Programme

01 19-23 1st Act: The Confusion

01 19 - 23
First Act. The Confusion

At 19:30 (7:30pm) on 22 January, all are invited to an historic event: the Opening Ceremony of the Kaunas European Capital of Culture programme! The ceremony will be held near the Žalgiris Arena. The show programme will be kept a secret until the last minute before the opening.
All we can tell you right now is that the show is being created by hundreds of performers from Kaunas, Lithuania, and abroad. A synthesis of contemporary music, gigantic video projections, and slam poetry will tell the story of a city as a living, always renewing miracle. The show calls everyone to the city’s creative uprising. Kaunas will invite everyone watching the live broadcast of the opening ceremony throughout the European Union and around the world, to harness culture to create a new, post-pandemic future.
Opening Night will be the main, but not the only event. Introductory events will already begin on 19 January at the edges of the Kaunas District, each evening drawing ever closer to the centre of Kaunas, bringing together local communities, one after another, for the great Opening Night event.
This entire opening cultural fuss will awaken the Mythical Beast of Kaunas. And from that moment on, the excitement will begin…
More about event here
05 20-22 2nd Act: The Confluence

05 20-22

Second Act: The Confluence

The Confluence is the second main event in the Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy. We invite you to one of Lithuania’s most impressive sites to encounter the contradictions that lie within all of us and celebrate unity together. Everyone will face the event with a water show on a scale never before seen in Lithuania, directed by British theatre director Chris Baldwin.
The date of this event was chosen for a very specific reason. The city of Kaunas celebrates its birthday every year in late May, while at the same time the Kaunas District will hold one of its most memorable celebrations, the Between Earth and Sky international kite festival. This is why an entire weekend will be devoted to all of these events. The name “Confluence” symbolizes the community shared between the people of Kaunas and the surrounding Kaunas District and the region’s ties with other European cities. It is our hope that this weekend’s events will inspire us all to reconnect with the waters around Kaunas and fulfill the city’s dream to reunite with its rivers!
The entire weekend will feature shows by acrobats, contemporary circus performers, river excursions, and musical tours to river towns and settlements in Kaunas. Public will be invited to the unveiling of Nemuno7, an environmental design project that is unique in the European context. If the pandemic permits, we also hope to welcome guests from the other two European Capitals of Culture and also from Alytus, which carries the title of Lithuania’s Capital of Culture in 2022.
Finally, the weekend’s events will also give everyone the chance to get a close glimpse of the Mythical Beast of Kaunas...
When? 20–22 May 2022
Where? Confluence of Nemunas and Neris & various places by the rivers in Kaunas & Kaunas District
11 26 3rd Act: The Contract

11 25-27

Third Act: The Contract

The official Closing Ceremonies of the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 programme will be dedicated to signing contract with ourselves and with our city – a pledge to live long and happy lives from this moment forward!
The creators of the Great Contract event are Lithuanian artists, including composer and Lithuanian National Prize laureate Zita Bružaitė, director Gediminas Šeduikis, dramatist and Gold Stage Cross winner Daiva Čepauskaitė, hundreds of Lithuania’s best performers in the production of a contemporary opera composed especially for the occasion.
For the entire weekend of the Closing Ceremonies, various public spaces around Kaunas will be adorned with contemporary light installations brought to Kaunas from sister European cities and other European Capitals of Culture. On Sunday evening, we will bid farewell to our year as Capital of Culture with a magnificent audio-visual show staged at the Raudondvaris Estate, accompanied by an exhibition commemorating the year 2022.
Although these events will officially bring to an end Kaunas’ tenure as a European Capital of Culture, the city will have already become a city of contemporary culture.
The Beast of Kaunas will remain in the city and watch over the Contract concluded by all who live here...
More about event here
01 21–11 30 An exhibition by William Kentridge

2022 01 21 – 11 30

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

An honest and painfully candid humanist, whose exhibitions are covered by the best galleries in the world. For the first time in Eastern Europe. This will be a hugely significant event for both Kaunas and the artist himself, as William Kentridge will be visiting the city of his ancestors!
In this exhibition, Kentridge addresses humanity’s selective memory. The rejection of facts, history, and memories as a means of self-preservation or a tool of propaganda is just as common a characteristic among people in Johannesburg and Rome as it is in Kaunas, says Kentridge. We all choose what we wish to remember and what to expel from our memories. Kentridge hopes to fill these gaps in our memory and speak with us about what we deliberately, or unconsciously, no longer remember. He calls us to a dialogue with ourselves.
This is an exhibition that seeks to assemble the scattered shards of historic events into meaningful mosaics that can serve as a mirror, reflecting back those who look at them.
This promises to be the most significant exhibition of the Kaunas 2022 programme. This exhibition alone is worthy of a trip to Kaunas and will put the city on the European cultural map for years to come.
More about event here
05 22 - 11 01 The great ship of culture “Nemuno7”

05 22 - 11 01

Nemuno7, the great ship of culture.

