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Curiosity and Surprises The Best Ideas of Lithuanian Creative and Cultural Industries

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania

Advertising ........................... 6 Architecture ........................... 18 Cinema ........................... 29 Computer Games ........................... 40 Design ........................... 48 Literature ........................... 60 Music ........................... 71 Theatre ........................... 82 Visual Arts ........................... 93 Arts Incubators in Lithuania ........................... 106

Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania: Emerging from the Gray Zone

Dr. Arūnas Gelūnas Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania

Does Lithuania boast enormous creative potential? Does it show creative selfexpression? Does it have rich cultural production? Is life in Lithuania becoming faster and also more dynamic? Is a new generation of Lithuanians becoming increasingly interested in new technologies? I believe all these questions can be answered with a definite “yes”. However, another question arises: does the ability to answer these questions provide us with a firm confidence in the well-being of creative and cultural industries and the flourishing of what has been dubbed the “creative economy”? I would not be so quick to state this. If I had to highlight one essential precondition for the prosperity of the creative and culture industries, it would be cooperation and networking. Even though one has to accept the classical truth that in most cases creative talent resides in the soul of an individual, there is also rich evidence to support the opinion that it usually takes more than one individual for a creative idea to become a part of the creative economy. It should be mentioned that due to different historical, economical, and social factors, the managerial and entrepreneurial skills of a number of creative people in Lithuania were lacking, which also applies to their willingness to cooperate with

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania

managers and entrepreneurs. However, the attitude of politicians has been no different: they considered the creation of culture to be a part of citizens’ “leisure activities”, characterized by the free play of imagination and spiritual nature that possesses no economic value. There is a prevalent idea that these kinds of activities should be supported by state funding with no hope that they can ever pay it back, and that creators of culture will apply for state support indefinitely. I think this is the picture that has dominated the cultural and economical landscape of many European countries up until quite recently. Thus the situation most creative and cultural industries operators find themselves in is that of a “gray zone” – an in-between space between culture and the economy. This is best shown by an example of a group of young fashion designers that is looking for financial support for their project, and upon turning to the Ministry of Culture, they are told their project is “too profit-orientated” to support, but when turning to the Ministry of Economy, their project is treated as “too artistic” and thus is outside the scope of economic and business activities. However, there are clear signs that this situation is gradually improving and that all the parties that need to cooperate and

create networks in order to ensure the development of the creative and cultural industries are changing their long-standing prejudices and opinions. A survey of the economical impact of the creative and cultural industries carried out by the National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in 2008 reported that Lithuanian industries earned more than 1 billion euros in 2006. Most of this revenue came from such sectors as architecture and engineering, advertising, travel agencies and sight-seeing, the press, radio and television, and book publishing. The above-mentioned analyses led to the launching of the National complex program “Lithuanian Cultural and Creative Industries”, which is a cooperation platform between the arts, sciences, higher education and business in 2009. The same year a creative incubator development program was launched by the Ministry of Economy of Lithuania, which led to 10 projects receiving financial support of more than 17 million euros. Of course it should be noted that the expectations for the longawaited positive results of these initiatives were somewhat obscured by the financial crisis of 2009 that according to international experts “hit us all and hit us hard”.

However, even against this rather grim background of coping with the effects of economic recession, the last few years have been marked by cooperation initiatives. Cooperation between the International Cultural Programme Centre (under the Ministry of Culture) and the Enterprise Lithuania Company (under the Ministry of Economy) in presenting Lithuanian cinema, book publishing and creative work to a foreign audience can be called a completely new step in this process. The current economic situation around the world demands new strategic approaches. The Ministry of Culture is contributing to the discussion in a national policy paper entitled “Lithuania 2030”, which strongly supports the creative and cultural industries as an inseparable part of the future economy of our country. The publication of this catalogue, which is an attempt at providing an introduction to the most outstanding examples of Lithuanian creative and cultural industries, comes as yet another account of this intricate but exciting project-inprogress – the project of emerging from the Gray Zone of narrow-mindedness into the Green Zone of cooperation and networking.


ithuania was rather late in joining the advertising club. It’s a club where everyone tries to attract the attention of the public so money can be earned in advertising a brand. The first advertising agencies sprung up after the year when the country regained its independence in 1990. Today it is difficult to imagine the landscape of Lithuania without billboards advertising something. Traditional and internet media is teeming with advertisements. Just trying to remember the situation in 1991 and compare the amount of advertisements back then with what we have now could make you dizzy with wonder. However it must be said that the increase in quality is much more important than the growth in quantity. The Lithuanian advertising industry took their first baby steps, got up on its own two feet, and grew up quickly – the last few years have seen Lithuanian advertising agencies garnering awards at international advertising festivals.

Of course, prizes and acknowledgement massage the egos of marketing specialists and those who create the advertisements. However, the best sign of the maturity of the Lithuanian advertisement industry is the fact that you can find experienced experts in all advertising fields right here in Lithuania. After all, the creation of an advertisement takes great teamwork. If you want to make a precise, effective and entertaining ad, you need the brain of a group of strategy experts generating ideas, the deadpan wit of a copywriter and the strong and original vision of an art director. You need a quick imagination, quickthinking designers, and organized project managers with almost mercurial mediation skills. If you want to turn an idea into a catchy advertisement, you have to work with the best – invite photographers, stylists, designers, operators, producers, film and special effects people. Finally, this newly created

masterpiece will end up in the hands of media planners. And only then will this ad reach consumers who are sitting comfortably in front of their TV, looking through a free magazine in a café or trying to kill a little time on the internet at work. Today we can say with confidence that the Lithuanian advertising industry is strong and healthy. We have intelligent strategists, artists with endless imagination, as well as experienced producers. Next time when you need to create an advertising campaign for your brand, look for it in Lithuania.

SATTA OUTSIDE’09 campaign Not Perfect. 2009



e Lithuanians often joke about our inability to agree on various issues. However despite this, people in Lithuania can be very united. This was proved by the Baltic Way, which was a social action that took place on the 23 August, 1989 in all three Baltic countries. During this campaign, people formed a 650 km long human chain that stretched from Gediminas Tower in Vilnius through Riga and right up to Tallinn’s Tall Herman Tower. Approximately 2.5 million people took part in the campaign, with about 1 million of these people being from Lithuania. Nobody in the West is surprised anymore by what are known as flash mobs. They are organized by shopping malls, various brands as well as by personal initiatives of individuals. Their formula is ingeniously simple: a group of people gather at an agreed-upon time and place and perform an act of some sort. The goals of these flash mobs can vary from being simply a fun way to spend time all the way to the implementing of serious marketing strategies. The effect of a flash mob relies on two main components – a feeling of community between the participants and the surprise of those who unexpectedly encounter the flash mob. Guerilla marketers are particularly interested in the latter component. The Soviet Union still existed in 1989. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia did not yet exist as states. Computers that occupied entire rooms were installed in just a few research labs, while the internet was known only to a handful of those in the military, scientists and some young enthusiasts. We simply did not have the internet. Not a single Lithuanian advertising agency existed – the first ones started to appear later in 1991. However, we had an ever-growing desire for freedom. By participating in the Baltic Way, we told the whole world about our intent to be free.

The Baltic Way. 1989 Photo by Kęstutis Vanagas/bfl

Today the Baltic Way is a well-respected, documented and carefully analyzed page of our country’s history. However, this romantic and grand act could be viewed through the prism of advertising. We could call the Baltic Way one of the most impressive and successful flash mobs in history, the best social campaign in our region which made a huge impact on today’s geopolitical map. The three independent Baltic countries can already count their age in decades. To Lithuanians, the Baltic Way serves as a reminder that we can be united. It also reminds us that it is worth striving for higher existential aims, and not worry just about what we will buy or consume today. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


Creative team: Raima Drąsutytė, Renata Šarkauskaitė, Mindaugas Ratavičius


black and graceful creature with a long tail. The title for the most famous and beloved animal in Lithuanian advertising goes to a blue-eyed panther that elegantly followed the movements of a handsome young man in an Omnitel mobile operator ad campaign in 2003. Afterwards all ad agencies and their clients would refer to this ad – you could hear people in ad agencies saying “give us a panther”, “we want another panther” or even “we don’t need a panther”. What is this panther character exactly and why is it so important when talking about Lithuanian advertising? What was shown in the TV clip and in the press was the story of a friendship between a panther and a young man, but in a very subtle manner. Wherever he goes, she goes too. It doesn’t matter whether the panther is real, or it’s just the imagination of a guy in a video. The most important thing is that by using a simple association, millions of viewers have taken the qualities of this strong, wild and untamed creature they saw on TV and attributed them to Lithuania’s biggest mobile operator. In short, it’s a huge plus for Omnitel, and this plus has been measured using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. However today it’s not the exact amount of popularity it garnered, but the very fact that those that saw it really liked it. It is hard to explain rationally why people liked it, which is why that even after a careful analysis of this example and mixing the correct ingredients together, nobody in Lithuania has been able to create another panther, though many have tried. There have been more fascinating and complex advertising campaigns in Lithuania. There were ad campaigns that swept awards at local and international ad competitions; there were very effective campaigns that sparked huge sales of product or services. The panther can boast only one award – which is an unprecedented connection with viewers. Even today, almost ten years later, you can still sometimes hear the panther ringtone on the street. Anyone who has been in advertising business for a while will say that that is an important victory, if not the most important one. 8

Creative teams: Audrius Dargužis, Tomas Gruzdys, Tomas Ramanauskas; Audrius Dargužis and Aurelija Maceikaitė; Rimantas Stanevičius, Marius Kneipferavičius, Aistis Baltušnikas


f there would ever be a survey of what ads made Lithuanian viewers smile or laugh out loud, then without a doubt the top spot would be taken by the Hedgehog advertising campaigns of the Ežys pre-paid mobile operator cards that were made by various creative teams. This is the most fun, original and dynamic Lithuanian brand. It seems that two forces were able to join up successfully: a brave client (what is quite rare in Lithuania) and really talented ad people (luckily we have many in Lithuania). The result was witty and visually attractive ads; a connection with young viewers, quotes that spread like wildfire; great sales, lots of prizes, the ad makers’ satisfaction, the respect of their colleagues and, of course, jealousy. Ežys shook up the Lithuanian advertising market in 2004 when they aired an ad showing two working class guys (Kęsts and Vyts) in track suits and bling sharing their opinions on life in a plain but heartfelt language. Viewers wholehearted took to these two guys right away – they seemed so familiar, so naive, It injected a healthy dose of irony into the conscious of Lithuanian viewers. This ad led to a number of experiments with content, form, and channels of media. You could find Ežys special offers on sacks of potatoes and notebooks; Ežys offered the chance for young adults to try out new and popular professions, or develop their creativity at Ežys’ art incubator, or vote for Mėsa (Meat), which was a band created by Ežys that also competed in Lithuania’s Eurovision song competition. It is precisely the humor and intriguing experiments with media that turned Ežys into a unique brand with an impressive history of development.

Lygis campaign Milk. 2006

Kęsts & Vyts campaign Leo Burnett Vilnius. 2004

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


W Creative teams: Renata Šarkauskaitė, Mindaugas Ratavičius; Titas Silovas, Mindaugas Ratavičius; Renata Šarkauskaitė, Lina Januškevičienė, Asta Budukevičiūtė; Giedrius Kumetaitis, Tadas Cislikauskas

e would be in no way wrong in stating that the plays directed by Dalia Ibelhauptaitė are the most visible in Lithuania. Even if most people on the street are interested in computer games or discounts at shopping malls, they will still end up finding out what she and her creative crew of talented actors, musicians, singers, scenographers and designers are offering them this season. The news about new concerts or operas will reach the masses in the form of an elegant ad in a free magazine, on a bookmark in a book loaned from the library, on the outside of a bus, or in the form of an extravagant and unconventional outdoor ad (one of which was already banned – a giant ad featuring a meat grinder screw in the center of the city was vetoed by city officials, however that just sparked the interest in the meat grinder as well as the play). Today it is clear that the decision of this hard-working and productive director to employ the best advertisement forces in Lithuania for creating publicity for her plays has worked very well. The original, eye-catching visuals certainly attract more people to Ibelhauptaitė’s performances. News about the premières even gets out to people who don’t have much interest in theatre premières. The ads for Ibelhauptaitė’s plays not only adorn the city and create added value for the city landscape, but also carry out a kind of educating mission. And finally, the ad agencies that are in on the action also win. Their hard-working talents get a real opportunity to create art and work for art during work, and show their creative ambitions and skills that are often left aside when working on commercial projects. Acknowledgement by the professional advertising community is also critical – the ad makers that have worked together with Dalia Ibelhauptaitė have won a number of important awards at international ad festivals.

Sweeney Todd. Poster DDB Vilnius. 2009

Nightingales Are Back. Poster Adell Taivas Ogilvy. 2010 10

Creative team: Solveiga Masteikaitė and PetPunk


an an advertisement be both deep and funny at the same time? Can it sell without sex or furry little animals? Are there any unique ads in Lithuania? Ads can be both fun and deep; ads can reach the eyes, ears, and hearts of people without an image of a little dog wagging its tail, or a very manly man and femme fatale being passionate over a piece of chocolate; ultimately there are unique advertisements in Lithuania. A 15 second animation short that invited people in Vilnius to the “Let There Be Night” event proves just that. In 2009 Vilnius became a European Capital of Culture, during which there were more than 1,500 culture and art events that attracted more than 1.5 million visitors. A number of these cultural initiatives have become annual events. For cultural industries, this meant more possibilities for expression and cooperation. Theater, music, visual arts, cinema, architecture and literature – the pure arts were intermixing and searching for non-traditional forms, formats, places and even time. What did commercial advertising do? It rejoiced in the chance to do ads about art, and enjoyed broader creative freedom. “Let There Be Night” is now a favorite festival of Vilnius that lasts the whole night. From serious plays at the National Drama Theatre to enthusiastic improvised concerts below church scaffolding, it is a night when Vilnius doesn’t sleep. It is a kind of northern cultural carnival that happens once a year. In 2011 it was awarded as the most successful project of cultural tourism. Created by DDB Vilnius and released into the dark of night by PetPunk, the short animated invitation deserves the three abovementioned yes answers for several reasons. The authors cleverly, precisely and conceptually dove into the proverbial deep waters and emerged healthy, alive and stronger. The night is not something bad – it is a dragon that gathers together both the idle and hard-working people of the city before eating the sun. Even small kids know that the snake-like spirals of the dragon are supposed to be fun and cool. But enough about the ad’s content. Regarding how it looks, the clip is also comprised of small miracles - the authors have given a second thought to and playfully adapted Lithuanian folk culture by using imagery of wooden carvings. And don’t forget we are talking about advertising, a genre that is constantly chasing contemporary and fashionable trends.

It does not matter how often Lithuanian advertisers have done something according to some cookie-cutter method. Sometimes they create unique things. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


Creative team: Renata Šarkauskaitė, Vilius Gostasevičius, Aurimas Kadzevičius, Rimantas Stanevičius, Aistis Baltušnikas


t just so happens that Lithuanian advertisers know the subjects of both beer and mobile communications very well. Although after work they might drink water, milk, wine or somewhat stronger drinks, at work they are most often making beer commercials. This competition between breweries (in Lithuania we have 4-5 big, active brands that have a constant media presence) is a joy for advertising agencies and reason strategists, media planners and ad makers can’t afford to rest on their laurels. Almost everything has been tried – they taught us how to turn, pour, and shake beer (these kinds of ads are periodically released by every beer brand), showed us a number of stories that have become well-known (courtesy of Švyturys, Lithuania’s biggest brewery and DDB Vilnius and Not Perfect ad agencies), and given us a number of games and lotteries (by beer makers Utenos alus, Kalnapilis, and Tauro alus). Lithuania has gained a great amount of experience over the last 20 years in beer marketing strategy and beer advertisements, which is now in demand in neighboring countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Latvia. The “Moving Riga” ad for Aldaris beer is a textbook story of success. A famous Latvian brewery submits an order for an image campaign to a Lithuanian advertising agency. The agency then gathers together an international team and creates an original and witty mini-story. The TV fairy tale is about Rigans who end up pulling the city next to the Aldaris Brewery so they can be closer to their beer. It has won awards not only in the Baltic, Slovenia, and Ukraine (first prize at the 2010 Adrenalinas Awards, silver at the 2010 Golden Hammer International Advertising Festival, silver at the 2010 Golden Drum International Advertising Festival, and gold at the 2010 Kiev International Advertisement Awards), but also won a bronze at the New York International Advertisement Awards. It is an honor not only for the beer, but also to the strategists and the creative team that spent years in offices, bars, on movie sets and photo studios patiently observing the stream of golden beer filling empty glasses. 12


dvertising, which is one of the most commercial sectors in business, sometimes behaves in a totally noncommercial way. It doesn’t tell you to go out and buy something. It does not count the hours spent on a project, and does not provide a big bill to the client. Sometimes they do it for free. And by doing this, people in advertising often feel good. Because these jobs may not bring profit, but the people doing them will feel there is a purpose. Do we need to remind you that “What is the point?” is one of the most difficult-to-answer questions in advertising? So, we are talking about social advertising. How is it doing in Lithuania? There are no official statistics about the ratio of commercial advertising to social advertising in Lithuania. However, keeping in mind that there are a number of social problems in Lithuania, we wish there were more targeted social advertisements that make an impact. We wish that clients (in this case, social institutions, public organizations or socially-responsible business clients) would not look at social advertising as a shabby curtain of sorts that covers up empty slots of time on TV, or a shovel for digging up money and shoring up the budget, or as a cheap way to improve one’s image. Because social advertising can be abused in this way. However, in such cases the result is something that is hastily-made, of bad quality, insincere, and moralizing. Real social advertising can have an impact (you don’t have to show hungry children or the bloody victims of accidents), it can have a tangible effect not only on how the audience thinks, but on how behaves. Do we have good examples of social advertising in Lithuania? Yes. Here are some:

Social campaign for “Unicef” VRS group. 2008

Invitation card to charity evening for Jieznas Children’s Home Milk. 2009

A classic campaign in form but impressive in content a UNICEF campaign to build schools in poor countries tells about a boy that learns to read from an inscription on a landmine (VRS group, 2008. Creative team T. Kasparavičius and M. Mačiulskis). National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


Christmas invitations with the scent of apples and cinnamon so people have the chance to try a cake baked by children of Jieznas Children’s Home. A subtle, modest, and touching advertisement which uses non-traditional options of media in a great way (Milk, 2009. Creative team A. Budukevičiūtė and T. Markauskas). A trolleybus that has an ad on it that reads “Driver, protect my kids, and I will protect yours”, which is still remembered even though quite a few years have passed (DDB, Vilnius, 2005. Creative team S. Masteikaitė and T. Silovas). A person dressed up as Jesus stops you for a chat in Cathedral Square and tells you about the possibility to support Save the Children Lithuania using direct debit payments every month (2010. Creative team G. Grigaliūnaitė and K. Kosas). An innovative brand called “For a Good Man”, which is an attractive tool to collect donations and sell various goods and services – from fresh buns to CDs (VRS group, 2010. Creative team N. Žemaitytė and E. Šniokaitė). A non-traditional campaign on Lithuanian roads that calls on drivers to stop at pedestrian crossings and let pedestrians pass (Apeiros, 2010. Creative team Š. Mikulskis and A. Jakučionis). Posters with texts that remind one of the quiet but clear voice of one’s conscious that appeared on billboards when the business world was engulfed by the economic crisis (Not perfect, 2010. Creative team D.Valančiauskas and P. Senūta).

