from various countries of the world to collaborate in creating a collective sculpture dedicated to this historical period of Kaunas.

 

From the end of May to the beginning of July, artists will present a temporary exhibition in the historic building of Kaunas Old Town. In the vicinity of the historical presidential palace of the Republic of Lithuania there will be a “mini museum”, a three-dimensional map of the city consisting of paintings and sculptures.

 

When: from 27 May

Where: Gimnazijos g. 4

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

 

Exhibition “Kaunas - Vilnius: Moving Mountains”

Kaunas and Vilnius, Vilnius and Kaunas. The largest cities in Lithuania. Competing, disagreeing, but also in need of each other. The pride and superstitions that have filled the life of Vilnius and Kaunas hide the truth – indeed, these cities need each other. This is told by the exhibition “Kaunas–Vilnius: Moving Mountains” taking place at the MO Museum in Vilnius and Kaunas City Museum at the same time. Would like to see the entire exhibition? Then get ready to visit both cities!

 

When: 23 April - 28 August

Where: Temporary M. K. Čiurlionis Gallery in Kaunas, MO Museum in Vilnius

Organizer: Kaunas City Museum, MO Museum

 

Marina Abramović’s exhibition “Memory of Being”

One of the most anticipated art events in Kaunas and all of Lithuania is the exhibition “Memory of Being” by Marina Abramović, one of the most famous performance artists in the world, which is to be presented for the first time. The exhibition offers a detailed presentation of the works by Abramović from the 1960s to recent years; the exhibition also draws attention in a unique form - for the first time it is prepared as an impressive video installation from selected documentaries and films of the artist's performances.

When: until 30 July

Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery

Tickets HERE.

Organizer: Art Park Gallery “Meno parkas”

Summer stage of Kaunas 2022

Throughout the warm season, the heart of Kaunas Old Town – the Town Hall Square – will beat with the rhythm of culture. Residents and guests of Kaunas will be delighted by the most memorable performances, concerts, tastings and meetings by the summer stage of “Kaunas 2022” that will be located here. From May to September, you may enjoy the weekends of a carefully prepared artistic program and hundreds of free events with the best Lithuanian and foreign music performers and other performances.

When: 12 May - 17 September

Where: Kaunas Town Hall Square

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

Events are free

Robert Magro’s Contemporary Circus Performance “Visions”

The works of contemporary circus director Roberto Magro have already become an integral part of the activities of “Kaunas 2022”. The Italian director’s performances reveal bold and unexpected creative decisions and respect for the local population and the environment. We have great news – Roberto Magro and his circus group are returning to Kaunas district and will invite you to see the mysterious theatre performance “Visions”.

When: 31 May – 4 June

Where: Batniava

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

Tickets will be available soon

The Never-Ending Programme of May 

 

Residents of the city are invited to check the programme every day, as it offers: an international puppet theatre festival “Kaunas Puppet 22”, a concert “Nemunas seven” (duo “Tykumos” and choir “Kamerton”), Putvinskis Street Day, kite festival “Between Earth and Sky”, a documentary performance “TAXI”, 3x3 basketball tournament “A Street Beast”. The organizers remind you that creative inspirations may be sought in exhibitions that have already been opened and are still on open and which feature familiar faces, big names and even greater ideas. The M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art hosts an exhibition “That Which We Do Not Remember” by William Kentridge, and Yoko Ono’s installation “Ex It” at the Bank of Lithuania.

 

Full programme of events is available here www.kaunas2022.eu or can be downloaded by the mobile application “Kaunas 2022”.


Grande Saison SanuaK: See Kaunas through the eyes of others

Kaunas and Berlin are joining forces to give Kaunas residents and guests a special experience. International artists from B_Tour (Berlin) and local tour guides from Ekskursas (Kaunas) have united their expertise and created a programme of three guided tours titled Grande Saison SanuaK. As part of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022, on Sundays of May (1st, 8th, and 15th), the tours will challenge the visitors’ perspective on their surroundings with creativity and humour. From exploring puddles or cracks in the asphalt to getting to know some local senior women, the organizers of the programme promise to surprise, make laugh, and help to see the city in a new light.

