Discover, explore, hear, touch, taste and create culture TOGETHER. Kaunas is becoming a huge European cultural scene; in 2022, there will be more events taking place than there are days in a year. The huge “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” programme will flood both the usual and the most unexpected spaces of Kaunas, and Kaunas district. It is going to be the year-long non-stop biggest co-creative festival of all. Come co-create and celebrate with us!

Culture will be inescapable. From cosy rendezvous under verdant trees to massive spine-tingling events, from installations to world-class performances, from theatrical tours to design workshops. Kaunas 2022 encompasses over 1000 events! More than 40 festivals, 60 exhibitions, 250 performing arts events (of which more than 50 are premieres), and over 250 concerts are planned to take place in 2022. All this is delivered by Kaunas 2022’s team of 500 people, alongside 80 local and 150 foreign partners. 141 cities in Lithuania and the world, 2,000 artists, 80 communities, and 1,000 great volunteers.

Take part in the city’s creative uprising. On January 22, 2022, at 7:30 p.m., Kaunas will become immersed in a historic event – the inauguration of the European Capital of Culture. The programme of the show will be kept secret until the last minute prior to the opening! We can only disclose that the celebration is being created by hundreds of Kaunesians and performers from Lithuania and abroad. A synthesis of contemporary music, giant video projections and slam poetry will tell the story of the city as a living and ever-renewing wonder. You too can experience your personal transformation in the Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy “From Temporary to Contemporary”. 

Three weekends of the Trilogy await – “The Confusion” (January 19-23, 2022), “Confluence” (May 20-22, 2022) and “The Contract” (November 25-27, 2022) which will invite you to enjoy over a hundred events: premieres, exhibitions, concerts, light and fire shows, banded together by the narrative of the new Kaunas myth. Become part of this unique and extraordinary history.

Now take a seat and hold tight – they are definitely coming to Kaunas! Among the world-famous names in the Kaunas 2022 programme are William Kentridge, Marina Abramović, Yoko Ono, Robert Wilson, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Modestas Pitrėnas, Edgaras Montvidas, Oskaras Koršunovas, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Jonas Mekas, prof. Antony Polonsky, Boris Gibé, Olivier Grossetête, and many others. Audiences will be served a number of unique festivals in terms of their scale, programme, and artistic quality – “ConTempo”, “Storm”, “Kaunas Literature Week”, “Citytelling Festival”, “International Day of Happiness”. All of them have been sparked into existence by the title of Capital of Culture. Kaunas and Kaunas district are becoming one large European stage. 

A miracle awaits in Kaunas. It needs to be discovered. The programme “Modernism for the Future” invites you to take a creative look at the heritage of modernist architecture and its history. Participate in the telling of this amazing story, in language that is unexpected, intriguing and accessible-to-all! The programme accommodates over a hundred different international events and projects: conferences, forums, summer schools, symposia and discussions, all of which bring new experiences to the audiences. Various interpretations of modernism await in the most unexpected spaces, 365 days a year.

Become part of this unique and extraordinary history. We believe that the film “Folds” (“Klostės”) about Kaunas modernism, created by Irish artist Aideen Barry together with the boundless Kaunas community, will make us world famous. The 45-minute silent film “Folds” is a metaphor for time that folds and bends like a canvas; the film addresses what determines one event or another, how these events recur or rotate in a circle.

Modernism everywhere, modernism everyday. MoFu 360/365 is an international project co-financed by the European Union’s Creative Europe 2014-2020 programme and implemented by partners from Kaunas, Lviv (Ukraine), Brno (Czech Republic), Kortrijk (Belgium), and Tel Aviv (Israel). A total of 17 art projects will be undertaken in modernist buildings, and, on the opening weekend of Kaunas 2022 in January, the main exhibition will open the doors of Kaunas Central Post Office for four months. 

The exhibition that has travelled the world has now reached Kaunas.  As early as in 1955, curator Edward Steichen invited audiences to an exhibition at MoMA – the New York Museum of Modern Art. “Family of Man” contains humanistic photographic works by 273 photographers from 68 countries, already included in the UNESCO’s World Memory List. A permanent exhibition of the works is housed in Clervaux Castle, Luxembourg – but in November 2022 the exhibition will debut in the Baltics! Naturally, it will be shown at Kaunas Photography Gallery.

Pause and get to know the past. The “Memory Office” programme is an opportunity not only to learn about the past of one’s city, to study its DNA, but also to get to know oneself better. It seeks to preserve fragments of multi-ethnic memory, to reconstruct otherwise vanishing memory maps, and to bring back the faces of those from whom we inherited this city. Litvak artists who have returned to Lithuania from the Republic of South Africa, Great Britain, France, and Israel are particularly actively engaged with the programme. 

Remembering 1972. Perhaps the biggest historical turning point in the city’s life was in 1972. On 14 May of that year, nineteen-year-old Romas Kalanta immolated himself. The events that followed this act of resistance sparked the so-called “Kaunas Spring” – anti-Soviet protests that attracted thousands. The exhibition “1972: Breaking the Border” will leave no one feeling indifferent. It includes paintings, photographs and films, documentary testimonies of musical life, youth fashion from this period, and other artifacts that will tell the story of alternative culture and the non-Soviet way of life that existed in occupied Lithuania. 

Reconciliation. The Memory Office will not only make the stories of the past come to life, not only will they explore the city’s identity, but they will also invite us to create a new page in the city’s history – a new History of reconciliation and dialogue, with works such as “Kaunas Cantata” (Philip Miller, Jen Kagan), storytelling events, and World Litvak Forum.

Returning to ancestral land. Litvaks from around the world are invited to meet at the World Litvak Forum in Kaunas in 2022. Besides discussions and visions for future dialogue, this event will also entail a rich cultural programme.