Social campaign on Lithuanian roads Apeiros 2010


Creative team: Tomas Ramanauskas and Gediminas Saulis


big part of advertisements in Lithuania are adaptations of foreign ads, which is a result of globalization. However when a new brand comes to Lithuania, it would be good for the brand to familiarize itself with aspects that are particular to the local market and develop ties with both international ad agencies and local ad agencies in Lithuania. Advertising takes teamwork. Even in Lithuanian advertising you have specialization. Successfully passing the message to the consumer requires a number of specialists in various fields, including brand strategists, project managers that ensure the smooth running of a project, as well as the idea-generating artists, which include the visualizers and scriptwriters, stylists, photographers, make-up specialists, illustrators, designers, producers, operators and a number of other professionals. We would not be boasting if we said that Lithuania has experienced specialists in all fields, including the strategic side, creative side, production, and media planning. So if you decide to do an ad in Lithuania about tomato sauce or a chocolate bar with nuts being broken in half, you could fly an Italian or French specialist in to do a photo shoot with boiling spaghetti or making chocolate. But you don’t have to. You can consult with local advertisers and find the experts you need right here. We can illustrate the statement that many professionals of various fields work in Lithuania by using the example of a series of posters that was created by the Love Agency team and that could be used for a used bookshop abroad. The posters would certainly be a great addition to the display windows of any bookshop in Berlin, Rome or London. So the next time you want to advertise a product or a service in Lithuania, don’t hesitate to contact a local Lithuanian advertising agency.

Mint Vinetu’s “Become Someone Else” (“Pabūk kuo nors kitu”) campaign Love Agency. 2011 National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



n Western countries, the history of advertising is two or sometimes even three hundred years old. And in Lithuania, we started everything from scratch in 1991. To be more precise, everything started from the production of the first pin-up ads for the then newly established private cooperatives, tri-colored bumper stickers or pins that we were proud of wearing on our lapels. Soon afterwards the first advertising agencies began to appear and together with them business learned and started using the expressions “brand”, “advertising strategy”, and “marketing campaign”. The advertising market not only grew, but matured. The creation of an association by a group of ad agencies was an important moment in the history of Lithuanian advertising. KOMAA (the Lithuanian Association of Communication Agencies) was established in 2002. Today KOMAA unites 21 Lithuanian agencies that provide creative and media services. The goals of KOMAA are to develop the Lithuanian advertising market, strengthen the image of the industry, represent business interests in governmental institutions, organize seminars, solve problems of agencies and customers, and encourage the professional development of the agencies’ staff. Each year KOMAA organizes the Adrenalinas International Advertising Festival, which is an important event in the Lithuanian advertising and media professionals’ community. Where else if not at Adrenalinas could you see the full spectrum of Lithuanian advertising with all of its ups and downs? Where would you meet so many colleagues, from the strictest of critics to most enthusiastic of supporters? So if you want to know what’s new, good, bad, or just whether something interesting happened this year in the Lithuanian advertising market, pack your luggage and come to Adrenalinas. Most likely it’s here behind the scenes where it’s easiest to meet all the partners you need, take a look at an agency or creative team that you like, and feel the pulse of Lithuanian advertising. And despite the worldwide recession, that pulse is healthy and strong.

The Adrenalinas International Advertising Festival Poster. 2007

The Adrenalinas International Advertising Festival Poster. Ad mate. 2010 16


Creative agencies Adell Taivas Ogilvy ADVISION DDB Vilnius Grey Worldwide: Vilnius Kredo R Leo Burnett Vilnius Lowe Age Milk Not Perfect Y&R SAN Vilnius/JWT TBWA\Vilnius

Media agencies Adcom Carat Creative Media Services Media House Mediapool Mindshare Omnicom Media Group Starcom

Full services agencies Tarela VRS group

The Adrenalinas International Advertising Festival Poster. Not Perfect. 2011

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




ithuanian architecture experienced more after independence than during the entire 20th century. Architecture historians will be the judge of this in the future, however no one will deny the fact that the last twenty years were especially significant. It is a period in which generations of architects have changed rapidly, along with the attitude towards architecture, its place and importance within the society as well as the cities it has impacted. All kinds of things occurred, and it was intense. These changes greatly affected the architects and how they understood themselves as well as the cultural industries on the whole.

newly established and restructured architect offices that are testing international markets and offering their ideas at international architecture competitions, as well as high-quality large-scale complexes by well-established companies that have stood the test of time who also pay just as much attention to detail. The large number of local and international architectural competitions, awards and nominations as well as public initiatives, coming from the bottom and changing the direction of the architecture industry, reveal the unfading potential of active and socially responsible architects.

Perhaps the main elements that define contemporary Lithuanian architecture is the constant, dynamic search for new direction, characteristics of national identity, contemplation on and interpretations of identity, the exploration of public space and the changing of its limits, experiments with new, ultramodern architectural expression that have been negative and positive. In Lithuania there are highly recognizable designs by

This text, which gives an overview of the creative industries of architecture, can be divided into three groups representing the main trends of the development of Lithuanian architecture as a creative industry and its achievements. The first is the dynamic offices that illustrate the rise in quality of Lithuanian architecture and its growing potential. These are winners or nominees of international

architectural and urban design competitions, and in this way searching for unique expression, trying new creative forms and proving that our ideas can compete with those of others around the world. The explorations of public space is a second distinct trend that is tied to the qualitative, mature realizations of architecture, where established offices search for a new language architecture, test the features of public space in real life while at the same time creating unique and socially responsible architecture that interprets the features of traditional architecture. The third trend is the understanding of architecture as a field of culture; bottom-up initiatives, the forming of an architecture community and the actions, exploration, platforms, and workshops they have undertook which are just as important for the appearance of new architectural characteristics and discoveries, along with the promotion of a new quality and the creation of visions for the future.



he works of Lithuanian and Finnish architects shared third place at the Stockholm Public Library International Architectural Competition to expand Stockholm’s Asplund Library that took place in November 2007. This achievement by a team of 9 co-authors that was put together by Rolandas Palekas and 8 other authors (Rolandas Palekas, Andrė Baldišiūtė, Bartas Puzonas, Alma Palekienė, Akvilė Brazauskaitė, Monika Zemlickaitė, Gilma Teodora Gylytė, Džiugas Karalius, and Lina Sužiedelytė) could be called historic. It is the best success by Lithuanian architects at an international competition ever, which proves that our ideas can compete with those of others around the world. The Asplund Public Library in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, was designed by Gunar Asplund in 1920-1928, and is the pride of the city. The competition for expansion of this cultural symbol received much attention from the architecture community. The work of Lithuanians was one the most original, offering a straightforward, but effective solution: they suggested to “cut into” a hill located on the site and put the new library under it. The work “cut” stood out with its conceptually robust idea and precise aesthetic, and intelligent way to provide a new context for Asplund’s building. This suggestion was very complex: despite the very simple idea, the project was both visible and hidden at the same time. The comission’s report stated that “inner cuts penetrate deep into the hill, cross the limits of the competition, but save the profile of the hill with the design of a grass roof”. The creation of a space, and not a building reflects the office’s philosophy that architecture is an art of spaces, and not of volumes. When a new building emerges, it provides new limits for spaces, ties, new transformations, and an unavoidable relationship with the surrounding environment.

Rolandas Palekas Architecture Study Project CUT for the Expansion of the Stockholm Library. 2007 Photo on courtesy of the authors

The authors say that they did not create a building by cutting the hill. Architectural and conceptual values are expressed by the exceptional space of the entrance of the new library, while the monumental character of the old Asplund Library is strengthened in this new context. The multifunctional entrance space joins the old and new libraries and becomes a public space. This project represents the course of the office in its search for uniqueness – harmony with one’s surroundings, a conceptual cleanness, clarity, and the search of new regional and Scandinavian architectural features. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




he competition of ideas for renovation and expansion of the Latvian National Museum of Art, which was won by Processoffice, was one of the most significant events in the context of Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian architecture in the last few years. The museum, which was built in Riga in 1905, is an architectural monument that holds great significance for the country, however it has become dated both morally and physically. The conditions of the competition stated that the project of reconstruction and expansion of the museum should provide solutions as to how to adapt the museum to be able to meet the modern needs for international exhibitions, educational work and public activity. The Lithuanian project (authors Vytautas Biekša, Andrius Skiezgelas, Marius Kanevičius, and Rokas Kilčiauskas; coauthors: Ježi Stenkevič, Austė Kuliešiūtė, Miglė Nainytė, and Giedrius Špogis) is neither too pushy nor too expensive, and was designed after a comprehensive analysis of the museum and its environment as well as of the city. The building was created, as the authors themselves said, “with their hands tied”, in a restrained manner, and avoiding architectural excesses. In this competition Lithuanians were almost the only ones that did not offer a modern addition. In their project, they utilized the attic and transferred a part of the premises underground. In addition, an accent was put on a glass terrace at the museum’s entrance. A part of the premises located underground was to be covered by glass and visible from the public space right next to the museum.

Processoffice and Andrius Skiezgelas Project of the Extention of Latvian National Museum of Art Vizualization on courtesy of the authors 20

The winners of the competition demonstrated a unique and sensitive attitude: an old building is considered something to cherish, and great attention is paid to every square meter. According to the commission of experts, the arguments to renovate the existing building are strong and persuasive. The project is oriented towards creating a new value that is oriented at an old building, the space of which would be reemphasized by renovating it. New premises for administrative and technical support are fit in a compact underground space, which creates a new local space and functions right next to the historical building of the museum. This project is characterized by a rational script that satisfies the needs of the museum, and proves that reasonableness can be one of the essential features of the architecture of our region, and that young architects are competitive in the international market.



he project “Office of Meteliai Regional Park” was nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture at the Exhibition Mies van der Rohe Award 2001 and is one of many nominations that this office (architects Gintautas Natkevičius, Rimas Adomaitis, Jonita Šyvokienė, and Artūras Asauskas) has received. These architects work in a particularly aesthetic and moderate manner, setting themselves apart with their harmony with their surroundings, and their search for innovation, modernism, and a unique aesthetic as well as sensitivity in creating small-scale objects. This is one of the most conceptual and reasonable offices in Lithuania that is developing its own path, which is characterized by a unique, pure aesthetic with a special attention to details. A unique building, the office of Meteliai Regional Park, is characterized by high quality architecture, and a sensitivity to the surrounding nature. It is situated on the shores of Dusia Lake in the territory of the Meteliai Regional Park Directorate. The composition of the complex is comprised of two architectural poles – a traditional as well as a modern one, with two stylistically different volumes stressing this dualism. One of these poles hangs in the air, seeming allowing nature to enter it; it is an elegant, transparent combination of metal and glass placed on slender black columns. It is nestled up to an iconic house with a wooden shingle two-slope roof that interprets traditional architecture and decorative materials. The wall inside is decorated with the same wooden shingles. The entire life of the complex takes place in nature, which can be observed from the second floor, where you can see the life of the lake from up on high. Thanks to the architects, nature became a full part of the interior, and the visual connection between the inner and outer is kept whole.

Gintautas Natkevičius and Partners Office of Meteliai Regional Park Photo on courtesy of the authors National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




he new central office of Swedbank has expanded the concept of having the center on the right bank of the Neris River. There were plans to move the city center there during the Soviet period, and work was started on highrise buildings. The architects that designed the building were Audrius Ambrasas’ Architects (Audrius Ambrasas, Vilma Adomonytė, Tomas Eidukevičius, and Donatas Malinauskas). Konstitucijos Avenue and a pedestrian street are joined together on the bank’s plot of land, which becomes the main axis of the building that connects St. Rapolas Church to the Šnipiškės district. The first floor of the building, together with an intersecting café space and passage way has been developed as a public urban space with separate zones. It is a new interpretation of a public or public-private space, combining bank functions with transparency, publicness, and the city’s needs. The large complex is comprised of three spaces that supplement but at the same time refute each other, which make everything balance out. Sharp spires stand out with their vertical profile. A horizontal space was designed and placed next to the busy Konstitucijos Avenue, and a soft and wavy stylobate is turned toward the river. The general composition of the building is common to the whole right bank of the Neris River, however the roof of the stylobatic part of the roof was developed as a wave-like area with plants and recreational zones. Here much attention is given to detail and materials, with the intention to create a coziness, a recreational zone that satisfies the needs of a city dweller. Local residents and visitors are already enjoying it. The Swedbank building does not dominate the skyline of Konstitucijos Avenue and fits well in the side of the urban hill, however the expressive forms, sharp geometry, contrasting colors of the facade and contours create an image, where priority is given to intensity, not modesty. Openness and friendliness to the environment are essential features of this complex, while the attractive views and democratic atmosphere expand the limits of perception and usage of the bank building, and the high quality of building indicates the skills of the architects.

Audrius Ambrasas Architects The Central Office of Swedbank in Vilnius Photo by R. Urbakavičius on courtesy of the authors 22



fter 13 years of reconstruction of one of the main national cultural institutions, the National Art Gallery (the former Museum of the Revolution, architects Gediminas Baravykas and Vytautas Vielius) was opened to public during the celebration of the millennium of the first mention of Lithuania in historical sources. It was one of the most modest and widely covered projects in the foreign press (the architects involved in its reconstruction being Audrius Bučas, Darius Čaplinskas, and Gintaras Kuginis), that stands out with its subtle attitude and technical details along with a great architectural ear in performing a duet of old and new. These architects separated the old and new parts of the museum both visually and functionally. The old building hosts a permanent exhibition of Lithuanian visual art from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The new premises, which are not distinguished by volume but rather emphasized by details, are for exhibitions and offices. The original appearance of the former Museum of Revolution, which is one of the best examples of Soviet Modernism in Lithuania, was preserved after the reconstruction, with only the decoration of the facade and poor quality construction work redone. However the interior was completely redone: what was created was a new, unbroken narrative of spaces that easily flow into one another. A spacious 1000 m2 hall with conditions of the highest quality for temporary exhibitions was created in place of a former courtyard. The hall’s metal roof, perforated with skylights connects the old building and new “signs” of the gallery – two black, narrow buildings that are positioned like computer monitors that are meant for transferring information to the outside. They hold the gallery’s “brains”, which are offices for staff. The technological character of the new elements created by forms, materials and associations, clearly reflects the period and the ambitions of a contemporary cultural institution and society.

Audrius Bučas, Darius Čaplinskas, Gintaras Kuginis (Gediminas Baravykas and Vytautas Vielius) NGA Reconstruction. 2009 Photo by R. Urbakavičius on courtesy of NGA

Despite the contrasting architectural expression, the new elements of the gallery complex stress the monumental character of the old building, thus strengthening the visual importance of the museum within the panorama of the new Vilnius center. According to one of the best critics of architecture Aaron Betsky, the building fascinates you with its sensitivity and natural contrast, and is one of the best contemporary designs that have been brought to fruition in Lithuania. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




here is a residential housing block in an out-of-theway part of Vilnius Old Town, surrounded by Kalnų Park, the Užupis neighborhood and greenery, which is exceptional as it is an example of harmony of historical and contemporary architecture. Strict regulations in the Vilnius Old Town, which is protected by UNESCO, and the State Cultural Reserve of Vilnius Castles, the unique natural environment, and neighbouring 19th century villas of Užupis demanded a sensitive solution. In taking the principles of traditional architecture and reworking them, the architects created the right image that apartment building should have, but also one that represented a new era, and garnered not only local awards, but also international design awards. As it is common for old city districts, the small buildings that are often up to three stories tall are laid out in irregular fashion thus forming cosy spaces and niches that open up the view to the greenery from Krivių Street and fit the urban mood of Užupis. The characteristics that are typical of the historical architecture in the area are sloping roofs, and the proportion and color of the buildings can be seen in the Krivių namai apartment block. It is an original architectural language that is fused with national identity. Its contemporary character is strengthened by the minimalistic, polished silhouettes of the buildings, and contrasting and playful facades that are not overloaded with details. The search for expression and uniqueness within the historical environment of new architecture is relevant today, and it is good to know that there are examples that can be looked upon.