Grande Saison SanuaK refers to the Grande Saison Dada spring series of tours organised by the Dada group in 1921, Paris. Inspired by this happening, the excursions in Kaunas will combine auditory, visual, performative, narrative, and somatic artistic strategies to challenge the social structure of the guided tour playfully.

According to Yael Sherill, the artistic director of B_Tour, conventional guided tours are mostly focused on the sites. In contrast, artistic tours offer a unique experience created by artists: “During the three tours, the “site” might be a commonplace courtyard facing a “normal” residential building, a crack in the asphalt or a private student apartment.”

Her colleague Lianne Mol adds that these “sites” become part of a larger narrative told by the artists about intergenerational trauma, post-war architecture, and utopian philosophy.

„The tours apply various strategies; performativity, visual storytelling, intimate conversations, awkward silences, phone calls… You will have to come and see!“ invites Sherill.

The excursions will take place in the city centre and Šančiai district. The visitors will be invited for a one-to-one conversation in a secret location with “Mamos Mama Mena”, local senior women who will tell their personal stories about Kaunas under Russian influence. Co-walkers will discover the wishes and needs, shyness, and anxiety of puddles in the Šančiai district on the tour Puddle Watching. And on the tour Die Wohnung (The Dwelling), the audience will visit the first Bauhaus settlement worldwide in Stuttgart, Germany, without ever boarding a plane.

Kaunas is open to new experiences

Dada’s series of happenings and manifestations in the public space in 1921 included an excursion to the St. Julien-le-Pauvre church. The independent curators from Berlin note that this site-seeing trip was promoted in flyers and newspapers as an alternative guided tour that would correct the incompetence of regular tour guides and visit places with “no reason to exist”.

In line with the Dadaist approach, the excursion consisted of a series of events, like the guide Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes reading the definitions of random words from the dictionary in several places and the performative presentation of a manifesto by André Breton.

As Breton would recall in his text “Artificial Hells”, this excursion intended to lay bare and break down the social structure of the guided tour and tourism itself. The surrealist writer Georges Hungnet described the events as an “absurd Rendez-Vous, mimicking instructive walks”.

“101 years later, both of our organisations find the Dadaist tour incredibly contemporary, creative, and full of humour, and we decided to experiment with our own Grande Saison,” says Sherill.

According to Algimantas Grigas, coordinator at Ekskursas, Kaunas is a perfect place to experiment and fuse artistic knowledge into new products: “New guided tours that move the boundaries of what a guided tour is in Lithuania.”

He explains that Kaunas was the birthplace of Jurgis (George) Mačiūnas, one of the founders and active proclaimers of Fluxus art. The aftermath of the World Wars directly influenced both Fluxus and Dada. While Dada rejected the fact that art has to be beautiful, Fluxus not only put forward ideas that everyone can be an artist but also employed certain Neo-Dadaist tendencies like the opposition to sensory aesthetics.

It is important to rediscover old places

The tours not only explore the city’s secret places. They also reflect on the production and distribution of knowledge.

„Decolonising sacred cows of the modernist narrative, the tours rewrite hegemonic stories. They employ embodied knowledge, perspective-shifting, and humour to challenge dominant stances in a subtle, thought-provoking, and creative way,“ says Mol.

She notes that tourism is a great privilege these days – discovering different ways of living and thinking is a gift. However, because of globalisation, tourism is no longer about finding the differences – it is about reproducing what is the same and easily consumable.

“The tours we show aim to do precisely the opposite. Not every person will love all the tours, but we hope you will find at least one that is eye-opening and enjoyable!“ smiles Sherill.

She adds another reason for it – climate change. People in the global north should take responsibility for their actions, like every-weekend trips by airplane: “Flights account for a huge amount of the global carbon dioxide production, so there is a great potential in rediscovering one’s city in completely new and unexpected ways.”

Photo author Martynas Plepys


A Birthday Like no Other - all the Cultural Rivers of Kaunas Will Reach “The Confluence” on 20-22 May

The Lithuanian Kaunas, born from the love of the Nemunas and the Neris rivers, will celebrate its birthday in a unique way this year - the European Capital of Culture will be hosting “The Confluence” weekend on 20-22 May, the second part of the Contemporary Kaunas Myth trilogy.

This time, the city will address its inhabitants in the language of water, inviting them to search for intersections, convergence, connection, and most importantly - connection with themselves and others. “The Confluence” invites everyone to immerse themselves in three days full of unexpected experiences, video and audio journeys, and meetings with culture and art.