Nemuno7 is a river engineering and landscape design project that is unique in Europe and which will serve as a public cultural space. The object combines technological history, historic heritage, and contemporary architecture and is expected to become a new attraction in Kaunas for locals and tourists.
A dredger placed on the left bank of the Nemunas River near the small town of Zapyškis will become a cultural centre for visual art, media and technology, interdisciplinary collaboration, science, and creativity, and promises to become one of the most vibrant accents in the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 programme.
The dredger will serve as an event space, a laboratory for creative industries, a shop for locally designed products, and other functions. The site promises to be fascinating both from the outside, when viewed from the riverbank, and from the inside, whether onboard or floating down the Nemunas. The Nemuno7 dredger will also have space for artistic residencies. Visitors will be able to view the results of each artistic residency right on the boat. Meanwhile, a surprise encounter with nature will await on deck. Continuing on the subject of sustainability, the site will be home to pioneer plants that grow in open habitats and easily adapt to extreme cultivation conditions.
This will be a place you’ll want to return to again and again. During the warm months of the year, we’ll invite you to experience new exhibitions, performances, and events on current themes.
Opening 22 May 2022
Exposed up to Nov 2022
Where? The left bank of the Nemunas in Zapyškis
Organizers: Ars Futuri
www.nemuno7.lt
More about the event here
06 01–09 10 Contemporary Neighbourhoods

06 01 – 09 10

Contemporary Neighbourhoods

This is the project that launched the European Capital of Culture programme in the Kaunas District. The essence of the project is simple: local jurisdictions called “seniūnijos” (elderships) strengthen communities and address rising challenges through culture.
The Contemporary Neighbourhoods project began to really pick up speed in 2019, after it was joined by elderships in Linksmakalnis, Garliava, Vilkija, Karmėlava, Akadamija, Rokai, and Ringaudai. In 2020, the project expanded to include elderships in Babtai, Domeikava, Kačerginė, Raudondvaris, Samylai, Ežerėlis, Kulautuva, and Lapės. The Kaunas 2022 programme helped these neighbourhoods build ties with artists, cultural leaders, and educators, who then all embarked together on a long and colourful cultural journey.
This project is about seeking change through culture. And that’s the essential purpose of Kaunas 2022.
From June to September 2022, we’ll invite everyone to feel the strong pulse of community and creativity in the Kaunas District and attend the main Contemporary Neighbourhoods events. It will be worth it – we promise!
www.visikaipvienas.eu/en
More about event here
07 21–11 30 CityTelling Festival

2022 07 – 11

CityTelling Festival

Unique in its format, this is one of the Memory Office programme’s largest events. Together, we seek to resurrect forgotten stories, strengthen the dialogue between different communities, and encourage pride in the place where we live.
The 2022 CityTelling Festival has grown into an expansive programme unfolding over several months, combining projects of different genres, forms, and themes: exhibitions, productions, concerts, public art creations, tours, and professional story-telling performance programmes, etc. The programme devotes considerable attention to the city’s Jewish memory.
When? July – Nov 2022
Where? Kaunas & Kaunas District
Organizers: Kaunas 2022 with partners
www.istorijufestivalis.eu/en
More about event here
2022 08 – 10 Jenny Kagan exhibition

2022 08 – 10

Out of Darkness, an exhibition

This exhibition was first held in Great Britain. Now, it’s being remounted especially for Kaunas. Why? Because that’s where its story unfolded.
Artist Jenny Kagan (Great Britain) has revived her parents’ stories about their experiences in Kaunas during the Holocaust. The setting of this exhibition, created through images, music, projections, and other elements, draws viewers into a very personal and at the same time universal story, inviting them to explore their emotions and experiences in the presence of memory, light, and darkness.
“They met in the ghetto in 1943.  She was only 18 years old.  It is a story of oppression and persecution, of unimaginable loss and terror, and yet ultimately it is also a story of love and a story of survival,” says Kagan.
When? Aug – Oct 2022
Where? Gimnazijos g. 2/4
Organizers: Kaunas 2022
More about event here
09 09–25 Magenta Festival