Tadas Balčiūnas, Vytautas Biekša, and Marius Kanevičius Apartment Houses on Krivių Street. 2008 Photo on courtesy of the authors




hat is needed is to tie the cultural rehabilitation of Vilnius’ rivers with their history. Shipping on the Neris River began in 1929. After World War II, when the capital underwent rapid urbanization, a decision was made to create a waterway and mark it with buoys and embankments, so in other words, with navigation signs. Passenger vessels started to sail on the waterway after it was established. Keeping this in mind, there are still efforts being made to ready the Neris River, which is the main river in Vilnius, and adapt it for shipping. However it is only recently that artists have started to inject life back in the river by decorating it with slogans. The newest, and probably longest-lasting initiative that invited the city to “look back at the river” is the cultural platform KULTFLUX, established on the Neris embankment in Vilnius. The project was initiated by the Platform for Urban Culture (PUC – Andrius Skiezgelas, Martynas Nagelė, Ula Tornau and Aleksandaras Kavaliausias, pavilion architects: Andrius Skiezgelas, Martynas Nagelė and Aleksandras Kavaliauskas; construction – Saulius Kavaliauskas and Darius Spranaitis, JPHouse). It is an interactive interdisciplinary platform that invites you to join and act. First of all, KULTFLUX is an artistical initiative that seeks to revive the embankment, and in this way join the discussion about the possibilities that Vilnius public spaces provide. It is also a specially designed space, which seeks to help Vilnius residents “tame” the river once again and view it from a different perspective, and revive the embankment, the terrain, panorama and position of which in the city makes it perfect for cultural activities. The program of this platform is open and changing. KULTFLUX’s project raises and highlights the city’s problems that seem to go unnoticed. It is an attempt to define the spheres of interest and limits of the ties between the art-public space or human-public space, mark a particular cultural territory within the city of Vilnius, actively examine both theoretical and practical discourse on public spaces. During the time of its existence, this initiative has received acclaim from the professional community and the general public.

KULTFLUX pavilion on the Neris embankment. 2009 Photo on courtesy of the authors National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




he idea for an architecture park, which was initiated by the Vilnius city municipality, could be considered an alternative form for the display of architecture in the city. Mindaugas Pakalnis, who is the chief architect of the Vilniaus planas municipal enterprise, stated that “if implemented the “Vilnius Architecture Park” project would transform the banks of the Vilnia River from Užupis to Belmontas forest and former Soviet factories into an exceptional apartment building area of architectural and active cultural life. Plans are being made where representatives of the creative industries could be comfortably accommodated and where it would be possible to spend one’s free time”. As Rūta Matonienė, an architect and representative of the Vilnius City Municipality coordinating the project, stated that the idea was born after visiting similar architecture parks in Germany and Sweden, which act as a great open-air architectural exhibition. The “Architectural Park” project is highly regarded in Lithuania, because people from different social strata (real estate developers, architects, sociologists, specialists of creative industries, local or city communities) are involved in the planning process and there is a public discussion not only about the future neighborhood, but also about the area’s historical past, the architectural/urban heritage, and the relationship of the area and the Old Town. Although this project is in its initial stage, experts from various spheres along with the community are already involved in it in different ways. In 2008 creative workshops that were organized, during which discussions were held with the intention to find common solutions and further development possibilities for the area, along with community surveys, with the results visualized by groups of architects. It is hoped that after the implementation of the project the territory open for visitors will be an exemplary architectural park that allows visitors to experience spatial sensations while standing between buildings that are of a natural size. Currently various groups of architects are developing the project’s idea of a “self-formed city”. There are plans to carry out the first stage of this park over the next five to seven years.

Vilnius Architecture Park Workshop vizualization. 2008 Photo on courtesy of Vilnius municipality 26



rchitecture Fund is a non-governmental independent non-profit organization that supervises activities devoted to cultivating humane, sensitive, thinking and perceptive traits in people. It is an informal movement that was based on the first architectural exhibition that took place in re-independent Lithuania entitled “View at Yourself” in 2004. In 2009-2011 this public company evolved into a multi-layered voluntary initiative that brings together about 120 volunteers and which broadens the limits of the understanding of architecture culture, and encourages cultural exchanges and cooperation. Today Architecture Fund is a platform that initiates and moderates many activities: Architecture [conversation] Fund, Architecture [topics] Fund, Architecture [books] Fund, Architecture [excursions] Fund, Architecture [children’s] Fund, The Arnas Dineika Scholarship, an online database of modern architecture at, publication projects, and other activities that arise a reaction to current events, initiatives and suggestions of volunteers. The largest initiative, which is the Architecture [discussion] Fund, connects a number of activities, including highquality lecture cycles (with five lectures for every topic) for architects and the public. The lectures attract not only architecture experts, students or others that are interested in the field, but they are becoming more and more attractive for people from other spheres, because these conversations inspire them to look at architecture from a different angle, understand it, and love it. The project does not limit itself to lectures – after the lectures there are also discussions over a glass of wine, a collection of books recommended by lecturers, and a community of like-minded responsible and conscious people that are interested in what is going on around them. All the activity of Architecture Fund is carried out using the relay race principal, when a new volunteer is paired with a more experienced volunteer. Then the next year after the new volunteer has gained experienced, they then tutor a new volunteer, and so on, thus ensuring continuity and constant dynamics. This is an important step in the direction of a culture of architecture in Lithuania.

Architecture (discussion, excursion, news, children...) fund. 2011 Photos by Norbert Tukaj National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




International workshop Lituanica organized by Andre Baldi Architecture Urbanism. 2008 Photo by Saulius Jankauskas 28

fter regaining independence, Lithuania soon encountered the problem of dealing with new architecture principles. After being fed up with spontaneous architecture and uncontrolled urban development, new alternatives were introduced for developing and solving problems of large private urban areas of cities. One of the ways was to begin initiating international architecture competitions and creative workshops that would attract high-level creative and intellectual potential from both local and foreign resources. Andre Baldi Architecture Urbanism is a socially responsible company of young architects that designs only socially responsible architecture, and that is the reason why they, together with JSC “Žalioji linija” (the Green Line) organized and coordinated probably the biggest and most important creative workshops to work on the development of the Ogmios neighborhood in Vilnius and the regeneration of the Lituanica industrial area in Kaunas. Teams from Lithuania and abroad took part in the workshops, with the winner selected by an international commission. The provided results were not only important as guidelines for territorial development, but also as a storehouse for ideas and an expression of decision making and the educational process. The international Ogmios creative workshops on urban development took place on 23-26 October, 2008. The idea was to transform the current 140,000 m2 shopping area into a special multifunctional centre that would be attractive to both business and residents. The participants received a task to prepare ideas for public buildings, offices, and a recreation and shopping center complex over a span of three days with the help of 24 students. The international Lituanica creative workshops on urban development took place on 24-27 September, 2009, with a second stage taking place on 10-23 December, 2009. The focus of the workshop was an 11 ha territory in Kaunas’ Old Town that belongs to several owners. A part of this territory is public land and not divided into lots. The participants had the task of creating a vision for the building, evaluate and justify these aspects: the using of the context’s uniqueness, the visual and functional connection of the territory with Kaunas Castle and its surroundings; the integration into the spatial fabric of the Old Town, the selection of a suitable scale of the spaces; the preservation of valuable Old Town silhouettes; and the selection of an appropriate height of the structures.


ithuania cannot boast a big national cinema market, however its cinema is well-established and acknowledged internationally. Lithuanian films often participate in prestigious cinema festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Leipzig, Amsterdam and elsewhere, and have been winners of a number of awards and special prizes. Lithuanian films are appreciated for the values of cinematography that have been maintained, for their visual expression, and their themes of personal and social identity. The outstanding works of film directors Almantas Grikevičius, Algirdas Dausa, Arūnas Žebriūnas, Raimondas Vabalas, Vytautas Žalakevičius, and Marijonas Giedrys set themselves apart with their individual style and professionalism within Soviet cinema, while directors Robertas Verba and Henrikas Šablevičius were instrumental in the creation of a genre known as poetic documentary. After independence, substancial changes occurred in the principles of film production,

sponsorship and funding, while directors of a new generation came into play. Šarūnas Bartas’ name is associated with the turning point in postSoviet Lithuanian cinema and the establishment of Kinema, the first independent cinema studio in the country. Lithuanian cinematography has been made well-known by the films of Audrius Stonys, Valdas Navasaitis, Algimantas Puipa, Gytis Lukšas, and Kristijonas Vildžiūnas. The creative and organizational work of Lithuanian Jonas Mekas, who resides in the U.S., has been of crucial importance to the development of avant-garde cinema. In 2007, Arūnas Matelis was awarded the Best Director Award in the Documentary Feature Category by the Directors Guild of America for the film “Before Flying Back to the Earth”. Film producer Rasa Miškinytė has utilized the possibilities that international co-production offers, with Polish, Japanese, Dutch and Finnish film companies contributed

to the production of the film “The Bug Trainer”. In 2011 Lithuanian film director Mantas Kvedaravičius made his debut with the documentary “Barzakh” produced by outstanding Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki, which opened the DocPoints Festival in Finland and the program of documentaries in the Panorama session of the Berlin International Film Festival. In the same year the Lithuanian film industry was featured at the European Film Market for the first time. Professional interest in cinema art is promoted by an educational project for secondary school students called the Skalvija Film Academy. The annual Vilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring (Kino pavasaris) introduces its viewers to world cinema, while the Scanorama European Film Forum presents a thorough panorama of European films and initiates cooperation in film production among cinema professionals from Northern, Eastern, and Central European countries and the Baltic countries.

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Feature Films Cameramen: Audrius Kemežys, Dmitri Ermakov Music: Alexander Zekke, Sound director: Vladimir Golovnitski Editor: Danielius Kokanauskis Cast: Klavdija Koršunova, Šarūnas Bartas, Eliza Sednaoui, Erwan Ribard, Arūnas Storpirštis Co-produced by: Studio Kinema (Vilnius), Lazennec et Associes (Paris), with participation of Cinema without Frontiers (Moscow) International sales: UMEDIA,


ilm critics have compared the films of Šarūnas Bartas with the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, Bella Tarros, and Robert Breson. In 1989 Bartas established Kinema, the first independent film studio in the country where the first Lithuanian co-produced films were made. Bartas made his cinematic debut with the film “In Memory of the Day Passed By” and was awarded a special jury and viewers’ prize at Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival in 1990. The world premieres of the feature films “Three days”, “The Corridor”, “Few of Us”, “The House”, “Freedom”, and “Seven Invisible Men” have taken place at Berlin, Cannes, Venice film festivals and have garnered numerous prizes. In 2001, Šarūnas Bartas received the National Culture and Arts Award for his films “Few of Us”, “The House” and “Freedom”. His newest film, “Eastern Drift”, tells the story of a drug dealer who is floating around France, Russia and Lithuania. Bartas moves his viewers from the melancholic geographical periphery in his earlier work to another kind of wasteland – modern cities. “Telling the plot of the film, I wanted to show what I feel and see. The three countries where the plot unfolds seem very distant and should be different, but the cities are alike. One could easily take Moscow for Paris and Paris for Vilnius and vice versa. Those three territories are the three themes of the film” (Šarūnas Bartas). The film was featured in the Forum program of the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2010, “Eastern Drift” was also in the cinema in France. Awards

“Eastern Drift”. Director Šarūnas Bartas. 2010


2010 Lithuanian Cinema Academy Silver Crane Awards: Best Film (“Eastern Drift”), Best Director (Šarūnas Bartas), Best Actress (Klavdija Koršunova), The Best Baltic Film in the Tridents Baltic Film Competition at the Black Nights International Film Festival (PÖFF), 2010, Main Prize at the 19th KinoShock 2010 Open Film Festival in Anapa, Russia,

Feature Films Cameraman: Vladas Naudžius Music: Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz Sound director: Saulius Urbanavičius Storyboard: Galius Kličius Costume designer: Agnė Rimkutė Editors: Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, Valdas Misevičius Cast: Elžbieta Latėnaitė, Andrius Bialobžeskis, Jurga Jutaitė, Margarita Broich, Giedrius Arbačiauskas, and Aleksas Kazanavičius


ack To Your Arms” is the first-ever Lithuanian-Polish co-production. The film studios that were involved in cooperation were Uljanos Kim studija and Studio Filmowe TOR (, the latter led by outstanding Polish director and producer Krzysztof Zanussi. Kristijonas Vildžiūnas is one of the most fascinating contemporary Lithuanian directors today. His feature film “The Lease” marked his international directorial debut in the Upstream Competition of the Venice International Film Festival. The world premiere of his second feature film “You Am I” was screened in the Different View program of the Cannes Film Festival. Both films received awards for Best Feature Film of the Baltics at the Riga International Film Festival “Arsenals”. The drama “Back To Your Arms” was inspired by real-life events. The story is based on a letter that was sent by Dalia Juknevičiūtė (an American of Lithuanian descent) to her husband poet Algimantas Mackus. The letter described the details of a meeting that took place between a father and daughter in 1958. The characters, fated to be separated during World War II, face extreme situations and are forced to make decisions they can put off no longer. Their meeting turns into a chance for opposing political powers to use the situation to their own advantage. Awards Eight 2011 Lithuanian Cinema Academy Silver Crane Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Kristijonas Vildžiūnas), Best Script (Kristijonas Vildžiūnas), Best Actor (Andrius Bialobžeskis), Best Actress (Elžbieta Latėnaitė), Best Supporting Actor (Giedrius Arbačiauskas), Best Supporting Actress (Margarita Broich), and Best Production Design (Galius Kličius),

“Back To Your Arms”. Director Kristijonas Vildžiūnas. 2010

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Documentary Films Cameraman: Audrius Kemežys Sound: Kipras Mašanauskas, Jonas Maksvytis, Viktoras Juzonis, and Arūnas Matelis Editor: Katharina Schmidt Film companies: TAG/TRAUM (Germany) and Nominum (Lithuania), in cooperation with ZDF/Arte TV World première at the Leipzig Film Festival 2005,

“Before Flying Back To Earth” Director Arūnas Matelis. 2005 32

uropean Film Academy (EFA, www.europeanfilmacademy. org) member Arūnas Matelis was the first film director from Eastern Europe to win the Directors Guild of America “For Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary”, one of the biggest awards in the film industry. “Before Flying Back To Earth” is perhaps the most well-known Lithuanian film worldwide, having garnered a number of awards. It is a moving and poetic glimpse into the lives of children living with leukemia in a hospital. Matelis stated that “being in this hospital with children who are suffering from severe illness, I was able to observe a phenomenon that inspired me to make this film. I witnessed children and their parents, who despite their anxiety and pain, often looked happier than those beyond the walls of the hospital. Why? How could that be?” Awards Best Documentary Award, Directors Guild Of America, 2006, Golden Dove Grand Prize, International Film Festival DOKLeipzig, 2005, Silver Wolf Grand Prize, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, 2005, Best Lithuanian Film 2005, “For directorial mastership and discretion introducing a tender topic”, Lithuanian Cinematographers’ Union, Lithuanian National Award 2006, “For giving meaning to humanist values, for essay-like language in the documentary “Before Flying Back To The Earth”” Grand Prize, Documenta Madrid International Film Festival, 2006, Big Stamp Award, International Documentary Film Festival Zagreb DOX, 2006, Grand Prize, Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, 2006, filmfestival Honorable Mention, Documentary Film Festival Silverdocs, 2006, Spirit Award, Brooklyn Film Festival, 2006, Gold Star Award, PIN 2007, html.en LT Identity Award for 2006 “For Promoting the Name of Lithuania” LNK Wing of Merit Award, 2007

Documentary Films Cinematography: Mantas Kvedaravičius Additional Cinematography: Ahmed Gisaev, Zarema Mukusheva Sound: Tero Malmberg Editing consultant: Timo Linnasalo, Giedrius Zubavičius The film was produced by film company Sputnik Oy (Finland) which is headed by Aki Kaurismäki, and Lithuanian film company Extimacy Films International sales: The Match Factory


antas Kvedaravičius received his M.A. in Cultural Antropology from Oxford University. He is currently studying at Cambridge University where he is working on his Ph.D. and a monograph on the power and pain of the state. From 2003 to 2005, Mantas Kvedaravičius taught the theory of religion, law and politics at universities in New York State. Since 2006 he has been investigating cases of torture and disappearance in the North Caucasus. The images that were filmed during a three-year period in Chechenya gave birth to a heart-wrenching chronicle of suffering. The characters of “Barzakh” are the loved ones of those who have disappeared, and one man that has experienced torture. “I wanted to reveal what people go through when they don’t know whether their beloved ones are dead or alive. Almost every single Chechen family has dealt with this”, said film director Mantas Kvedaravičius. “Barzakh” opened the DocPoints – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival in Finland and the program of documentary films at the Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale 2011 ( Awards Ecumenical and Amnesty International jury award at the Berlin International Film Festival, 2011 Lithuanian Cinema Academy Silver Crane Award for Best Documentary, 2011 Grand Prix in the International Program of the BelDocs Documentary Film Festival, 2011 (Belgrade, Serbia), Honorable Mention from the Planete Doc Film Festival, 2011 (Warsaw, Poland), The Best Baltic Documentary film, 8th Vilnius Documentary Film Festival (VDFF), 2011