“If only the climate conditions allowed, we would hold all the events of the Kaunas Myth trilogy by the river - after all, for so many years, Kaunas has ignored the fact that it is a city by the water. “The Confluence” weekend means hundreds of opportunities to enjoy the relationship with the river and its endless possibilities, both in terms of culture and art, and in terms of meaningful leisure and lifestyle in general,” Virginija Vitkienė, the head of Kaunas 2022, believes.

The culmination of the weekend will, of course, take place at the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers. The second part of the Kaunas Myth trilogy will be a mystery show on the water on the evening of 21 May, featuring rock and pop stars and a symphony orchestra. More about the highlights of the big Kaunas 2022 weekend will follow soon. For now, it is clear that a date with the Kaunas Beast is planned for after the big show - this time, it will take place at Žalgiris Arena.

From Laisvės Alėja to Zapyškis

Symbolically - at the dinner table - the big weekend will be kicked off with the Courtyard Festival on 20 May. An inseparable spring tradition, which has come to Kaunas on the occasion of the International Neighbours Day, will call for tablecloths to be laid and feasts to be piled up on Laisvės Avenue, the region’s longest pedestrian boulevard. This year, the festival will feature not only one long table of Kaunas city and Kaunas district residents, communities and organisations, stretching across Laisvės Alėja but also Kaunas’ new friends, the Ukrainians. Of course, there will be many cultural highlights, culminating in a performance by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra by the Soboras church.

On Friday, the opening event of Nemuno7 will take place in the inter-war Kaunas Waters Reservoir - it will be an audiovisual performance of the Tykumos project, featuring sounds from the most unexpected places. And the season’s wettest news, the Nemuno7 culture boat, will dock in Zapyškis, on the Nemunas, on 22 May. On that day, the traditional kite festival “Between the Earth and the Sky” will occur there.

Action in the Water, in the air and in Labyrinths

Spectators and visitors will be amazed by performances by acrobats, contemporary circus, action in the rivers, and musical picnics on their banks throughout the weekend. During “The Confluence”, everyone will be invited to participate in the community initiative “Let’s Celebrate the River”. It will offer two cultural routes along the Nemunas and the Neris, which will converge at the confluence. Canoeists and rafters (who can make their rafts in a special workshop before the event) will be able to visit the cultural islands - a plein-air painting workshop, a sports and games station, live music and more.

“Getting lost will be fun”, promises the Catalan company “Espectacle Spectacular”. This collective of artists will set up a 700 square metre installation - three different labyrinths - by the Kaunas Castle. Little Kaunas residents can already mark their parents’ calendars in red - there will be various educational activities, workshops and other entertainment. Of course, there will also be other performances - Kaunas State Puppet Theatre and its festival Kaunas Puppet 2022 will present two cosmically exciting shows at the castle.

Happy Birthday, Kaunas

Although Kaunas is mentioned in historical sources as early as 1361, the city’s birthday is traditionally celebrated on 20 May or the weekend closest to it. On this day in 1463, the city’s rights were considerably extended. So in 2022, the year of the European Capital of Culture, Kaunas, turns 559.

“The Confluence” weekend programme will be packed with highlights to mark the occasion. One of them will be the European Culture Fair, where traditional crafts, feasts and contemporary accents will all find their place. Lithuanian and European folk craftsmen, artists and culinary artists will be waiting for you at the Kaunas Castle.

Music is a must for a birthday. On 20 May, the Kaunas 2022 stage in the Town Hall Square will be officially opened. The best and most original performers from our country and Europe (even the world!), performances, literature, other stage acts and announcements - everything will fit here until September. The opening weekend will be filled with pop, electronica, rock, and world music festive rhythms. An even bigger stage, specially dedicated to Kaunas’ birthday, will be erected in Santaka Park.

In total, Kaunas 2022 and its partners will present around 60 different activities, including approximately 20 concerts, in “The Confluence” weekend programme.

Of course, 20-22 May is also a great time to visit those European Capital of Culture exhibitions already running. Contemporary art and culture lovers must visit the Bank of Lithuania with Yoko Ono’s installation “Ex It”, the new show “1972: Breaking through the Wall” at Kaunas Central Post Office, and the retrospectives of William Kentridge and Marina Abramović at the National Museum of Art of M.K.Čiurlionis and the Kaunas Picture Gallery.