09 09–25

Magenta, Landscape Design Festival

Magenta is a unique festival in Lithuania. This extremely successful project of the Kaunas 2022 programme has been exploring the subject of urban nature for three years. Audiences will be able to view installations, objects, and other works of art created by international teams of artists, architects, and landscape designers.
These are all works especially created for an urban context. With its expansive green spaces and many bodies of water, Kaunas is perfectly suited for the creation of examples of urban and natural harmony.
The festival’s events will span a broad spectrum, including education programmes for city residents; public discussions about business, city government, industry, and society; tours; interdisciplinary projects; events; tactical urbanism; and the creation of public spaces and landscape design sites.
Is it a city within nature, or nature within a city? Let’s find the answer together.
When? 09–25 Sept 2022
Where? Kaunas
Organizers: Šeimos laikas
Partners: Better Cities Film Festival (United States), Kaunas Architecture Festival KAFe, Kaunas Forestry and Environmental Engineering University of Applied Sciences, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, UNESCO Design Cities Network, VMU Botanical Garden
www.landscapedesignfest.eu
Facebook: Magentalandsaftodizainofestivalis
More about event here
09 21– 09 24 Film about modernism in Kaunas “Klostės”. The premiere

09 22 – 10 22

Film about modernism in Kaunas “Klostės”. The premiere

Klostės ( translated as Pleats or Folds) is a Black & White non verbal film created by the People of Kaunas Lithuania together with Artist & Film-maker Aideen Barry. The film is currently in production and will debut as a part of Kaunas 2022 The European Capital of Culture. The film takes inspiration from Kaunas interwar modernism and the hidden histories associated with the magical city.
Cinema is a form of love that allows one to look at the city through a certain aesthetic filter that not only alters, complements, but also opens up invisible layers of reality. When the city is seen in this way, it is no longer possible to perceive it only in a shallow way, locked up in its forms and flat surfaces. The city becomes more than an architectural entity: its constructions, history, its present and future, begin to breathe, dance and sing. The assemblage of the city’s architecture in itself becomes an intriguing character with a story and legend to tell. Before our eyes, the city begins to unroll and unfold. Folds of the city is the meaning under the title of the film KLOSTĖS – FOLDS.
On January 20-22, 2022, the film was screened at international film festivals "Debut the Film in America", "New York Film Makers Co-Op Manhattan" and elsewhere.
When? scheduled premiere 09 21 -24
Where? Kaunas cinema "Romuva", Laisvės al. 54
Directed by Aideen Barry (IR)
Operator Mikas Zabulionis (LT)
Editing director Aleks Rydzkowska (UK)
Organizers: Kaunas 2022
www.klostes.com
Paid
09 22–10 22 East-East Festival

09 22 – 10 22

East-East, Kaunas Architecture Festival

The 2022 Kaunas Architecture Festival programme welcomes back an international architectural project aimed at professionals and the broader public, attracting leading architects from Lithuania and Japan as well as students from different architecture schools.
East-East is an ongoing collaborative project to help lay the foundation for and develop previously non-existent exchanges and cooperation between Lithuanian and Japanese architecture, and includes a forum, exhibitions, lectures by professionals, and student competitions in the field of architecture between the Lithuanian and Japanese architecture communities. The festival’s curator is Gintaras Balčytis.
When? 09 22–10 22
Where? Kaunas Central Post Office, Laisvės al. 102
Žalgiris Arena Amphitheatre, Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 50
Organizers: Lithuanian Union of Architects Kaunas Branch
Partners: The Japan Institute of Architects
www.kafe.lt/enwww.laskaunas.lt
09 29–30 Kaunas 2022 Litvak culture Forum

09 29–30

Kaunas 2022 Litvak culture Forum

In 2022, the Kaunas European Capital of Culture will invite Litvaks scattered throughout the world to return, even if only briefly, to their ancestral land and gather together at the World Litvak culture Forum.
Over several days, this event will feature a rich cultural programme and discussions with renowned artists, academics, and representatives of the cultural world. We’ll discuss the Litvak identity, memory, and cultural role in the creation of possible visions of a future dialogue.
We’ll ask such questions as: What does it mean to be a Litvak and what does Lithuania mean to different generations of Litvaks today? How can art and culture help us understand history and encourage openness and dialogue? What role do Litvaks play in Lithuania’s historical and collective memory?
When? 29–30 Sept 2022
Where? VMU Great Hall, Daukanto g. 28
Organizers: Kaunas 2022
www.kaunas2022.eu/litvakforum
More about event here
09 30–10 01 Kaunas Kantata