Rendezvous with Fluxus. In the city of Jurgis Mačiūnas, the pioneer of the Fluxus movement, a creative dialogue is underway, creating fluid connections and changes – as many as 35 creative community laboratories were launched by 2022. The inclusive Fluxus Labas programme, together with the Fluxus Festival, will invite you to a rendezvous in the world’s only city with an inaccessible Fluxus Square as well as the Fluxus Cabinet. The centrepiece of the festival is the exhibition of works by Yoko Ono, who took part in the origins of the Fluxus movement! Before the grandiose climb up Parodos Hill during the Fluxus Festival, the communities will gather in Zapyškis, where the International Community Forum will take place. 

Meet the Mythical Beast of Kaunas. So far, no city has tried to change the course of its life by creating a new myth. The story of the Mythical Beast of Kaunas, who has become the programme’s mascot, is one such attempt. 

Kaunas Castle, the First Fort, Kaunas railway station, trolleybus lines, Vilnius book fair, the bookshelves of the youngest residents of Kaunas, cars and perfume cabinets – the mythical creature, the Beast of Kaunas, has already managed to appear – or made himself known – in the most unexpected places. 

Discover Kaunas district. Fifteen neighbourhoods of Kaunas district – and that includes two dozen communities of towns and villages, participants of the Contemporary Neighbourhoods project – have already organized many events and are preparing for many more. The forms and themes of these events are strikingly diverse: neighbourhoods are hosting sustainability festivals, community performances, poetry readings, various workshops, and concerts. Zapyškis is building an immense ship of culture, Nemuno7 – a river technology and landscape design project, unique in Europe, that will serve as a public cultural space. And, as if all that weren’t enough, 2022 will also see a spotlight falling on performing arts, circus, musical, literary and culinary festivals, as well as traditional community festivals – all with a contemporary twist! 

Experience the Land of the Rising Sun. In 2022, Sugihara Week, well-known to all Kaunas residents, will evolve into the Kaunas Japan Days Festival “WA!”, which will attract even more lovers of Japanese culture.

Find happiness. Through design as a means of strengthening the connection between humans and the environment, the “Designing Happiness” programme is creating a sense of happiness in the city. Thanks to this programme, happiness is perceived as well-being, sustainability, functionality, aesthetics, and accessibility. The events organized with partners will present Kaunas to the world as a city of design – embracing traditions formed in the past and innovations created today. Visitors and locals alike will be invited to see installations of public spaces art and design objects, scattered throughout the city, and green space interventions in unexpected urban structures.

Explore nature in the city. For a third year in a row, the unique landscape design festival “Magenta” has been exploring the theme of nature in the city. In numerous public spaces, audiences can see installations, objects, and other works of art created by an international team of artists, architects, and landscape designers from Lithuania, Poland, Chile, Spain, Germany, Serbia, Mexico, the Netherlands, and other countries.

Immerse yourself in the “Storm”. Contemporary art installations and performances by various artists: electronic, experimental, and acoustic music at the Kaunas Philharmonic, Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery, Kaunas Taxi Park, Kaunas Pergalė factory, or in the Kaunas confluence. This important event for the whole region promises a thunderous cultural renewal. “Storm”, the festival of the modern city, reflects youth lifestyle, culture, and values, fostering a curious community through various experiences and bold discussions. 

For startling discoveries. Kaunas 2022 invites you to a city that has a special aura. A city that is hospitable, full of culture, cosy and enchanting. Creating the phenomenon of a modern capital without losing its identity and cosy corners. Let’s meet for extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime discoveries at “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”.

5 Nov 2021 – 23 Jan 2022
MagiC Carpets Landed exhibition

12 Nov 2012 – 20 Feb 2022
13th Kaunas Biennial: “Once Upon Another Time… gyveno jie jau kitaip”

21 Jan – 30 Nov 2022
That Which We Do Not Remember, an exhibition by William Kentridge

19-23 Jan 2022
The Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy. The Confusion

22 Jan 2022
The Opening Ceremony

22 Jan – 11 Sept 2022
An installation and a retrospective exhibition by Yoko Ono “Exit it”

22 Jan – 10 Apr 2022
Modernism for the Future 360/365, an international exhibition

Mar – July 2022
Memory of Being, an exhibition by Marina Abramović

17–20 Mar 2022
On Happiness. Presuppositions 2022. Communities, an international congress

20 Mar 2022
International Day of Happiness

Apr – Aug 2022
Kaunas-Vilnius: Moving Mountains, an exhibition

25 Apr – 01 May 2022
Kaunas-Japan Days “WA!”

May – Sept 2022
Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage

12 May – 31 Aug 2022
1972: Breaking Through the Wall, an exhibition

18–20 May 2022
European Capital of Culture Forum

20 May 2022
Courtyard Festival

20-22 May 2022
The Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy. The Confluence

June – Sept 2022
Contemporary Neighbourhoods

29 June – 03 July 2022
Audra, Contemporary City Festival

July – Nov 2022
CityTelling Festival

Aug – Oct 2022
Out of Darkness, an exhibition by Jenny Kagan

29–30 Sept 2022
World Litvak Forum

30 Sept – 01 Oct 2022
Kaunas Kantata

05–28 Aug 2022
ConTempo international festival of performing arts

09–25 Sept 2022
Magenta, Landscape Design Festival

10 Sept 2022
Fluxus Festival

22–23 Sept 2022
East-East, Kaunas Architecture Festival

9 Sept  – 4 Dec 2022
An installation and a retrospective exhibition by Yoko Ono

09 Oct 2022
Concert by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

25-27 Nov 2022
The Contemporary Myth of Kaunas Trilogy. The Contract