“Barzakh”. Director Mantas Kvedaravičius. 2011 National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


Creative Documentaries


Script writers: Linas Augutis, Donatas Ulvydas, Jonas Banys Cameraman: Ramūnas Greičius Animation operator: Mikołaj Jaroszewicz Production designer: Jurgita Gervilaitė Animator: Adam Wyrwas Editor: Audrius Naujalis Music: Linas Rimša Production company: “Era Film”, Co-producers: SE-MA-FOR Film Production (Poland),, NHK (Japan), Avro (the Netherlands), Yle Coproduction (Finland) In cooperation with DR TV (Denmark), SVT (Sweden), NRK (Norway), TSR (Switzerland), ETV (Estonia), LRT (Lithuania). Under the patronage of the National UNESCO Commission of Lithuania

“The Bug Trainer” Directors Donatas Ulvydas, Linas Augutis, Marek Skrobecki, Rasa Miškinytė. 2008 Film still by Paulina Majda 34

he Bug Trainer” is an internationally co-produced documentary about Ladislas Starewitch (1882-1965), who was a pioneer in puppet animation. He started his work in puppet animation in Lithuania, moving to Russia, and later to France. Starewitch kept guard over his secrets. He worked alone and never disclosed his unique methods of animation to others. For cinematographers in the genre around the world, his achievements and craftsmanship were long the pinnacle of their dreams. “The Bug Trainer” is a combination of a feature film, documentary and animation, examining early cinematography as well as the political and historical events shaping Europe in the twentieth century. The film premiere was in the International Documentary Competition of the 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Awards Best Educational Film, ReAnimation’09 International Animation Film festival in Yerevan, 2009 Special Jury Prize, XVI Minsk International Film Festival Listapad, 2009, Grand Prix, Berdyansk International Film Festival, 2009, Special Jury Prize, The 2010 World of Knowledge Film Festival in St. Petersburg Lithuanian Cinema Academy Silver Crane Award for Best Directorship, Best Script, Best Music, and Best Production, 2009,

Avant-garde Films


The spectrum of Mekas’ creativity is broad, ranging from narrative films (“Guns of the Trees”, 1961) to documentaries (“The Brig”, 1963) and diaries, for example “Walden” (1969), “Lost, Lost, Lost” (1975), “Reminiscences of a Voyage to Lithuania” (1972), “Zefiro Torna” (1992) and “As I was Moving Ahead, Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty” (2001).

ccording to Brian Frye, a filmmaker, curator and writer living in New York , “the founder of Anthology Film Archives, the Filmmakers’ Cooperative and Film Culture magazine, Jonas Mekas helped shape the public image of avant-garde filmmaking in America, as well as profoundly influenced its self-identity.” Mekas is the godfather of American avantgarde filmmaking, or “New American Cinema”, as he dubbed it in the late 1950s, and played diverse roles in it: in 1954 he became the editor in chief for Film Culture, and in 1958 he started writing articles for the Movie Journal column in the Village Voice; in 1962 he founded the Filmmakers’ Cooperative (FMC) together with a group of people including Emile de Antonio. In 1964 Mekas founded the Filmmakers’ Cinémathèque, which eventually grew into the Anthology Film Archives, one of the world‘s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde films.

His films have been screened at festivals and museums around the world. “Celebration of the Small and Personal in the Time of Bigness” was presented in the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale 2005. His newest film “Sleepless Nights Stories” was featured at the Berlin Film Festival 2011. In October 2007, President Valdas Adamkus granted Jonas Mekas citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania by way of exception.

Awards Jonas Mekas has received numerous grants and awards from such institutions as the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Albright Knox Gallery, and the Long Wharf Theatre Foundation.

Jonas Mekas Photo by Gediminas Kajėnas

Gold Medal, Philadelphia College of Art, “For devotion, passion, and selfless dedication to the rediscovery of the newest art”, 1966 Guggenheim Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, 1977 Creative Arts Award, Brandeis University, 1989 Mel Novikoff Award, San Francisco Film Festival, 1992 Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Ministry of Culture, France, 1992, 2000 Lithuanian National Award, 1995 Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, Kansas City Art Institute Special Tribute, New York Film Critics Circle Award, 1996 Pier Paolo Pasolini Award, Paris, 1997

International Documentary Film Association Award, Los Angeles, 1997 Governors Award, Skohegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 1997 Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, Universitatis Vytauti Magni, Lituanika, 1997 In 2003, Jonas Mekas received the Great Cross of the Order for Merits, one of the top Lithuanian award from the state, for promoting Lithuania, as well as fostering and developing international ties. In 2006, the Directors Guild of America awarded the Anthology Film Archives for merits to the film industry. Jonas Mekas’ film “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania” was included among the best of America’s films protected by the USA National Cinema Protection Council. (Only 25 films are added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress every year). The Movie Critics Association of Los Angeles honored Jonas Mekas for his contribution to the US film industry and culture.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he first national film stand of Lithuania was introduced at the European Film Market at the Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale ( in 2011. The stand was organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and public company Eksportuojanti Lietuva and MEDIA Desk Lietuva (International Cultural Programme Centre). In 2011 more than twenty enterprises and organizations were on hand to represent Lithuania, including such film companies as Kino vilkai, which is a collection of eight enterprises based in Vilnius, Tremora (, Era Film (, Monoklis (, organizers of festivals such as the Vilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring and Kaunas International Film Festival (, and representatives from cinemas including Skalvija (, and Pasaka ( In 2010 the European Film Market was visited by more than 6,500 representatives of the film industry from 81 countries, including film companies, distributors, broadcasters, and film festival organizers. There were 419 companies from 50 countries that had their own stands.

First national film stand of Lithuania European Film Market at the Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale. 2011


Cinema for Education


t the Skalvija Film Academy, students have lectures on the theory and analysis of feature films and documentaries and cinema history, as well as hands-on workshops where students learn how to use film-making equipment (such as camera, lights, etc.). Professionals in the field of film making, including screenwriters, directors, editors, cameramen, and film critics gladly share their knowledge and experience. Every semester concludes with the creation of short films by students of the academy and a public screening at Skalvija cinema. Fellows and partners of the Skalvija Film Academy including the public company Čiobreliai, public limited companies Cinevera and Actors agency, and sponsors – the Municipality of Vilnius and the Cultural Foundation of the Republic of Lithuania. Cinema Center Skalvija was awarded a Silver Crane for its years of work in educational projects. At the 15th Annual Europa Cinemas Conference, Skalvija garnered the Europa Cinemas Award for Best Programming in 2009. Europa Cinemas, which unites 1,005 cinema theaters in 68 countries, is dedicated to supporting the distribution of films made locally and European-wide, as well as the realization of related projects and events.

Skalvija Film Academy Photo by Romas Ušakovas

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


Film Festivals


ilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring (Kino pavasaris), is the biggest and most important event in film in Lithuania since 1995. Partners include the EU’s MEDIA program (www. Cinema Spring is a member of the Confederation Internationale des Cinemas D’Art et D’Essai, Each year more than 100 films from all over the world are featured at the festival during a two-week period. The New-Europe – New Names Program Competition was inaugurated at the Vilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring in 2009, and quickly became the highlight of the festival. The films are judged by an international jury formed of professionals from the film industry. In 2011 the Second Annual International Film Festivals Forum was held. The main aim of this event was to establish and foster ties with the main international film festivals in Central and Eastern Europe. Every year the festival invites viewers to cinemas in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys. Lithuanian films and premieres comprise a major part of the program, but the festival also offers events geared for the needs of the film industry, including meetings between festival organizers from neighboring countries, film making workshops, master classes for upcoming professionals and workshops for young film makers, and meetings with film directors, producers, and program organizers. The festival is proud to have received guests such as Emir Kusturica, Mike Leigh, Leos Carax, Javor Gardev, Attila Galambos and actors like Hana Schygulla, Ian Somerhalder, and Dexter Fletcher among others. In 2011 the 16th Vilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring had over 64,000 visitors, which was the biggest number in the history of the festival.


Film Festivals


he European Film Forum Scanorama has been organized since 2003. What started out as the Nordic Film Forum soon became the biggest forum for Nordic film in the Baltic, with ties coming through cooperation and direct contact with the best international film festivals in Europe. Scanorama was the first to bring European films to a wider audience (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda), because its fundamental concept is to promote the spirit of good film troughout Lithuania. Scanorama not only screens films but also distributes European copyright films to Lithuanian cinemas and TV channels. In 2006 Scanorama became a member of the Alliance of Central and East European Film Festivals, which is an international network of European film festivals. In cooperation with the Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz, Scanorama organizes their own Crossing Europe, which is a panorama of the work of Europe’s brightest film directors. The primary focus of Scanorama are on the Go Young Generation master class workshops and Guest Voice competition program, where the best short film from the Baltic is selected. The original and already traditional Scanorama nights include retrospectives of prominent European film directors, film classics, and educational programs. European film stars that have visited include Lena Endre, Baltasar Kormakur, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Lars von Trier’s producer Meta Louise Foldager, along with representatives of such institutions as the European Producer’s Club, European Film Promotion, Norwegian Film Institute, experts of MEDIA, board members of the Council of Europe European Film Support Fund Eurimages, and international film festival directors. Scanorama is the only festival thus far to have brought two Oscar winners to Lithuania – James Marsh and Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire”) – along with a host of shooting stars in European film.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




n recent years Lithuania has seen an increase in the number of both commercially successful companies and enthusiasts that make computer games. It is true that we have neither a computer or video games industry, nor a market that would create a demand for this industry. We do not have specialized educational institutions that are able to provide training, however some of them are starting to expand the scope of their study programs. Globalization and enthusiasm are two reasons that can explain this phenomenon. Since the beginning (if we consider the beginning to be the beginning of this century), there have been two trends: some began looking for possibilities to turn making computer games into a lucrative business, others declared their love for the gaming culture and did not care about the financial benefits. The former immediately developed relations with partners in neighboring countries (Russia and Ukraine), because these countries had larger markets and had closer ties with the biggest computer game companies in the West. The latter organized themselves into independent teams and put their products on the internet. Here we could mention two success stories: “Ivolgamus” ( is the oldest computer game maker in Lithuania, which later became a subsidiary of Nordcurrent and uses their former name less and less. Today the company has two studios (one in Vilnius and one in Buenos Aires) and creates games for all platforms and in many languages. Their products are sold in many Western countries and are regulars on various lists for the best computer games. “GetJar” ( about) is a different kind of success story. During the last few years, it has become a leader in selling mobile applications and right now it is the largest independent application distributor alongside Apple. The company, headed by Ilja Laurs, started out by selling applications and games to a major telecommunications companies in Lithuania. The two above-mentioned trends are still clearly visible today: some game makers see life as too

short to experiment and create something that isn’t profitable, while others say that they never think about the financial gain. It is both ironic and symbolic that Wireframe Dreams, who were the makers of the first commercial computer game in Lithuania, disbanded right after the release of their first game (2006). Due to the weak purchasing power and lack of tradition, Lithuanian users (the majority of them are very young) are not keen on buying games, because they can download things illegally. Exceptions to this rule are companies that make games and cooperate with governmental institutions and make educational products and applications that are used in learning. Their business has fewer risks involved. We want to distinguish one particular company, which created a simulation game for the Prison department – this product is used to improve the re-socialization skills of prisoners. Until recently Tecmo Koei, which was a subsidiary of a Japanese company, was also active in Lithuania, and a great example that illustrates the logic of economic and cultural globalization. Young and talented designers that worked in Lithuania contributed to the corporate process of making games going on in various countries, sometimes not even having a clear idea of the result. Their works become elements of an anonymous program or product. Many young Lithuanian programmers and designers provide their services to such companies as Unity or Electronic Arts, thus taking part in global production processes that had nothing to do with the Lithuanian creative industry. Social networks such as and also got interested in the possibility to attract their visitors using internet games. A couple of browser-based games: “Basketboss” appealing to the Lithuanians “national passion” for basketball and strategy game “Sferos” can serve good examples. During the last few years Lithuanian specialists have seized the opportunities that came with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad. The number of Lithuanian products in Apple e-shops

is increasing. Game makers are also keenly interested in Android. An example that could point toward a bright future for the Lithuanian gaming industry are Paulius Liekis and Arminas Didžiokas, who won first place in an augmented reality programmers’ contest organized by Qualcomm, which is a mobile technology producer. They created a game called “Paparazzi”, where the player becomes a paparazzi photographer and photographs his victim; however the target unexpectedly comes rushing at him and starts smashing the phone. They won a money prize of 125,000 dollars for their efforts. Paulius Liekis has been programming for more than a decade. Liekis and Didžiokas and some other game makers recently banded together and established Pixel Punch (www.pixel-punch. com). Their new product for iPhone, iPod touch and Android devices is a fight game called “Rice&Shine”, which can be found on their website. It is also worth noting the appearance of the works of famous children’s book illustrator Kęstutis Kasparavičius on the iPad: his recent illustrated story “The Story of Big Klaus and Little Klaus” (2011) ( sn/app/id420241415?mt=8#) became part of the AppleTreeBooks series. This adaptation received a warm welcome by a multilingual audience on the internet. The visual quality of the book and top-notch illustrations were highly praised. Created by Antanas Marcelionis simple online games operated with voice and movement Shouter ( and Flight Over Sahara (www.motiongames. net/webcam/) distinguish in the panorama of Lithuanian games. Another thing worth noting is migration of works of internationally acknowledged children book illustrator Kęstutis Kasparavičius to iPad media: his illustrated story „Braškių diena“ (Engl. Strawberries‘ day) was turned into an interactive e-book by Skaityklė.lt team (www.skaitykle. lt and, lead by Deividas Talijūnas. A version of this e-book for „Android“ applications has already been prepared.


he company was established in 2010 (and managed by Rolandas Razma). It creates applications and games for Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod (iOS platform). Applications and games are published on the internet and available for millions of users around the world. UD7 applications are also popular among Lithuanian users: they have been among the top selling products. Their products have gained popularity in the U.S. and the U.K. UD7 Studios were one of the first creators of iPhone games in Lithuania. One of UD7 games is an original (and free) social game called “Floonr” (, described as their own interpretation of a message in a bottle. The players are invited to write a message, attach their photo and send a balloon with this message. Other players can catch that balloon that is traveling around the world. The balloon moves on a real map, and other players can comment with a flying message or ask about the author. The description of the game says the following: “No boundaries, no restrictions. Share your message with the world and do it in style!” The game is in English. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



his studio was established in 2010. The game makers were gathered together for the “Nebula 44” game project. The slogan you can see on their website is “3 developers. 2 designers. 1 tiny lab. Oh yeah”. Artūras “arturaz” Šlajus is the head of a team that includes Mykolas “mikism” Mickus, Jonas “jho” Abromaitis, Tomas “tommy” Putanas, Valdas Jokubaitis and Sigitas Dilys. “Nebula 44” ( is a web browser team strategy game: players are invited to become leaders, establish bases on various planets, and create fleets of airships with the purpose of conquering space. The game has highly detailed graphics, developed visuals, stylistics. While working on this project, Tiny Lab found time for smaller games, such as “Gotcha” (2011) ( tinylabproductions.gotcha), an arcade-style game which is about aliens with flying saucers that abduct all the cows, sheep and pigs from the planet, and even the occasional farmer. The humorous game has great graphics. In the game players are invited to become these evil aliens and is described as “a great way to kill five minutes while you are waiting for someone”.


he company 3j consists of students from Vilnius that have been working together since they were 17 and who are now studying art and programming. The name 3j comes from the first letters of their names - Jurgis Jonaitis, Jurgis Tamulis and Justinas Malijonis – while in the meanwhile they have added new members (Marius Tamulis and Julius Mikutavičius). They have always expressed the non-commercial aspect of what they do. 3j are looking to “improve the quality of Lithuanian games and animation”. Julius, Jurgis and Jurgis are studying animation at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Though they have known each other since childhood, they finally united their efforts and formed a group in 2007. In 2008 they released their first game called “Hell”. They say that this creation is the best example of their work to date. The game has collage-like graphics and gothic elements, which invites players to experience “the school of life”. 3j’s work has received rave reviews from internet commentators and reviewers. 3j games have been praised for their hand-drawn animation, great music, simplicity, and dream-like atmosphere that envelops the player. The characters and overall look of these games remind some commentators as being made with the aesthetics and skill of a craftsman and art application techniques, thus a great alternative to what they say is the “boring internet avatar system”. The team occasionally cooperates with partners abroad. The primary 3j work platform is Flash. 3j promotes the 2d platformer game genre. 3j’s studio does not only make games, but animation as well.



ucky Loot Studios was established in 2010, and has comprised a group of talented game makers that decided to leave Nordcurrent/Ivolgamus, the oldest computer game maker in Lithuania. They formed a team in order to fully utilize the possibilities of the iPhone game market. Two programmers and an artist are constantly working with Lucky Loot Studios projects: director Arūnas Pangonis, Martynas Ligeika and Ramūnas Graželis. The team creates games for Apple iOs platforms. “What can be worse than a game which is boring to play?” they ask with a rhetorical flair. Lucky Loot Studios aims to create fun and innovative games. Their first game called “King Rupert” (now adapted for the iPad) takes place in a medieval kingdom with wizards and a bewitched king. The makers have employed the use of 3D graphics in this 10 level game, which uses puzzles. The medieval style was created with humor, and reminds you of old animation and illustrations from fairy tales. Lucky Loot Studios has also created a number of physicsbased games, where the characters are drunk animals. For instance, the game “Drunk Bear” invites players to build bridges and help the drunk bear take empty bottles to a place where they recycle them. “The bear is drunk, out of money and BOOZE! The only way to solve this problem is to sell empty bottles to earn some cash. However, the bear lives in the woods and it is a long and bumpy way to the city. Help the drunk bear to travel to the city and not fall down on the middle of the road!” The game has hints of irony everywhere; the drunken bear character could be interpreted as a game that plays with stereotypes of Eastern Europe.