09 30 – 10 01

Kaunas Kantata

Audiences are invited to an unforgettable event at the Kaunas Žalgiris Arena. The world premiere of a cantata specially composed for Kaunas by Philip Miller (South Africa)!
This composition, created over several years, is the result of a collaboration with artist Jenny Kagan (Great Britain) and local musicians. The work is an inclusive musical experience, calling listeners to immerse themselves in a multi-ethnic city’s past and Kaunas’ complicated history.
It is also a moving juncture of images and sound encouraging us to examine our own consciences. The work was inspired by personal testimonials, memories, and a rich and multifaceted world of sound. Its creators ask: What does it mean to look into the face of “the other” and confront ourselves, and to look directly into the face of our own humanity?
When? 30 Sept – 01 Oct 2022
Where? Žalgiris Arena, Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 50
Organizers: Kaunas 2022
More about event here
09 09–12 04 An exhibition by Yoko Ono

2022 09 09–12 04

The Learning Garden of Freedom, a retrospective exhibition by Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono will be visiting Kaunas, the native city of her friend George (Jurgis) Maciunas.

A music producer, prominent figure on the New York arts scene, and the wife of John Lennon, one of the founders of the legendary rock band The Beatles, Yoko Ono once collaborated with George Maciunas in the early days of the Fluxus movement.

The Learning Garden of Freedom is a retrospective exhibition of Yoko Ono’s work, and is the result of a collaboration between the artist’s Studio One in New York and the Kaunas Picture Gallery.

The majority of the exhibition will be shown at the Kaunas Picture Gallery, located not far from George Maciunas’ childhood home.

When? 22 Jan – 11 Sept 2022

9 Sept  – 4 Dec 2022

Where? Bank of Lithuania Kaunas Branch, Maironio g. 25; Kaunas Picture Gallery , K. Donelaičio g. 16; Emmanuel Levinas Centre, Putvinskio g. 14

Organizers: Contemporary Art Centre (CAC)

Partners: Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves (Portugal), M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Studio One New York (United States), Magenta Landscape Design Festival

www.cac.lt/en
www.ciurlionis.lt/en

10 01 Robert Wilson's play “Dorian”

10 01

Robert Wilson's play “Dorian”

The performance "Dorian" is a historical event in the history of the National Kaunas Drama Theater and the culture of Kaunas. "Dorian" is the work of director Robert Wilson and his team at the National Kaunas Drama Theater, created in cooperation with "Dhouse" (Düsseldorf, DE).
Robert Wilson is one of the most famous contemporary theatre directors, called the architect of time and space, the most prominent creator of the theatre avant-garde and stage designers in the world. He is a master of the form, basing his performances on the landscape, which is enhanced by lighting, video projections, and movement architecture. Wilson's work changed the idea of ​​modern art and the audience's perception of what is happening on stage: it unconventionally integrates various forms of artistic expression, including dance, lighting, sculpture, music and text. This creation won the recognition of viewers and critics all over the world and many awards.
The monoplay based on Oscar Wilde's novel "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (the author of the text is the play's playwright D. Pinckney) will tell the story of a pleasure-seeking prince whom the director sees as a person who cannot find himself in the time of his life.
When? premiere on 10/01/2022
Where? Laisvės al. 71
Organizers: Kaunas National Drama Theatre
www.dramosteatras.lt
Facebook: Drama Theater
10 05-15 Kaunas Design Festival

10 05-15

Kaunas Design Festival

In the autumn of 2022, Kaunas plans to celebrate design. Kaunas is the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to receive the status of UNESCO City of Design. And status brings certain obligations!
The international Kaunas Festival of Design is a series of interdisciplinary events – exhibitions, workshops, meetings, conferences, and installations in the city’s public spaces – that will invite the city’s residents and visitors to learn more about the roots of Kaunas’ authentic design, the creators of contemporary Lithuanian design, design innovations, and progressive practices used by designers abroad. We’ll ask participants to raise questions about the convenience and accessibility of this city for everyone and invite them to join in creating a gallery of art in public urban spaces throughout the city and the surrounding region.
Visit and follow our website for more information. See you at the festival!
When? Oct 2022
Where? Kaunas
Organizers: Kaunas 2022 with partners
www.dizainaskaune.lt/en
Facebook: dizainaslaimei
More about event here
10 05 - 11 13 OSTRALE  exhibition