For an event of this magnitude to run smoothly, organizers are planning to gather a team of 400 volunteers. Those who would like to become part of the event, can register here.

The complete programme of the Kaunas 2022 myth trilogy weekend “The Confluence” will be published on kaunas2022.eu and on the Kaunas 2022 mobile app in the run-up to 20-22 May.

Photo author Martynas Plepys


From Culture Rides to Interwar Apartments: Authentic Experience Awaits in Kaunas, the European Capital of Culture

Liberty Avenue, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum, and the Old Town – wondering what else to see in Kaunas? The organizers of “Kaunas 2022” invite those who have already visited the most important spots, exhibitions, and events to peek through the keyhole and see the city in a new light.  Discover the most delicious coffee, uncover the legends lurking in the city and see how apartments in Kaunas looked like between the wars. Experiential accommodation, meetings with locals and unprecedented history of the city – all this and much more – in the impressive hospitality programme “Experience Kaunas”.

The unique programme offers to get to know the city through authentic experiences: morning in a historical apartment, a non-traditional tour led by a local and a trip carried out by a driver who can give some useful bits of advice. “We want our visitors to feel the beauty of Kaunas and to find the city’s hidden gems in numerous streets or districts, known only by locals. This is a great opportunity to look at the city through a magnifying glass”- promise the curators of the programme.

To wake up in historical apartments: corded telephone, vintage dishes, and a panoramic view of Kaunas

Records of interwar music slowly rotating in a gramophone, rooms drowning in Art Deco perfume and a cup of coffee, enjoyed while looking at the panoramic views of Kaunas… “I hoped that it would be good, but I didn’t expect it to be so extraordinary”, tell those who tried accommodation in tailor-made “Experience Kaunas” apartments.

This experiential stay will stand out from the usual overnight stays in modern hotels. Carefully thought-out interior details, such as corded telephones, books of the era or authentic furniture will help to touch, see, and smell the atmosphere of the specific period. Visitors can choose from several places to stay: a modernist villa designed by an interwar architect, a 70's-style apartment in Žaliakalnis or an interwar-style villa in Panemunė district.

Choose the desired room and start the time travelling – the authentic apartments will bring you to different historical periods of the city.

Go where the locals go

“Experience Kaunas” also offers services of Culture Hosts – locals, determined to show their hometown.  All of them went through special training and chose the topics which they would like to share with the visitors. More than 200 people from Lithuania and abroad have already enjoyed the special tours. If you have already seen the main tourist attractions of the city, it is time to descend into unexplored urban areas. Culture Hosts are ready to talk about street art, reveal the secrets of various districts and even explore some tunnels and dungeons. Through the eyes of those who know the city inside out, Kaunas will reveal its lesser-known side, while you will get some useful tips for the evening activities.

“Probably the most fun part is to see how surprised people get when they hear previously unknown facts. I also enjoy socializing and sharing knowledge and my passions. Kaunas is my hometown, so I can talk about it from the perspective of a local,” says Povilas, who invites visitors to wander around the Kaunas Castle and see the city's churches up close. The Culture Host, who is studying history says that the hospitality programme is used by both Kaunas residents and people from other Lithuanian cities or abroad. For example, a group from an Estonian school will come to explore the city with Povilas in the upcoming days. The young man says that the friendships do not end immediately after the tour: “With one of my guests we talked about Kaunas Žalgiris team, with the others – shared some tips of travelling. These tours are a kind of exchange, which makes us grow and learn something new.”

Travelling around accompanied by a real connoisseur of Kaunas culture

“Experience Kaunas” also thought about guests who have less time, but no less desire to familiarize themselves with the city. The organizers of “Kaunas 2022” offer everyone willing to see places unreachable by foot to try a private tour by car together with a gourmet of Kaunas culture. From culture enthusiasts and artists to photographers – local drivers with different backgrounds are ready to share important advice and stories.

“Kaunas 2022” events continue, and the upcoming summer will bring more concerts, exhibitions, and performances than ever before. Thus, the hospitality programme is becoming more and more relevant.