“Drunk Bear”. 2011 National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



T 44

volgamus (now a subsidiary of Nordcurrent) was established in 2002. It is the oldest and most consistent computer and video game maker in Lithuania, and stands out for its commercial achievements. In 2011 the company had 40 employees in Vilnius and 20 employees in Buenos Aires. Nordcurrent/Ivolgamus has made games for PlayStation 3, PSP, iPhone, iPad, Android, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PC and other platforms. They have released more than 50 games. The newest games of this company have been a smash success, such as “101-in-1 Games” (iPhone), “Jewel Keepers” (for PCs, WiiWare, PSN, iPhone, iPad, and DSiWare), “Monster Buster Club” (DSiWare), and “Arcade Essentials” (PSN and WiiWare). The “101-in-1 Games” collection ( gives one an idea about the style of production of Nordcurrent/ Ivolgamus. This collection was a success due to the amount it offers: the new version includes 121 games in a single package. The games are tied together, so while playing one game you could unlock another, so you never know what will happen next. Players have praised the game for this element of surprise; however some complain that the quality of each individual game is not as impressive as the sum total. It poses a more general question: do the simple and more traditional games you play in your free time still have a future in a place where visual solutions and plots are becoming more and more complex? Yes, most likely, because a difficult strategy game may not be suitable to kill those five spare minutes you have. However due to the ever-increasing quality of games, the expectations of players are also increasing, even for the simplest of products. Ivolgamus consulted the creators of the educational game of the Lithuanian language “Kieti riešutėliai. Tadas Blinda: kirčiavimas“ (2004)” (Engl. “Tough Nuts. Tadas Blinda. Word stress”). ( 2&Itemid=36) (Project of the Lithuanian Language Institute, Project leader Emilija Vilutytė). his company has been providing services for the Prison Department under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania since 2005. On the request of the Prison Department, Terra IT created a simulation game called “My Way”. The purpose of the game is to develop the re-socialization skills of inmates. The game gets players involved in various situations where the freedom of choice is important. Experts created life-like social situations where players can have a job, pursue a career, improve relations with those around them, and plan a schedule and life. When playing this game, inmates solve tasks, answer questions, and choose their environment. Players can also have a virtual family. The game was created together with psychologists, teachers and other experts. The initial flash version grew into an MMO game. It is a network game – inmates in the same facility, along with former inmates, can connect to the local server and play in the network. There are possibilities to have a multiplayer game, when players have to cooperate, compete and perform tasks together.



iork is a group of programmers and designers that are serious about the possibilities of new technological devices and platforms. Kiork makes various kinds of games, and stands out from other Lithuanian companies with its games that are adapted to iPad and iPhone and which feature original works by artists. Kiork has turned a collection of original art works into a jigsaw puzzle game where players unlock more and more pictures as they solve the puzzles. The game “d’ART Jigsaw HD” (http://www.appstorehq. com/d-artjigsawhd-ipad-282773/app) uses the work of Eglė “Daywish” Zioma ( Eglė is a true veteran of the Lithuanian gaming industry: she did work for the first Lithuanian strategic game “PSI: Siberian Conflict” (2006). Another of Kiork’s products is the game “d’ART Bizarre” (http://www.appstorehq. com/d-artbizarre-iphone-412025/app), which uses the work of Lukas Lukoševičius ( Both games have received acclaim for their art and surreal aesthetics.

aumina, a digital branding company, is one of the biggest internet solution companies in Lithuania today. It creates advertising games, as well as educational and entertainment games. The game “Stickman Madness” (two parts) ( index_v3.htm) has received international awards and has quickly became an internet classic, even spawning a wave of clones. This shooting game stands out from other games in the genre for its professionally-made graphics, simplicity and fun. The game is presented as a game with characters that look like black dots on sticks. A good description of the game can be found on one of its ads: “Shooting at you from all angles, it’s like a box of burnt matches that have gone insane”. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



asketBoss introduced as the “virtual model of basketball management” and advertised by social network Draugas. lt was created by the company “Saugiai” (manager Mindaugas Ramonas). The players are lured by the possibility to become the leaders of a basketball team and “experience all the subtleties of the basketball team management”: to form the team, organize and play matches, control the personnel, finances and the arena. Virtual matches are played online in real time and with live opponents – internet users. Players can virtually sell souvenirs and tickets. The players are allowed to pretend the owners of the team – by the players, participate in tournaments, fight against the owners of other teams. Now BasketBoss has more than 46 thousand registered players. The game was programmed by the specialists of the company “Prewise” (



rowser-based internet game Sferos ( created by the Lithuanian company “Akira Mobile” was introduced to Lithuanian players in June, 2010. The biggest social network of the country was chosen as the project partner. Sferos can boast having achieved the biggest success (commercial as well) of all the games created by Lithuanians offered in this portal. During the first months the game had about 35 thousand of registered players. Some months later Latvian version of the game attracted more than 70 thousand players. Game Sferos can be played by thousands of players at the same time. The game is of a military strategy type – players can found their cities, gather military alliances, buy and sell produced resources, fight among themselves and communicate on the chat room of the game. Every player can manage unlimited number of cities – a new residency can be created conquering the monsters hiding in the deserted oases or simply invading. The powers of the players grow while gathering special objects – spheres. The game can be praised for its developed plot and thorough design of the view. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



esign is one of the most tangible sectors where artistic value and economical benefits merge together into a common whole. In today’s world, consumer goods are worthless in the market without good design. Attractive design generates added value that the driving force of economical progress depends on. But the quality of the design does not only impact the economical benefits, but it greatly influences our daily life and forms the environment in which we live. Therefore the concept “design” should not be something understood too narrowly. Design is meant to address more issues than just beauty: it includes convenience, practicality, durability, and innovativeness among many other things. Judging from the works of Eglė Ugintaitė and Gabrielė Meldaikytė, recent graduates of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, designers also solve problems that are connected to medicine, or problems tied to the exclusion of people with disabilities. Design is a branch of art, thus the conceptual gunpowder of an idea that is typically associated with artistic practices also belongs to the problematic field of design. This is perfectly illustrated in the works of such designers as Mantas Lesauskas or fashion designers for the Fashion Infection fashion show. It would perhaps be rather hard to talk of a Lithuanian design school as such. However acclaimed furniture designers Nauris Kalinauskas and Juozas Brundza allow one to speak with confidence about the maturity and quality of


Lithuanian design, and also at the same time the traditions that are forming and their continuity. The staff of Studija LT, which is comprised of professionals of different art fields, and their brand name “LT Identity” amazes with its productivity and infectious good mood. Alongside Studija LT, another duet called PetPunk is worthy of mention, a group of people who have their own unique and easily-recognizable style. Combining graphic design with animation, PetPunk creates both purely artistic works but also unexpected and original advertisements, music videos and visualizations. Lithuanian designers have demonstrated their potential in the international market before. Thousands of mobile communication users all over the world have a Nokia C7 phone, which is a work of designer Tomas Ivaškevičius, who currently resides in Finland. Žydrūnė Grigonytė, who is living and working in Israel, has invented a nonwoven decorative fabric called Zidra, which was recognized in the fashion world as one of the most interesting trends in the industry in 2011. It can be said that the quality of design and the wider perception of it directly depend on the ability of society to assess and understand it. Design is a culture that needs traditions in order to mature, which are formed through higher education, educational programs, and the introduction of design innovations and achievements to the broader public. Many organizations in Lithuania are working toward this. Examples of

these are the Design Innovation Center (Dizaino inovacijų centras) under the guidance of the Vilnius Academy of Arts; the Lithuania Design Forum (Lietuvos dizaino forumas), which organizes Design Week (Dizaino savaitė) among many other activities. The Hotel of Things (Daiktų viešbutis) should also be mentioned as a welcomed initiative with a commercial bent that is involved in various educational activities, including the organizing of design events, fairs, markets, and presentations of Lithuanian designers for the broader public. The year of 2011 was announced as the Year of Design in Lithuania. This kind of attention indicates the priorities of the state in this sphere. This year Vilnius was given the opportunity to organize the Spring: ICOGRADA Design Week in Vilnius 2011, which is an international graphic design event. Also the National Art Gallery held an international conference, exhibition and creative workshop called “Modernization. Art, Design and Architecture of the Baltic States in the 70s and 80s of the XXth Century”. For the first time ever, an award called the Young Designer’s Prize was given out in 2011. In addition Design Week, which was held for the fifth time, was organized together with the Innovation Festival “IF...”, initiated by the European Commission. These are just a few of the events that took place during the Year of Design. Let us hope, that these efforts and initiatives will bear fruit and Lithuanian design will become even more attractive both in the domestic Lithuanian market and abroad.


Acclaimed Lithuanian Designers

uozas Brundza is the founder of LTD studio and a lecturer at the Department of Design at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. He has won numerous competitions in Lithuania and abroad, and has represented Lithuania at such events as international ICFF exhibitions in New York, Design Act in Moscow, and Milan Design Week. The delicately elegant coat stand “Sketch” is one of his newest works, which was awarded a diploma at Furniture 2011. This sculpturesque plywood object, almost 2 meters in height, is not only functional, durable and capable of holding the considerable weight of clothes, but it is also an aesthetical detail, which can become the accent of a private or public space due to its minimalistic, but expressive form. The light “Tasty” could be called the successful result of the search for design in national identity. The lamps are made from a torchère rod and baumkuchen, which is a very popular Lithuanian bakery item that you can find during national celebrations and holidays in Lithuania. These avantgarde objects exploit the baumkuchen’s unique form and they can be eaten during parties, festivals, and other events. The light “Tasty” was specially designed for Design Week Milan, where it became a favorite of visitors.

The Coat Stand “Sketch” 2011

The Light “Tasty” 2009

The hanger “Auga” is one of the most celebrated works of designer Juozas Brunzda, which has been awarded the Best Industrial Design 2008 Prize at the Baltic Furniture Exhibition in Riga, and 1st place at Neformate 2008. It was shown at Design Week Milan, and it will represent Lithuania at the ICFF exhibition in NewYork. This hanger is a conceptual embodiment of the designer’s childhood memories in a design object. The idea is based on the old tradition where parents mark their children’s height on the doorframe. At first these marks are not very high on the doorframe, however they become higher as the children grow. Every family member can have his/her own “branch” in this hanger in the form of a hook that changes its position in the family tree according to the change in the height of the children. These flexible hooks can be set up so that even the smallest members of the family can conveniently hang their clothes. “Branches” can also be personalized by putting names on them and documenting the height of one’s children.

The hanger “Auga” 2008 National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


Acclaimed Lithuanian Designers


auris Kalinauskas graduated with a degree in architecture, and later worked in advertising. This experience helped him become who he is today. Now he is one of Lithuania’s best furniture designers. The use of geometrical, simple forms and simple materials is characteristic of his work. According to him, “when you disassociate yourself from understanding of everyday surrounding and take another look at an object, there comes a magical feeling for creation and a desire to embody your ideas”. In 2000 Nauris Kalinauskas established a design studio called Contraforma, which gathered a group of young, talented and well-known Lithuanian designers and architects. A design company that is now known worldwide has given them a sturdy foundation for developing commercial links all over the world and present their works on the international market. Nauris Kalinauskas, together with Contraforma team have presented their works at many international exhibitions and won acclaim at Lithuanian and international furniture competitions. Perhaps the most important achievement is the Red Dot Design Award 2007 for the the seating system “LOGO”. The collapsible chair “Mutabor” is eye-catching because of its simplicity and practicality. The box, which is decorated with light, playful patterns, can serve as a container and as a functional piece of furniture, which can be easily put under the bed or into a closet when not in use. The chair is made from single piece of cardboard, and is capable of supporting 100 kg.

Seating system “LOGO”

The collapsible chair “Mutabor”. 2002 50

Acclaimed Lithuanian Designers


autvydas Kaltenis is a designer of a wide specialization working in the fields of graphic communication, architectural and industrial design. After graduating from the Department of Design at Vilnius Academy of Art in 1990, he has created more than just one important project of design not only in Lithuania but also in Russia (Nizhniy Novgorod), and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai). Whatever the subject of design is – an exclusive interior, a trade mark or an industrial product – Kaltenis’ projects stand out as being multi-dimensional, based on valid ideas with interacting elements and details. You will be surprised by the harmony of modern forms, materials and traditional techniques present in his works. Application of scientific innovations and inventions in design is Kaltenis’ passion. The designer is positive that design is not only a visually understandable form of the product or the impression reflecting its function, but it also has a spiritual value; it develops people’s conscience, behaviour, social ties and needs.

Bathroom furniture “CORA”

Low table “T-REX1” National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



Lithuanians in the World

The Nokia C7 mobile phone. 2010

ftentimes talented designers become known in their own country only after winning acclaim abroad. Designer Tomas Ivaškevičius, who currently lives and works in Finland, and Žydrūnė Grigonytė, who established her company in Israel, are designers that have become wellknown beyond Lithuania’s borders. Tomas Ivaškevičius is the chief designer of the Nokia C7 mobile phone. He is originally from the town of Palanga, however he studied at a Finnish art school, where he successfully pursued his professional career. According to him, the essential things for a mobile phone are the right size, right weight and the kind of phone that is comfortable to hold. A harmony of convenience, technology and aesthetics is a key to successful design. The new Nokia C7 stands out with its extra thin steel and glass body as well as a big screen, which is very useful for internet users. Tomas Ivaškevičius spent a year and a half in Helsinki creating this phone model, and so far this acknowledged designer is the only Lithuanian working for Nokia. Žydrūnė Grigonytė is the founder of Zidra, an experimental material design company and laboratory. She became famous worldwide after inventing the nonwoven decorative fabric “Zidra”. This fabric, which now has an international patent, was created more than ten years ago. It is very light, durable and requires almost no care. It can be used as an interior detail or in the making of home textiles, or in clothing or accessory design. The fabric has won praise at many international exhibitions, and shown in many fashion and design publications. Collezioni magazine recognized the fabric as one of the most interesting trends of the design industry in 2011.

Fabric “Zidra” 52



tudio LT is a creative union for joint creative ventures that includes artists from various fields, including designers, costume designers, graphics designers, photographers, and ceramic artists. One of the main goals the group has set for itself is to create an opportunity for talented and hard-working people to work, search, create together, and foster the exchanging and sharing of experience and ideas. The studio undertakes a number of activities, from making individual clothing items all the way to ready-to-wear collections, image formation, and accessories. LT Identity is one of the best known brands of Studio LT, which is owned by founders Jolanta Rimkutė and Ieva Ševiakovaitė. The design objects that bear this brand are the results of a search for Lithuanian identity that correspond to the needs and goals of a modern person while giving respect to the past and meeting the future with hope. Swedbank + LT identity 2011 “ZOOM” is a joint project of LT Identity and Swedbank, which wants to encourage the creativity of youth and develop their skills of financial management and investments. The designers created “ZOOM” accessories and clothing especially for this Swedbank program. Participants in this program could receive these accessories and clothing in exchange for the “ZOOM” points they collected through the program. Kalnapilis + LT identity 2011 Lithuania is a basketball country. For the 2011 World Basketball Championship, the Lithuanian brewery Kalnapilis ordered six different kinds of basketball t-shirts from LT Identity, which were later given as prizes to those who purchased Kalnapilis beer. According to the designers, these t-shirts are a completely Lithuanian product, because they were made with Lithuanian material right in Lithuania.

Swedbank + LT identity. 2011 “ZOOM”

Kalnapilis + LT identity. 2011 Basketball t-shirts National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania




etPunk is a joint venture that was established in 2005 which brought together Gediminas Šiaulys and Andrius Kirv*e*la, two young and perspective design, animation and motion graphic designers. The duo works both with artistic projects and in advertising. Working with conventional objects, they experiment, play and rediscover. The U.K. based Computer Arts magazine included PetPunk in its Top 10 of best new creators. They have been invited to international film and advertising festivals and received numerous awards, including the New York Art Directors Club’s Young Guns 2009 Award, which is given to deserving creators in photography, illustrations, advertisements, design, fashion, cinema, interdisciplinary or other visual field who are under 30 years of age. The impressive motion graphics and animation in the music video “Who’s Shot the Silence” (Mario Basanov & Vidis feat. Jazzu). The black and white, seemingly blurry view weaves together the turns of a vinyl record, mechanical objects and body parts into a musical dance. The duo is known for their extravagant and colorful graphic design reproaches in the advertisement videos for the Vilnius – European Capital of Culture program, and in this work they have charmed everybody with their elegance and subtlety, confirming their versatility. This project was a special project commissioned by mobile phone company Omnitel, which financed the operations that returned hearing to 20 children that had hearing disabilities. The music video “Who’s Shot the Silence” is a provocative story which is aimed at people who hear, but do not listen.

The advertisement videos. 2009 54

Conceptual Design


ashion Infection is a festival for both young talents that have original ideas and ambitious goals, as well as for acknowledged professionals. It has been organized since 1999. Fashion Infection does not chase fashion, and does not seek to blindly repeat the traditional fashion week format, but experiments, bravely looks for original decisions, moves forward and is not afraid of growth and change.


njection is a contest that has been held for young, talented designers within the framework of the festival since 2008. The winner of Injection has a right to make a debut on the grand stage of Fashion Infection. Fashion Infection has been organized for more than a decade, raising a generation of new, original and perspective designers. Having once been presented at the festival as bright new talents, now they appear on the podium as authorities in the field.