10 05 - 11 13

Ostrale Bienalle / Flowing Connections / Power of Water

In 2022, the traveling exhibition of the Dresden Ostrale Bienalle for Contemporary Art will take place in Kaunas and Kaunas District. The exhibition will present impressive artistic works that were selected and exhibited at the Ostrale Bienalle O21 in Dresden in 2021.
Since 2016, the Ostrale Bienalle has organized traveling exhibitions to present the interdisciplinary content of its shows in various parts of Europe, collaborating with other cities that have served as European Capitals of Culture, including Pécs 2010 (Hungary), Wrocław 2016 (Poland), Valletta 2018 (Malta) and Rijeka 2020 (Croatia).
When? 1 Sept – 1 Oct 2022
Where? Kaunas Central Post Office, Laisvės al. 102
Zapyškis, Kaunas District
Dresden, Rethelstraße 45
Curators: Ivana Meštrov (Croatia), Krisztián Kukla (Hungary), Natasa Bodrozic (Croatia), Patricija Gilytė
Organizers: Ars futuri
Partners: Ostrale Biennial for Contemporary Art (Germany)
More about event here
10 09 Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

10 09

Concert by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

A rare gift – an exclusive concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Great Britain) in Kaunas!
The European Capital of Culture and all of Lithuania will be able to enjoy a unique opportunity to hear one of the most prestigious ensembles in the United Kingdom – the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (artistic director and chief conductor Vasily Petrenko).
The orchestra will appear together with the Kaunas State Choir (artistic director and chief conductor Robertas Šervenikas), famous for its powerful voice. Together they will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, Op. 80, the predecessor to the famous Ode to Joy, the anthem of the European Union, presenting audiences with the gift of joyful emotion.
When? 09 Oct 2022
Where? Kaunas Sports Hall, Perkūno al. 5
Organizers: Kaunas State Philharmonic
www.kaunofilharmonija.lt
Facebook: kaunofilharmonija
10 14 Assembly of International Design Networks

10 14

Assembly of International Design Networks

Kaunas is assuming its place among the world’s most important cities of design. This assembly is a unique opportunity to present Kaunas as a city of design on the international stage, giving designers a place to meet and establish ties among design communities from different countries.
The forum will be attended by such global design networks as the UNESCO Cities of Design Network, ico-D (International Council of Design), BEDA (Bureau of European Design Associations, and EIDD (Design for All Europe). The assembly programme will feature various meetings, seminars, and conferences.
Several days before the forum opens, international and local design networks with their enduring traditions will hold their most important annual meetings in Kaunas, attended by design policymakers, practitioners from various design fields, and design educators from around the world.
When? 14 Oct 2022
Where? Žalgiris Arena Amphitheatre, Karaliaus Mindaugo pr. 50 & elsewhere in Kaunas
Organizers: Kaunas 2022, Lithuanian Design Forum, Lithuanian Design Association
www.dizainoforumas.lt/en
Facebook: dizainoforumas
More about event here
11 25–27 3rd Act: The Contract

11 25-27

Third Act: The Contract

The official Closing Ceremonies of the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 programme will be dedicated to signing contract with ourselves and with our city – a pledge to live long and happy lives from this moment forward!
The creators of the Great Contract event are Lithuanian artists, including composer and Lithuanian National Prize laureate Zita Bružaitė, director Gediminas Šeduikis, dramatist and Gold Stage Cross winner Daiva Čepauskaitė, hundreds of Lithuania’s best performers in the production of a contemporary opera composed especially for the occasion.
For the entire weekend of the Closing Ceremonies, various public spaces around Kaunas will be adorned with contemporary light installations brought to Kaunas from sister European cities and other European Capitals of Culture. On Sunday evening, we will bid farewell to our year as Capital of Culture with a magnificent audio-visual show staged at the Raudondvaris Estate, accompanied by an exhibition commemorating the year 2022.
Although these events will officially bring to an end Kaunas’ tenure as a European Capital of Culture, the city will have already become a city of contemporary culture. The Beast of Kaunas will remain in the city and watch over the Contract concluded by all who live here...
More about event here