“The beauty of Kaunas reveals not only in the most famous tourist attractions or buildings.  It is often necessary to look for cultural gems in lesser-known details. We thought it is best to get to know the city through the experiences of locals. They can talk not only about the architecture of Kaunas but also about the life of Kaunas residents. Thanks to these people, the real, original, and authentic spirit of the city will open to our guests”, – tells Marija Pulokaitė, the Curator of the Hospitality Programme.


Audra festival updates: Midori Takada, Kittin, HÖR Radio, Caterina Barbieri and many more to come to Kaunas

From June 29 to July 3, Kaunas, Lithuania will be hit by the Audra Festival, a five-day urban music and art festival. The nightclub Lizdas, together with the youth of Kaunas city and district and the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 team, is organizing a huge program of events and musical performances scattered all over the city.

The growing roster of performers has been announced. HÖR Radio, Berlin's iconic cultural institution, will come to Kaunas for a temporary residency and a special broadcast. They will be joined by the legendary French duo Kittin and The Hacker, Esa Afro-Synth Band, PartiBoi69, Caterina Barbieri.

But one of the festival's most important guests is Japanese percussionist and composer Midori Takada, considered one of the world's pioneers of ambient and minimal music. The premiere of "Silence Birds", a collaborative project between her and several ensembles, will take place in the Grand Hall of the VDU, inspired by the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Midori Takada has already visited Lithuania three decades ago, just after regaining the state's independence.

The following list of artists have already confirmed their participation in the festival: Azu Tiwaline, Call Super, Deena Abdelwahed, DJ Marcelle, Helena Hauff, Hilda, Job Jobse, Mor Elian, Pakas, Noia, Patricia Kokett, Roads, Eimantas, Vox Low , V, 5zyl, Mantas T, Bradley Zero, Lover, Planet Polar, Between Two Dawns, Violet, Gabrielle Kwarteng, Alex Krell, Arp Frique, Antal, Aurora Halal, DJ Rituals, Héctor Oaks, Black, LSDXOXO, Julia Huxtable, Loran Vaitkus, Maria Paskevic, Mario Moretti, Elboe, Mamiko Motto, Monika Seta, Aiste Regina, Manfredas, Identified Patient, Under Black Helmet, VTSS, Free Finga, Flash Voyage, CCL, Eris Drew, Less Feeling, Vaiper Vitalijus.

In addition to the music program, there is also news in the cultural program. The organizers announce that the festival days will include open-air screenings of audio-documentaries curated by "Inconvenient Cinema", night readings, the exhibition "NFThon: Future", comedy performances in the event "Standup 2.0", night painting classes and various interdisciplinary performances.

The program of the Audra Contemporary City Festival will be updated. It is jointly developed by the youth organization "Kylantis Kaunas", team of the nightclub Lizdas, Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022 and various partners from Greece, Serbia, France, Germany, Estonia, Finland and Japan.

Photo author Vytenis Silver


Cultural trips: calendar of events for April

This month, going wherever your feet take you in Kaunas, you can unwittingly travel around the world. April travel directions: Šilainiai – Japan (and back). Culture will be visiting courtyards, neighbourhoods, shop windows and cinema halls. And one space deserves particular support – the CulturEUkraine Centre, a place for Ukranians, who have fled war, to create and spend time together. But there is always something for everyone to make the most of their time in Kaunas: for theatre lovers and jazz enthusiasts, culture’s senior participants and the Mythical Beast’s youngest fans.

The schedule of cultural trips in April is ready :

 

Marina Abramović's exhibition “Memory of Being”

One of the most anticipated art events in Kaunas and all of Lithuania is the exhibition “Memory of Being” by Marina Abramović, one of the most famous performance artists in the world, which is to be presented for the first time. The exhibition offers a detailed presentation of the works by Abramović from the 1960s to recent years; the exhibition also draws attention in a unique form – for the first time it is prepared as an impressive video installation from selected documentaries and films of the artist’s performances.

 When: From 30 March 2022 to 31 July 2022

Where: Kaunas Picture Gallery

Admission at the exhibition is paid.