The festival is open to everyone, welcoming both professional designers and those just starting out from Lithuania and abroad. Organizers say that one of the main advantages of the festival is the chance for the public to take part in the event (which is rather impossible at festivals abroad). Thus this festival is more of a movement, an art event that shakes up the fashion elite and society.

Agnė Kuzmickaitė has participated a total of 5 times at Fashion Infection. She is well-known both in Lithuania and abroad. She was recognized as the best young European designer at the Createurope: the Fashion Academy Award in Berlin in 2008. Her works are characterized by a clarity of construction and conceptual idea. Giedrius Paulauskas is an active designer in Lithuanian fashion and well-known for making clothes that have conceptual meaning and innovative constructions. As the author says, “when you create clothes, you create a person that will wear them”. The author made his debut with his first jeans collection for men under the brand GP at Fashion Infection in 2006. Since then he has started an independent line of clothing and accessories under this brand.

Fashion Infection Agnė Kuzmickaitė’s fashion. 2011

Fashion Infection Giedrius Paulauskas’ fashion. 2011

Photo by Visvaldas Morkevičius

Photo by Visvaldas Morkevičius National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



Conceptual Design

antas Lesauskas is a young conceptual design artist who not only creates functional objects, but who also forms a unique view toward the design itself. The author tries to grasp the essence of global problems with the objects he creates, raising philosophical questions that reflect the experience of memory. He does not bow down to the trends of the masses. His work is rational and logical, generating a unique, purified aesthetic. While presenting the Dutch project Millegomme in Lithuania, he created outdoor furniture that suits the urban environment of Vilnius. This furniture is not only about the ergonomic reusing of old tires, but there is a philosophy behind it, which tries to solve the problems of socialization as well as local problems, including the revival of “dead” public spaces in the city and the creative involvement of the community. Another of his projects that could be called social is a creative workshop in Durban, South Africa, which had a goal of inventively using local waste. The author created a series of toys for children from old rubbish containers called “Bin Toy” during the workshop.

Outdoor furniture 2007

“Bin Toy” 2008 56


Design Spread Centres

esign and Innovation Centre (DIC) is a branch of the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Its primary goals are the training of design and art experts that meet the demands of the market, their integration to the labor market, the promotion of creative industries, and the fostering of connections with international institutions. The centre aims to increase the competitiveness of Lithuania with design, becoming a branch of art and industry that can represent Lithuania at home and abroad. DIC has a design laboratory and design business incubator where students can improve their skills, become familiar with materials and also technologies. They provide the conditions for them to forge links with businesses and bring their ideas to life. The centre disseminates information on design, as well as collects and provides news on students of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, who have had successful debuts at worldwide exhibitions and have formed contacts with companies abroad. Eglė Ugintaitė is an art student who created a special walking-stick called “The Aid”. The walking-stick’s sensors measure the vital parameters of the user and then communicate this information to a help centre using transmitters. This can help elderly and disabled people feel safe when leaving home, thus improving their everyday life. This design won the Fujitsu Design Award 2011 – Life with future computing Grand Prix award.

Eglė Ugintaitė “The Aid”

Gabrielė Meldaikytė is a young designer who created “Single hand cook”. This kitchenware is designed for use with one hand. This graduation dissertation won 1st place at the Salone Sattelite World Wide Moscow 2009 competition, and 3rd place at the Salone Sattelite Milano 2010 and Cumulus 20th Anniversary Student Design Exhibition Cumulus 2010 Shanghai Conference. Gabrielė Meldaikytė “Single Hand Cook” 2009 National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



Design Spread Centres

ithuania Design Forum is an association that deals with the promotion of design, and its economical and social integrity as well as its wider use in manufacturing and communication. It was established in 2006 by Vytautas Gurevičius, Nauris Kalinauskas and Marius Dirgėla, who are well-known professionals in the field. They collect and provide information regarding changes in the design market, encourage cooperation between designers and manufacturers, and also work on making design in Lithuania and around the world better known. With the help of this forum, Lithuanian design was presented at exhibitions in London, Milan and Riga. A total of seven design exhibitions have been organized in various European countries. Design Week is probably the best known design event in Lithuania, dedicated both to experts in the field and the general public. During this week, many spaces in the capital are used to show achievements and trends of design worldwide that review classical, avant-garde, and experimental designs. The event is not limited to being an exhibition – this week also plays host to a number of performances, open door days in designer workshops, as well as concerts, shows, and competitions. Another part of the work of Design Forum is the search and encouragement of young talents, as well as the organization and support of educational programs. This forum supports students looking for studying opportunities, and also organizes design competitions and awards.

Paulius Vitkauskas “Ku-dir-ka” 2006 58

Furniture competition Neformate has already presented many young designers to the general public and helped them to forge ties with businesses. They have also provided opportunities to them to display their work at exhibitions and in the press. As Nauris Kalinauskas, one of the organizers of these competitions, says that “one of the goals of the competition is to attract the attention of furniture manufacturers to the significance of design and to the fact that Lithuanian designers have huge creative potential and are characterized by good quality”.


Design Spread Centres

otel of Things (Daiktų viešbutis) is not only a shop, but also a place to socialize. It hosts various events and presentations that foster the culture of design and show the work of young designers. Hotel of Things promotes Lithuanian design and organizes market, fairs, and fashion nights. It is clear that it is not only commercial design that is important for this shop, but also its integration into society, plus the growth of a design market that is educated and has a more developed taste. It is a place where the work of young and perspective Lithuanian designers are presented together with world known brands. Aistė Nesterovaitė is a young Lithuanian designer and one of the managers of Hotel of Things. Her works in Hotel of Things include pencil boxes and bags made from seat belts and unisex aprons that expound on gender issues that are decorated with collars of shirts for men. She does not limit herself to design – she also organizes various design and promotional events as well as exhibitions. Design market is the joint project of Aistė Nesterovaitė and Dalia Mauricaitė. Customers can buy things directly from designers in this market, thereby also presenting the designers to the public. As the creators of the project say, people buy not only things, but also emotions and their history, thereby getting to know the author better.

Aistė Nesterovaitė “Unisex Aprons ”

A special exposition dedicated to Nike sports shoes that was organized by the Hotel of Things team received a lot of attention. During the Third Design Weekend, the team assembled a team of famous Lithuanian designers to express their interpretation of a sport shoe that is tied to Lithuania and basketball.

Design market Nike Sports Shoes 2011 National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



ithuanian literature has flourished since the country regained independence. Over the last 20 years, it has achieved a variety previously unknown, and has transformed both in quantity and form. It has been a period of breakthroughs and dynamic change that has been called many things, including revival literature, post-Soviet, post-colonial, postcensorship freedom, the end of tradition, a new cycle of literature, and the fall of canons among others. The two ten-year periods it includes differ considerably. The first decade (1989-1999) should be thought of as a breakthrough that had been maturing for a long time. It was a decade of the elimination of what could be called a “filling in of spaces” as well as the introduction of innovations. The following decade (2000-2010) stands out for its exceptional variety of literature, growth of popular literature and emergence of new genres. In Soviet times, people did not know what the essay genre was – now it is a new and free way of expressing oneself, which generally brings together and condenses down the signs of the time. This flexible genre that has become popular in weekly cultural publications has pushed out the typically well-liked Lithuanian short story. The Lithuanians have always been considered a nation of poets, and


there are still a lot of books published that preserve the high status of poetry. In today’s poetry collections we find what prose is lacking, which is a more professional level of culture, a concentration of the word. There is an interesting trend whereby poets are turning en-masse to prose narration, to the essay, while poetry itself becomes more like prose. There is a search for new mediating forms, a generation of what could be called “colloquial”, i.e. a generation of nonpoetic poetry. The novel infused with a journalistic style has been the most popular type of novel in Lithuania over the last decade. It is a new genre that emerged due to the creation of a consumer and media society. Autobiographical aspects have grown in strength in literature, the expression of one’s ego, while the identities of the author and the main character have become open to change. At the same time, the intertextuality of literature has increased and possesses more bodily priorities and erotic elements. There is a clear desacralization of many basic values, which is quite painful for older generations. Women writers have been thriving, and feminist views of life in literature have grown in strength. The last few years have seen a wave of emigration literature, which is a literature being written by

new emigrants. Also, the traditional countering of the countryside and the city has disappeared in prose, which was highlighted during the Soviet era. We have now essentially bid farewell to this rural culture, because a new generation has grown up with completely different way of life and an urban mentality. Thus there are new environments for literature and new writers that do not tie themselves down to tradition either through emotions or through values. Literature is being influenced by new mechanisms, especially public relations, IT, and media networks that are giving birth to a new phenomenon – relatively qualitative and tasteful popular literature that serves commercial interests. This literature, which has had an impact on readers, and has figured out how to successfully create and sell cultural images, also has ambitions to become the primary mover in literature. This shows that there certainly are signs of life in Lithuanian literature. If we have a look at Lithuanian publications, we would come across scores of new names just in poetry alone. More than 1,000 books of fiction are published every year in Lithuania. Over half of them are books written in Lithuanian– such an enormous and impressive amount of titles for such a small country.


here are two international poetry festivals in Lithuania, Poetry Spring (since 1965) and Druskininkai Poetic Fall (since 1990), which are the focus of much cultural energy. Poetry Spring lasts for 2 weeks and includes more than 100 events. It is also exceptionally democratic, as poets travel to different parts of the country, including small towns and schools, and give informal readings. A number of prizes are awarded, and the winner is adorned with a garland of oak leaves. Druskininkai Poetic Fall lasts 2 to 3 days, with about 120 writers from Lithuania and abroad taking part. The main award is the Jotvingiai Prize, which is awarded by a committee, the members of which are winners of the previous poetic falls. The primary assets of both festivals is the free communication between writers, open discussions, and poetry readings that combine academic and more bohemian views, as well as various competitions. There are also Poetry Spring and Druskininkai Poetic Fall almanacs that are published every year. Poet Rimvydas Stankevičius (1973), who was selected as the poet laureate of the 45th Poetry Spring for his collection entitled “Breaking the Seal”, has said that “poetry has goals we are not even aware of…It is something between a prayer and a shamanic dance”. Stankevičius, who is a poet and essayist, made his debut in 1996 and has published seven books. Ordinary image that appear even boring sound surprising in his works, acquiring new colors, which makes Stankevičius an innovative successor that searches for tradition. Traditionalism in this case is an easily gliding and orderly rhyme and rhythm in many of his poems; the innovativeness is the wide, endless horizons of meanings of words, a unique poetical vision and language. There is a wandering, an “in-betweenness” that is encoded in the title: the “seal” is something that is present and unchanging, something that is traditional and cannot be questioned, while “breaking” is destruction, revolt, a constant analysis and search.

Poetry Spring in Šilainė (Veisiejų distr.) 2009 05 19 Photo by Vladas Braziūnas

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he Book of the Year Competition has been organized by the Association of Reading and Cultural Literacy annually since 2005. The idea behind this event is to present the best books of Lithuanian prose from the last year by selecting five books from each of the three categories – children’s literature, young adult literature and literature. Then readers get the chance to choose the final three Books of the Year, with the authors receiving an award during the Vilnius Book Fair. Its goal is to encourage Lithuanian readers to take an interest in contemporary Lithuanian literature and raise the prestige of reading. The novel “Sade Syndrome” (2010) by Jolita Skablauskaitė (1950) is the most exotic of the top-five works. She has been dubbed a literary sorceress, because her novels are very unusual, while the characters do a balancing act between holiness and madness. An unlimited fantasy, eroticness and dark sides of nature are the cornerstones of her six novels. Paranormal activity, a hallucinating consciousness, orgies, incest and necrophilia are part of the everyday life of her novels, with a lot of chthonic imagination and Gothic aesthetic. Her characters become half-man, half-beast in their love nest, with love stories ending tragically, instincts triumphing, and the tie between eros and thanatos fully exploited. Skablauskaitė illustrates her own books, which are teeming with hard-to-identify anthropomorphic creatures. The writer likes Goth fashion and dresses in black. She has said that “the reality is so complicated and depressing, that you need to rise above it using your imagination”. Her stories take place in mysterious gardens, mansions, and slums in the Old Town. Her characters work in the circus, slaughter-houses, and crematoriums; they skin dogs or simply live the life of vagabonds. One can enter invisible cities under the roots of trees; while luxurious mansions loom in the outskirts of a village, possessing antique furniture, expensive wines, taffeta dresses, and velvet curtains. The mansion also contains magical places and locked rooms. There is an evident contrast between unspeakable luxury and utter poverty. Black goats, cursed gold, skulls, amulets, totem poles, the taboos of primitive cultures and belief in curses have strong influence. The moonlight, flickering of candles, frankincense, and curved mirrors help one to delve into mythical states, while the protagonist loses his or her perception of reality, with fear constantly in pursuit.

Jolita Skablauskaitė. Illustrations


With its extreme sadistic and masochistic sexual acts, Skablauskaitė’s last novels remind one of Franz Kafka, Edgar Alan Po novels and Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist” as well as the issues that Tim Burton deals with in his movies.


olita Varanavičienė, who is the president of Lithuanian Publishers’ Association, said that “something positive that the Soviet period gave us was a love for books”. The market for books is viable, with the Vilnius Book Fair the biggest and also the main book fair in the Baltic, as well as one of the most important cultural events in Lithuania. It is organized by the Litexpo exhibition and conference center, Lithuanian Publishers’ Association, the International Cultural Programme Centre, with the cultural program of events supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. The fair is visited by about 60,000 visitors and over 100 participants from abroad. Since 1999 the Book Fair has been offering an extensive cultural program with more than 200 events, including meetings with the best authors from Lithuania and abroad, as well as book signings with new authors and the newest information on publishing. In 2011 the slogan of the Book Fair was “For the Right to Read!”, which meant that publishers wanted that ordinary people could afford to buy a book and not have to choose between dinner or a book (at present there is a 9% VAT tax on books). An eagerly awaited guest of the 2011 Book Fair was Kristina Sabaliauskaitė (1974), who is a journalist and London correspondent for Lithuania’s largest daily and a writer who also has a Ph.D. in art research. Her debut novel “Silva Rerum” (2008) was reprinted five times, and was the number one novel for more than six months. It was a sensation after being translated in Latvia, while there were not enough copies of “Silva Rerum II” to satisfy demand at the Book Fair. “Silva Rerum” was awarded the Jurga Ivanauskaitė Award, while readers also selected it as Book of the Year in 2009.

Kristina Sabaliauskaitė Photo by Paulius Gasiūnas

These books are historical novels about the life of noblemen and townspeople in the 17th and 18th centuries, a reconstruction of the Baroque period, a look back at history with a contemporary sense. The novel contains an informative and unique description of the fate of a noble family, as well as the life of Vilnius University and monks. The writer was born in Vilnius, with many generations of her family having lived there. Her work pays much attention to the city and its multicultural history. A clearly visible indication characterizing the period is death and the plague, which acts as a counterbalance to the luxury that was enjoyed at that time. Love, the traditional escort of death, also blossoms in the novel. The aim that beckons to the author is to talk about serious things with a light and elegant form of language, thus a multi-layered text hides underneath a very gripping story. The author says she wanted to make “Silva Rerum” a Rubik’s Cube so that every reader could turn it however they want according to knowledge and experience – and she succeeded. You can find her website at The Vilnius Tourism Information Centre organizes excursions according to the route described in her novel “Silva Rerum”. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


ithuania has successfully represented itself at international book fairs (with its participation organized by the Lithuanian Publishers’ Association and Books from Lithuania, and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania) since the country regained its independence. Lithuania took part at the Göteborg Book Fair in Sweden for the first time in 2003, which is the biggest literary event in Scandinavia. In 2005 Lithuania was Guest of Honor at the fair (with seven books by Lithuanian authors published in Swedish for the event). The Swedish public was introduced to Lithuania, its life and rich past (especially the experiences of the Soviet occupation), as well as Lithuanian literature, publishing, and book art.

Writer Sigitas Parulskis (born in 1965) said at Göteborg that “the word “fair” itself says that it is a market, where everybody is trying to sell oneself or at least exhibit oneself as merchandise. It is not really that important whether someone will buy it or not. And we don’t need to have illusions, we are a small nation and will not conquer Scandinavia or any other country, however it is important that a mutual understanding is developing”.

Sigitas Parulskis Photo by Vladas Braziūnas


A poet, playwright, and essayist, Parulskis is a writer often called the leader in today’s literature. His novel “Three Seconds of Heaven” (2002) tells the experience of a young paratrooper in a Soviet regiment stationed in Eastern Germany. This novel is the most translated Lithuanian novel, having been translated into seven languages. His newest novel “Murmuring Wall” (2008) is the long story of one family that continues up to the present. Parulskis chose a strategy that is typical of epic storytelling, turning away from the ego and toward a more historical dimension. The one hundred years of history (the action begins in 1908) brings the reader closer to the common things such as family, kin, and the nation, therefore the novel achieves a community feeling: the relatively stylized fates of different people are a summary of the historical breaking points of the nation. Just like Lithuania’s history in the 20th century, the life of this family is interlinked with the two World Wars, Fascism, the genocide of the Jews, Communist rule and Lithuanian partisans. Here you will find love, and God, and art, and a mid-life crisis, and the modeling of a mentality and identity (such as relations with the Poles, Russians and Jews). All these topics are woven together. The murmuring wall is a wall that separates us, but is also quite possibly the only thing that we can lean on. This is the novel at its best, with a good structure, novel-like way of thinking, characters that differ from one another, along with a mature style.


ithuania can certainly be proud of its children’s books and illustrations. Today children’s books are experiencing a renaissance. Lithuania was the guest of honor at the 2011 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and had an opportunity to present Lithuanian children’s literature publishing as well as a cultural program. Lithuania was represented by more than 50 illustrators, with the International Cultural Programme Centre and Lithuanian Publishers’ Association presenting 9 publishing companies and displaying more than 150 book titles for children. Animation films and exhibitions such as “Lithuanian Culture in Photography”, “Illustrarium: Illustrations of Young Lithuanian Artists”, and “Illustrarium: Illustrations of Children’s Books in Soviet Lithuania” were shown in various parts of the city. Well-known illustrator Kęstutis Kasparavičius (1954) has illustrated more than 60 books by various authors. He has also written ten books and illustrated them using pencil and watercolors. There were a total of 11 exhibitions of his illustrations at the Bologna Book Fair. The “You Can Create a Book” creative laboratory was also organized at the 2011 Bologna Book Fair. This event has its origins in the 2001 Vilnius Book Fair, when artist Sigutė Chlebinskaitė created a unique space for children’s thoughts and activities. Its mission was to encourage the educational expression of children, by learning skills like making paper, binding books, and illustration. They created books in this workshop: the longest leporello book was created (which is a book with an accordion-like shape) and included in the Lithuanian Book of Records. There were also books made from wooden blocks as well as clay tablets that featured Sumerian-like cuneiform shapes.

Aurelija Čeredaitė “La strega pigrona e altre fiabe” ilustrato da Kęstutis Kasparavičius Livorno: Books & Company. 2007

Vytautas V. Landsbergis (1962) is a film director and productive children’s author who has also released a number of CDs where he not only tells children’s stories, but also sings. He often retells stories and classic plots and puts his own twist on them by thinking up totally new characters for them. Landsbergis’ book “Love of the Horse Dominykas” was voted best children’s book for 2004. The writer does not limit himself only to writing books, but also records them together with friends who are actors, writes plays and travels around Lithuania to meet his young readers.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he “Live Poetry” series was the idea of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore as a way to provide collections of poems that have been chosen by professional critics in both a print and audio CD format, with living authors reading their own work and classic poems read by professional actors (for example works by Antanas Baranauskas, a 19th century linguist; the works of contemporary poet Vladas Braziūnas, who also is from the same area as Baranauskas, were read by friends and colleagues; the works of poet Vladas Šimkus, who was against the regime and thus disregarded by the Soviet government, are read by famous Lithuanian actor Rolandas Kazlas; one gets to hear the voice of exile poet Jonas Aistis, who reads his own work, with the CD including excerpts of recordings done by him in 1967). The fifth and most recent book of the series is a selection of poems by renowned poet, translator, and Yale University professor Tomas Venclova (1937) entitled “All the Poems”. This book contains poems that were written between 1956 and 2010. Almost every poem is accompanied by comments from the author. The author explains in the foreword that “there is an old stereotype that prevails when talking about my poetry – it’s called “intellectual poetry”. Such a definition is senseless to me. Perhaps it would be better to attribute them to poiesis docta – “taught poetry” /…/ I have always tried to avoid clichés of thought and emotion, empty “philosophizing”, exaggerated sensitiveness, spontaneous eruptions, and shocking vulgarity, which recently in Lithuania - and not only there - has been becoming more popular”. Venclova’s book, which includes almost 200 poems, comes together with a CD “(Not) All the Poems” which features recordings of him reading 33 of his poems. During his life the poet has written only about 200 poems, as he writes only a few each year.

Tomas Venclova Photo by Vladas Braziūnas


The intersection of three cultures and countries (Lithuania, Poland and Russia) is discussed in this collection. In Poland he has received “The Borderlander” award. The pulsing of a modern world can be easily sensed in his poetry: the warring Balkans, a young person “created”, a future terrorist, life in an interrogation chamber, the entirely of the “dreck of history”. The poet’s glance is concerned and critical. His poetry is non-traditional, and not based on a romantic or impressionistic understanding of poetry, but on a linguistic understanding.


ecently Lithuanian writers have begun using interpretations of geographical and metaphysical peripheries, with different genres and ideas interacting in their works. Rolandas Rastauskas (1954) is most likely the first Lithuanian writer that has demonstrated the broader possibilities that multimedia and the essay provide. RoRa has always been someone from “another world”, surprising everyone with his attention-getting image and his poise as he searched for untraditional ways of expressing himself both on stage and in his books. When he was asked once what writing meant to him, he replied that it is an adventure happening on the page, whereas reading is an interpretation every single time. Rastauskas is famous for his interdisciplinary performances and original poetry readings in public spaces. He published a collection of poetry entitled “Throw” (2006) together with a CD that features recordings of him reading his poems accompanied by percussionist Arkady Gotesman. RoRa is always energetically charged with culture, elegant and intertextual, having been dubbed a “word fencer”. In 2003 he took part in the “21 days in Berlin” cultural exchange program. At the beginning, photographer Remigijus Treigys spent three weeks in Berlin documenting the metropolis with his photos. A year later Rastauskas looked for these “footprints” in Berlin where he had to describe places that Treigys had seen. These trips were documented in a unique photo essay book, which intrigues on with its synthesis of two art forms (photography and literature). The two authors of “Berlinalias” are tramps that are “drifting” through the new Berlin. Being outsiders, they see more than those living there. They can be in different times at the same time, see various historical stages of the city, or visualize it timeless as a prop that is left on the stage after a magnificent performance. It is a search for identity of oneself and Berlin as a symbol of the city. It is yet another version of the city that experienced various upheavals, and yet another of its faces.

Rolandas Rastauskas Photo by Raimonda Kolupailaitė

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



ithuanian-French semiotician Algirdas Julius Greimas once said that “it seems that only Zingeris feels and understands the importance of such a problem: how to be a Jew and person, or, in his case, a Jew and a Lithuanian, all while denying such an incompatibility”. Zingeris himself calls this feeling a moral debt because of the cruel injustice that people came up against, who were absolutely dehumanized and found themselves in the meat grinder of history. These people who breathed art were left outside of the pages of encyclopedias, becoming the dust of history, thus the goal of his novels is to revive them, publish the painful and shameful episodes of Lithuanian history and to banish this feeling by giving sense to it on paper. Structurally the novels are mostly family sagas about journeys and traditions, with the characters having Jewish roots and the stories scattered across Europe in places like Ukraine, Russia, Germany and Lithuania, but who having preserved their inner dependency on Jewishness as an inextinguishable and integrating substance of being. Markas Zingeris (1947) has been managing the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum for 5 years (in his novel “Conversation Between Autumn and Spring” he refers to it as “the nation’s house of letters and destinies”), so his works often employ rare documentary material, with his prototypes able to be found in historical archives, the memories of witnesses of the Holocaust and their diaries. He hits upon the living roots of the past with the painful plough of memory: the genocide of the Jewish nation, the horrors of the ghetto, broken destinies, the interwar period, the war years in Kaunas, and today’s politics. The pulse of the time is captured in his novels. Zingeris could be called a writer that has a cyclical structure to his stories, because all four of his works focus on similar matters of identity, family ties, and historical traumas. In terms of building a plot, Zingeris excels where many Lithuanian authors fail due to their lack of professionalism or the slow-paced narration of stories that appear more unstructured which Lithuanians tend to favor.

Markas Zingeris Photo by Vladas Braziūnas



ne of the biggest changes of the last decade is the nomadic mentality that has taken root. Now there are Lithuanians with a different sense of the world, a person that is mobile, “in transit”, who changes where he lives, with the growing feeling that he is a wanderer, homeless. Together with an ever increasing rate of emigration, the literature of emigration is also growing, however most of these works are still on the level of magazine articles and leisure reading. Dalia Staponkutė, who lives in Cyprus, reveals this experience as an emigrant best in her book “Rain Versus Sun” (2007). She overcomes the destiny of being a slave of love by creating an image of the modern intellectual wanderer. There is also a group of authors is made up young female authors who are citizens of the world from Eastern Europe and who have moved to the new Babylons of the world that are soaked with freedom and variety (Aleksandra Fomina’s “Yesterday We Were on the Island”, Gabija Grušaitė’s “Unfulfilment”). These novels are called epics of the lost generation of the 21st century, manifestos of the disappointed generation “N”. The intentions of the novels of Valdas Papievis (1962) are different – he does not wish to write a manifesto, but looks at his experience of life in France by exploring his deeper feelings for it. Papievis has been living in France since 1992. In his third novel “To Go” (2010) he contemplates things like loneliness, fragility of being, friendship, art, death and metaphysics. The Eastern spiritualness and musicality of this novel is created with the help of the music of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Way and the drawings of a Lithuanian artist living in Provence.

Valdas Papievis. “To Go” Artist Romas Orantas Drawing by Pranas Gailius

The author did not name the character that arrives to Provence; this is done on purpose - that person can be any of us. To feel like a wanderer, to simply go, “just be and that’s it”, is a luxury today. The person who wanders does not drive a car; he simply takes a few things in his backpack. Running and competing are some of the diseases of this century, and our character’s “impatience to arrive becomes a pleasure not to arrive”. Those that have examined what journeys and travelers are have divided the travelers into three types: the knight, the pilgrim, and the wanderer (or tramp). Papievis’ protagonist has something of all of these, but what is dominant is the existential wanderer that raises his longing to another dimension – it is not anymore a longing for a certain place, but a transcendental longing in the “home of the world”. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



aura Sintija Černiauskaitė (1976) is considered to be one of the most promising authors of the new generation. The focus of her attention is rather unexpected: in her books she creates a world of teenagers, children, and women, revealing a unique type of sensitivity. In 2009 she was awarded the European Union Prize for Literature for her first novel “Breathing into Marble” (2006). Černiauskaitė always likes diving in every nook and cranny of her characters’ psychology and coming upon fascinating discoveries. For her, the imagination is like an inner repository: the more spacious it is the bigger variety of characters she lets in. Černiauskaitė is concerned with relationships between the sexes – attraction and fighting, as well as the special aspects of the psychological life of a girl/woman/mother, and the parallels of eros and death. The pages are saturated with erotica, incest motifs, heterosexual partners, visions, mysticism, dreams and other fashionable aspects that guarantee her novels and other works a degree of popularity. The sensitiveness in her texts does not gravitate toward lust, but purity. The novel “Breathing into Marble” was written from the point of view of a child, who is like a litmus paper in the mad chemistry between man and woman (in one interview the author said that when she hears the crying of a child, she becomes that child). There is a family with a number of ghosts in the central part of the book – loss, death, betrayal, where the woman no longer has a spark in her eyes, and the man ignites nothing but a cigarette. It is a novel about the variation of human relations, about the forming of these relationships, how they crack at the seams, how they are consciously dissolved. Existence in her works is not limited to just a down-to-earth reality – in this case the marble not only reflects the cold other-sideness, but bears witness to the existence of the fragile miracle of life on this side, when a stone is warmed with a person’s breathe. According to one Lithuanian critic, Černiauskaitė reminds one of Francoise Sagan but still has something that is melancholic, but in a Lithuanian way. Her sentences are easy, elegant, with a barely detectable sense of slight sadness, polished to the bone, and pulsating with the author’s energy.

Laura Sintija Černiauskaitė Photo by Regimantas Tamošaitis



n Lithuania, musical activity is developed by three national theatres (the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Kaunas National Musical Theatre and Klaipėda National Musical Theatre) and one municipal theatre – Panevėžys Musical Theatre. They all have companies of soloists, ballet artists, choirs, orchestras, their activities are governed by administrative management. The Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra has been in business for seventy years now, and has been run by Juozas Domarkas, a graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire and a former student of the legendary conductor and educator Ilya Musin, for forty of them. In 1987, Domarkas established a Department of Conducting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where he successfully trains graduates in conducting symphonies and operas. Founded in 1989, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra has been performing rather well ever since, led by Gintaras Rinkevičius. During the recent years, the orchestra has

produced a unique spin-off – a project-based opera theatre the “Bohemians”. Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra led by Modestas Pitrėnas (a former student of Domarkas and also the chief conductor for the Latvian National Opera) was established only in 2004. This orchestra evolved on the basis of a successful chamber orchestra that existed in 1988. The Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, which was established by its conductor Saulius Sondeckis more than forty years ago can boast the longest and most solid history among Lithuanian chamber orchestras. Vilnius City Municipality S. Christopher’s Chamber Orchestra under Donatas Katkus, and Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra established in 1992, led by Mindaugas Bačkus are just as vibrant. Lithuania has four quartets: Vilnius State Quartet, Čiurlionis Quartet, Art Vio (in Vilnius) and Kaunas String Quartet. The most distinct field for musical activity that came into

existence over the twenty years of Independence is festivals, which can be interdisciplinary and represent various genres, be held in Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities and towns, and also at unique locations (like the monasteries of Pažaislis and Tytuvėnai, the seacoast, St. Christopher’s picnic festival held on estate sightseeing routes, and so on). The last two decades can be noted as being a period of exceptional liberation of jazz and pop music: jazz music festivals, various events that attract both renowned jazz musicians of the world and Lithuanian emigrants who pursue their career abroad. The ongoing jazz competition and Vilnius Jazz Young Power in particular is a huge success, efforts are made to look for ways to transform folk music and synthesise it with modern pop culture forms, and there is an array of festivals of electronic music. The Street Music Day, a project initiated by Andrius Mamontovas has already gained an international reputation. In order to promote Lithuanian music of various genres abroad, to develop the possibilities for the Lithuanian music industry, project Music Export was launched in July 2006.

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et up in 1985, the ensemble of Renaissance music and dance Banchetto Musicale (Italian for Musical Banquet) aroused people’s interest in early music and gave a start to its dissemination in Lithuania. Since 1989, annual international festivals of early music have been organized under the same name – Banchetto Musicale. In 2003, Darius Stabinskas became the art director of the festival, replacing its founder Jūratė Mikiškaitė-Vičienė. The most distinct events that must be mentioned are: concert performance of C. Monteverdi’s opera Orpheus (1993), a spectacular A Fifteenth-Century Feast (1994), performance of H. I. von Biber’s Requiem (1994), H. Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas (1995), a ballet to Telemann’s Water Music, a production titled Festa Veneziana in the Italian commedia dell’arte style (2000), a programme Viva España on Spanish Renaissance music, the Euroradio concerts from the “Discoveries” series From the Braunsberg Organ Tablature (2004) and Marco Scacchi: APupil and a Master (2007), a production of the madrigal comedy L’Amfiparnaso by Orazio Vecchi (2007). Under the influence of the festival, a whole array early music ensembles have been founded in Lithuania, with two C. Monteverdi operas, Orfeo (2007) and L’incoronazione di Poppea, staged in Klaipėda State Musical Theatre. In 2008, director Gintaras Varnas staged two madrigal operas: Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Ballo delle ingrate. The music was based on the copies of the original parts, preserved in Bologna library. Another impressive idea of the creative team was to employ puppets. Designer Julija Skuratova became an equal partner to the director, turning people into puppets and vice versa. Both artists were awarded the Gold Cross of the Stage (2009). In 2011, the operas were shown on various stages in Paris for 16 times, and were entered in three theatre festivals - the Metzo “Festival Passage” and the Dijon “Theatre En Mai” as well as Bar-le-Duc.

Banchetto Musicale 72


ix festivals of contemporary music take place in Lithuania regularly: Festival Gaida (Vilnius), Iš Arti (Close Up) (Kaunas), Music of Changes (Klaipėda), Druskomanija (Druskininkai), Jauna Muzika (Vilnius), Muzikos Ruduo (Musical Autumn). Since 1991, Gaida has been the most important and significant festival of contemporary music in Lithuania, open to music of all traditions from the most remote geographical locations. The most prominent performers of the world become invited to the festival, which represents the most successful works of various genres. In 2005, the festival became a member of the prestigious association of European festivals of contemporary music “Réseau Varèse”. In 2002, Gaida Ensemble was founded as the best musicians of Lithuania united to form a large sinfonietta-type band of contemporary music. Iš Arti (Close Up) was founded in 1997 to encourage regional ties of Lithuanian musicians and to propagate the works of Kaunas’ composers. Founded in 2005, Music of Changes “borrowed” its epigraph from the famous work of the American composer of the 20th century John Cage – development of the festival’s programme primarily focuses on finding fundamental reference points for the real values in this constantly changing world. All three festivals cooperate closely, inspiring new forms of musical language and means of expression. One of the most prominent projects of Gaida are “Smėlio laikrodžiai” (Hourglasses), a performance by Justė Janulytė based on the synergy of musical and visual imagery. The project has already been used at European festivals like the Huddersfield contemporary music festival (UK), Maerzmusik in Berlin (Germany), Imago Dei in Krems (Austria), the Holland festival in Amsterdam (NL), Warsaw Autumn (Poland), and the festivals of New York (USA), Sydney (Australia) and Glasgow (Scotland) are planning to host it as well.