Organizer: Meno Parkas Art Park and “Kaunas 2022”

 

Programme of European Film Journeys

The renewed “Romuva” Cinema will finally open its doors in April. It will host a European cinema tour. 12 advance screenings of films of contemporary filmmakers, which will take place in the cinema and outdoor cinema sessions, invite you to discover the colourful diversity of European cinema culture. The program presents films on contemporary topics and the most important filmmakers in Europe today. “European Film Journeys” is for picky spectators and reviewers of good films!

When: from 22nd of April

Where: Romuva Cinema

Attendance at the exhibition is paid.

Organizer: Kaunas “Romuva” Cinema

 

Culture in the courtyards: Šilainiai

Culture to the Courtyards, the internationally acclaimed project, launched during Lithuania's first quarantine and organised by the Fluxus Labas!, will fill those living next door to one another with the excitement of anticipation, will make balconies resound with applause and joy as culture will once again fill Kaunas’s courtyards! Theatrical, dance, contemporary circus and music professionals will perform in the courtyards of 11 neighbourhoods. This time we invite you to take a seat in the balcony boxes of Šilainiai or choose a standing place in the courtyard area.

When: 19–21 April 2022

Where: Šilainiai Neighbourhood

Admission to the exhibition is free.

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”

 

Art space “Artery”. Opening of a new cycle

The open-air exhibition “Blink” features sound and light installations, which are accessible around the clock but can be best appreciated after dark. There will be four Arterija exhibitions presented in the old town , each designed for a different season. The exposition's author is Saulius Paliukas (Kaunas Faculty of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, VAA), and its co-authors are Romualdas Požerskis and Rimantas Giedraitis (Kaunas Faculty, VAA). ARTERIJA, the open-air public art space of the Kaunas Faculty of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, is participating in the “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” programme.

When: 21 April 2022

Where: Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius Academy of Arts

Admission to the exhibition is free.

Organizer: Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius Academy of Arts

 

Japan Days in Kaunas “WA!”

“WA!”, the Days of Japan in Kaunas, is your ticket to the land of the rising sun. The festival's programme includes: a joint project by Aura and Ryu Suzuki, a renowned Japanese modern dance choreographer; a performance by the world-renowned calligraphy artist Aoi Yamaguchi, who invites visitors to explore this artform through a spectacular show; live drawings created by a robot; Hanami Matsuri, a traditional Sakura-watching festival spanning more than 1000 years; a concert by Tanaka Kyokusen, one of Japan's most famous traditional lute players; as well as numerous exhibitions, lectures, concerts, food tastings and other events.

When: From 25 April 2022

Where: Kaunas

Admission to the exhibition is free.

Organizer: “Kaunas 2022”, “Azija LT” MB, Kaunas Dance Theatre “Aura”, public bodies “Kultūrinės ir organizacinės idėjos”, “KyūmeikanKendo”

 

Exhibition “Kaunas – Vilnius: Moving Mountains”

The secret of the friendship between the rival cities – Kaunas and Vilnius – will be revealed by the co-exhibition of the MO Museum and the Kaunas City Museum. The expositions will uncover the fundamental interdependence of the two cities, how they have shaped one another, and how present-day Lithuania has emerged from the tensions between the two. The mountains and motifs of the exhibition are repeated in the exhibition halls of both museums, but they tell different stories. In this way, the concept and architecture of “Kaunas-Vilnius: Moving Mountains” embodies the very necessity for Kaunas and Vilnius to stay together: to see the whole exhibition, one must visit both cities.

When: From 23 April 2022 to 28 August 2022

Where: Temporary Gallery of MK Čiurlionis, MO Museum in Vilnius

Attendance at the exhibition is paid.

Organizer: Kaunas City Museum, MO Museum

 

Earlier opened exhibitions are ready to welcome visitors

Visit the installation of the non-conformist of the art world Yoko Ono in the historical Bank of Lithuania or the monthly cycle of exhibitions “100 years to Kaunas Art School. 12 Exhibitions. 12 Months”,  which is intended to commemorate the centenary of the Kaunas School of Arts. The exhibition “Lithuanian Design: from Temporary to Contemporary” on display in the shop windows of Laisvės Alėja boulevard is still inviting visitors to admire the history of design. To deepen the dialogue with oneself, we invite you to the exhibition “That Which We Don’t Remember” by William Kentridge, a South African artist of Lithuanian Jewish descent.

Full programme: www.kaunas2022.eu