Justė Janulytė Hourglasses (Smėlio laikrodžiai)

The music is performed by four Gaida Ensemble cello soloists, the live electronics is performed by Michele Tadini and Antonello Raggi from Italy, the scenography is done by Jūratė Paulėkaitė, and the lights are handled by Eugenijus Sabaliauskas. The videos for the one-hour project were made by Luca Scarzella. The success of the project is encoded in a very special interaction of music and image, which creates an absolutely new artistic value and a simply enchanting atmosphere. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he modern musical theatre (opera) has not been duly acknowledged in Lithuania for quite a long time – we must admit that synthesis of arts requires serious organizational and financial efforts. However, the situation has took a radical turn recently, with Klaipėda State Musical Theatre initiating festival (until then, the theatre used to focus entirely on new performances by Lithuanian composers), and a group of young initiative people in Vilnius who call themselves Operomanija starting a festival of short operas titled NOA (New Opera Action). The ability to connect all forms of education with a view to enrich the forms of expression of musical theatre was very distinct through all five years of the intensive activities of Operomanija. To stage rich performances in the festival of NOA, various seminars, creative workshops are held, aiming to unlock the secrets of singing, creative work and staging, with masters of the trade invited not only from Lithuania but also from abroad. In the summer of 2011 the centre of attention of the creators of the project was short cinema operas: 30- or 100-second musical films. Such format of the movie operas was encouraged by the ad clips that carry the basic message in a sharp and focused way. In 2011, the NOA festival picked up theme of “social” opera and developed situations with relevance for the modern society and reacted to the realities of today, from the phenomena of capitalist consumption and supermarkets to basketball and street culture, to random acquaintances and illusions of love fuelled by Skype. Members of Operomanija must have been among the first to initiate the process of criticism of the musical theatre, announcing a competition for opera critics. The latest stage work – the musical performance “ID” by Rūta Vitkauskaitė – was brought to the International Festival of Tbilisi and the Haiku opera by Jonas Sakalauskas “Snow” was shown in Lithuania.

Scene from NOA performance “ID” Photo by Jurgis Sakalauskas 74

The solo-performance diptych “Isadora”, which was awarded the Golden Stage Cross as the best theatre debut, “Joker” by the composer Jonas Sakalauskas and “Julius” by Charles Halka (USA) enjoyed the greatest success among the earlier works.


he high level of professionalism of Lithuanian music rests on the curricula of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Music Academy of Vytautas Magnus University and the Klaipėda University Faculty of Arts. Graduates of these institutions are Violeta Urmana, David Gering, numerous young musicians are putting Lithuania’s name on the map of the world. Four musical theatres – Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Kaunas and Klaipėda State Musical Theatres, Panevėžys Musical Theatre – foster performance arts (operas, operettas, musicals, ballets and dance performances, dramatized concerts and staging for children). Concert institutions based in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai promote the art of performing through running an intensive season of concerts and holding an abundance of summer festivals. Among the numerous festivals dedicated to academic music, those that stand out boasting solid biographies are the Vilnius Festival, the Thomas Mann Festival (Nida), the Pažaislis Music Festival (central Lithuania), the Druskininkai Summer with M. K. Čiurlionis (Druskininkai), and the only festival dedicated to symphonic music and opera, the Musical August at the Seaside (Klaipėda). Staged in Eastern Lithuanian, Kristupas’ Summer Festival was among the first to promote active cultural tourism. In winter, audiences are welcome to attend two significant events in Vilnius – the Accordion Music Festival organized by the Lithuanian Accordion Association and the Great Parade of Musicians, a ten-hour concert marathon (a festival in vertical) organized by the Lithuanian Musicians Society, which features the Golden Disc award giving ceremony for the most prominent musicians of the year. The Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra under Gintaras Rinkevičius must be given a special mention for its unique performance among concert organisations. The field of Rinkevičius’ vision goes beyond rich symphonic programs; in 2003, the collaboration between Rinkevičius, the director Dalia Ibelhauptaitė and the costume designer Juozas Statkevičius produced an independent opera troupe the Bohemians, which, through its activities, aims to fascinate the audience with the art of opera. The Bohemians is a remarkable phenomenon, employing up to 300 people for every project. Assisted by lighting designer Peter Mumford, the stage designer Dick Bird is capable of dramatizing stages that seem to be totally unsuitable for performances.

Scene from the Bohemians’ Eugene Onegin. Tatjana – Asmik Gregorian, Onegin – Laimonas Pautienius Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas

Every production by the Bohemians is a unique, astonishing and original piece of work. Their most prominent works that are frequently staged in Lithuania include Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, G. Puccini’s La Boheme, P. Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and first-time productions, like those of W. A. Mozart’s The Magic Flute, J. Massenet’s Werther, L. Jancek’s Katia Kabanova are growing in number as well. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



ompetitions have a significant influence on the professionalism of Lithuanian art of performance. Among the multitude of youth competitions, taking place on the initiative of the three Lithuanian higher music schools, some competitions that have already earned an international reputation must be noted. Held in 2011, the 12th International M. K. Čiurlionis Competition of Pianists and Organists was devoted to the 100th death anniversary of the most prominent Lithuanian artist and composer M. K. Čiurlionis (1875-1911). UNESCO included the date into the list of memorable anniversaries. For the first time the competition was patronized by President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė. The first M. K. Čiurlionis Competition was held in 1965, and after Lithuania regained its independence in 1991, the competition went to be international and in 1994 it was accepted to the World Federation of International Music Competitions. In 2011, Vice-president of this prestigious organization Quinten Peelen visited Vilnius for the first time. Six years ago the leader of the famous Lithuanian choir Jauna Muzika (Young Music) Vaclovas Augustinas (associate professor of the Department of Composition of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre) and his colleague, the composer Donatas Zakaras were struck by an idea to organize a choral music composition contest for young composers that they dubbed Vox Juventutis. Every year since 2006, young composers are encouraged to compose music for choirs. A peculiar term was introduced in 2011 to intersperse the competition: the authors of the works chosen for the final concert had to participate in all the rehearsals of the competition program as choir singers.

3rd round of M. K. Čiurlionis competition’s piano players’ auditions took place in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Juozas Domarkas. 2011 Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas



azz was already played during the times of the first independent Republic of Lithuania. Almost every town in Lithuania had its own jazz-band, there were three top-notch orchestras playing traditional jazz repertoire and in 1940, the first official jazz orchestra was established in Kaunas radiophone. This outfit met the standards of the jazz orchestra and was bold in its improvisations. The Second World War brought its amendments to the fate of jazz in Lithuania as well: it was simply outlawed until Khrushchev came along. In 1961, jazz music attracted the attention of academic circles. A three-day conference dedicated to jazz was held in the Lithuanian State Conservatory, followed by a jazz concert. This date is often called the day when jazz was officially born in Lithuania, spurred by the popular jazz music orchestra led by J. Tiškus. However, the GTČ trio (Viačeslav Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Čekasin) that assembled in 1971 had the greatest influence on the evolution of jazz music in Lithuania. They laid the foundations for the Lithuanian school of jazz and molded the creative principles that are still being developed by jazz musicians of Lithuania. Jazz music festivals were also of major importance to the development of jazz in Lithuania. In 1988 one such event, a big jazz festival that attracted numerous groups from Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Holland, the USA and other countries, was held in Vilnius. Vilnius Jazz festival has eventually become a regular; a member of the European Jazz Network, it cooperates with Goethe’s Institute and the British Council, US Arts International and other cultural institutions of the world. Its main direction is the new avant-garde jazz.

Today, the country with a population of a mere three million plays host to as many as five jazz festivals: Vilnius Jazz, Klaipėda Castle Jazz Festival, Birštonas JAZZ, Vilnius MAMA JAZZ, Kaunas JAZZ. Lithuanian jazz musicians Viačeslav Ganelin, Vladimir Tarasov and Vladimir Čekasin, Petras Vyšniauskas, Vytautas Labutis, Dainius Pulauskas, Liudas Mockūnas and others are known and appreciated around the world. Performers of this music are trained in the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and at other educational establishments.

Petras Geniušas and Vladimir Čekasin National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



viable tradition of folk music, still cultivated by country singers and musicians, folk ensembles of various cities and towns, festivals, municipalities and governmental bodies is gradually evolving into an impressive variety of folk and modern folk (or post-folk) forms: from careful reconstructions of authentic traditional folk to bold experimental transformations that give us a free interpretation of folk material. The noteworthy performers who convey the authentic folk tradition but do not shy away from modern experimental music trends are: “Trys Keturiose”, the singers of the unique ancient polyphonic glees, Veronika Povilionienė, Evaldas Vyčinas with his spellbinding monotonic voice, ensembles of instrumental music “Griežikai” and “Sutaras”, the ritual folk group “Kūlgrinda” that follows in the footsteps of the pagan tradition. In recent years, modernised folk has been gaining popularity: folk intonations often serve as the source of inspiration for this community of creators and performers as well as the basis for their daring visions. In the post-folk works of Daiva Urbonavičiūtė-Steponavičienė, alias Rugiaveidė, the soft voice of the singer weaves through pop music and modern electronics arrangements. Elements of folk music in the experimental and ambient music of Donis, “Girnų Giesmės”, “Lauxna Lauksna” spread in the form of electronically modified fragments and subtly embedded folk vocal. Hybrids of folk and rock music form a cluster of particular interest. Folk-rock and neo-folk groups “Atalya” and “Liberte” add various world music elements to the Lithuanian folk music. “Žalvarinis”, a hard folk-rock band, is slightly more on the heavier side. Pagan metal is represented by “Obtest”, “Zpoan Vtenz” and “Andaja”. A fusion of jazz and folk is represented by the project (the result of the creative cooperation between Vilnius Jazz Quartet and folk music band “Sutaras”) and projects by Skirmantas Sasnauskas, who is also a master of jazz and traditional instruments. Folklore is rather intensively used by pop music artists. Linas Rimša should be singled out from among the initiators of this kind of music, with his projects Sutartinės Party and ZAP. Cooperation that exists among all these trends is delighting. Very often performers of traditional folklore lend their voices to several pieces in ritual ambient or pagan metal albums. WAFT, the joint program of the band “Fusedmarc” and the glee singers “Trys Keturiose” that has brought together different ways of creating and performing music in perfect harmony is to be mentioned as one of the most successful projects of recent years.

“Trys Keturiose” Photo by Nadia Gric 78

The leading festival of alternative culture, “Mėnuo Juodaragis” (Black-horned Moon), features both experimental projects and performances by authentic folk groups. And the most important thing is that they go hand in hand perfectly.


he Lithuanian show business is still in its teens, recording studios are far behind the western ones in terms of their quality, and musicians and producers are only beginning to network with their opposite numbers in foreign countries. We are yet to see the first Lithuanian performer or group becoming famous abroad. Lithuania most probably appeals to the European rock stage because there is a monument to Frank Zappa in Vilnius.

Because of Lithuania’s geographical position, works of the musicians are influenced both by Eastern and Western pop music. Radio top hit lists feature r’n’b from the cosmopolitan “Skamp”, creative experiments of the reggae ambassador Hokshila and even some reverberations of Latin American music (“In Culto”). More and more often Lithuanian performers warm up the crowds at concerts of foreign stars such as Sting, Marilyn Manson, Seal, Simply Red and others, at the same time drawing attention of the organizers of such shows. Annual music award ceremonies enjoy great popularity with audiences, and high ratings of music reality shows prove that right now the Lithuanians are finding popular music important and appealing. In the past decade, Andrius Mamontovas with his band “Foje” achieved outrageous popularity in Lithuania, with the group’s gigs attracting audiences of over 60 thousand people. The singer, whose rock music is permeated with melancholy, released his first solo album Pabėgimas (Escape) in 1995, and today he can boast more than ten Bravo and Radiocentras awards. Mamontovas is renowned as a producer as well (he worked with Jurga, Tomas Augulis, “Sel”), he also organizes various music projects, and is a well-known actor. Assembled by Andrius, the Lithuanian all-star band “LT United” improved Lithuania’s performance in Eurovision, placing 6th.

“G&G Sindikatas” (style: hip-hop). Bold, original and always “true”, the rebels of music “G&G Sindikatas” have been breaking the laws of Lithuanian show biz for more than ten years now and are the most prominent figures on the Lithuanian hip-hop stage.

Andrius Mamontovas Photo by Arnoldas Lukošius

“BrassBastardz” (style: acid jazz). Every concert of the band is a tiny performance of lights and sounds, where one just cannot stop admiring the harmony of electronic and live instruments. From meaty rap to a posh disco, from virtuoso jazz to mystic modern romance; this eclecticism of styles gives birth to a new unique musical product. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



erformers of electronic music were the most successful in managed to “export” themselves outside Lithuania. Due to the cosmopolitan vagabond style of their music, producers and sound artists of electronic music gained recognition with foreign listeners, critics and colleagues quite soon. The work of Arturas Bumšteinas is probably the most vigorous and diverse of its kind on the Lithuanian stage of interdisciplinary and sound art. His musical territory extends from minimalistic drone tracks and manipulations of pure frequencies based on meaningful games to thoroughly and subtly composed electro-acoustic pieces. Early in their career, the band “Fusedmarc” was compared to Western intellectual dance and alternative electronic music stars like “Broadcast”, “Portishead” and Bjork. This audiovisual experiment was a mixture of electronics, rock and surreal images that first appeared in 2004. “RyRalio”, colleagues to the band “One Ear Stereo” and the most wanted house music duet from Kaunas, Lithuania, have long been famous for their passionate parties and dance music festivals in various unorthodox sites, featuring both world-famous house music DJs and performers of live music. The electrified disco-punk trio “Metal on Metal” have eventually moved from the routinely-held hip parties that would be attended by hundreds of crazed fans to their own explosive dance floor hits and remixes of songs of such international stars as Bloc Party and Datarock. “Twentytwentyone” are stars on the experimental electronic stage with their unique method of recording sounds for various graphic and visual materials, which turns their concerts into shows and films – into concerts, are deservedly targeted by the most important international festivals of modern music. It is hence small surprise that they give more shows abroad than they do in Lithuania.

Arturas Bumšteinas


Another figure on this stage, Gintas K., just like some of his opposite numbers (including composer Antanas Jasenka), has already got used to the fact that his new recordings are released by international recording companies for this kind of music.


n the first Saturday of May, thousands of people go out to the streets to play music. Street Music Day is a festival that unites all people who speak the most universal language of the world – the music language. Heeding the call of the musician and actor Andrius Mamontovas, professional musicians and amateurs pour into the streets of Vilnius, courtyards and squares. Armed with various music instruments they play rock, classics, avant-garde, folk music, drum African rhythms. It is a day that turns every city and town in Lithuania into a feast of free creativity, communication between the musicians and the public. In 2007, licences to perform on the streets were given to 295 bands, resulting in about 600 musicians playing on the Street Music Day. In 2008, the Street Music festival swept across Lithuania with a bang: more than 3,000 musicians played in the capital city and 31 other cities and small towns. During the Street Music Day in 2009, jazz, rock, classical music, rhythms and folk music was played by Lithuanians in the streets the world over. In 2011, the Street Music Day was celebrated in 45 cities and towns across Lithuania as well as by the Lithuanian communities in Belarus, the USA and Argentina. “This is not a profit-making festival. The point here is to have a city filled with music and that wonderful feeling of solidarity and joy, which all of us find it so important to get now and then,” Andrius Mamontovas, the initiator of the project has said.

Street Music Day in Vilnius National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he first public performance of a Lithuanian play took place on Lithuanian soil in 1899. Even though the play “America in the Bathhouse” was performed on the initiative of Lithuanian patriots and the intelligentsia and received permission from Tsarist Russian officials, it was done in almost secret conditions in a storehouse that was owned by Count Tyszkiewicz in Palanga. It took more than twenty years before the first professional Lithuanian theatre opened in 1920. Another twenty years passed before a new drama theatre opened its door in Panevėžys in 1940. Theatre head Juozas Miltinis, together with his young troupe, turned Lithuania into a destination for theatre lovers from all over the Soviet Union, with theatre excursions pouring into Panevėžys from neighboring countries in the 1960s. Time passed. In 1984, Lithuanian theatre participated at the Belgrade International Theatre Festival with the play “Pirosmani, Pirosmani” directed by Eimuntas Nekrošius and competed as equals with leading theatres from across the globe. The world had discovered Lithuanian theatre. It seemed that Lithuanian theatre had no complexes whatsoever because of its tender age, and started what could be called its international career which has lasted up to the present-day.


The Lithuanian theatre-going public wanted to and did love their theatre. At times they gave it heroic status. Oftentimes it was simply of vital importance. There are a number of moving stories about box offices overrun with theatre-goers, and night shifts at the theatre where you could see bonfires lit near the theatre entrance with staff providing tea, all to the sound of people playing guitars. All those stories (from the golden era of the 1970s and 1980s) bear witness to the fact that Lithuanian theatre was a place where the deepest, most secret, and most tender expectations of the audience could come true, a place where the aesthetic, psychological, social and political aspirations of society gained shape over and over again, thus becoming a form of hope. Thus at its peak, Lithuanian theatre was not only a theatre by and for its peers, but a theatre that even became international. This happened in response to the demands that political censorship imposed on Lithuania, with the theatre showing solidarity with its audience not by following the guidelines of official ideologies, but following the basic and true feelings of its audience. It showed solidarity, thus becoming a kind of zone of freedom in an imprisoned society. The rare theatre people and troupes from the West that found themselves in Lithuania during the Soviet

period were amazed at the enormous interest of the audience in the theatre, which in their opinion was meant for the elite almost without exception. It is a paradox, but even though the language of the theatre was clearly geared toward the elite, it did not cause it to lose its relevance for the average person. The figurative language did not put people off: in fact this language showed an ability to take facts from real life and turn them into summed-up metaphorical images, which seemed to be detached from reality, but which still reflected it in one way or another. Contemporary Lithuanian theatre seems to still be living off the reputation it earned during the last few decades of last century. Theatre professionals that came into their own during that period are still its driving force. Its artistic hallmark is still guaranteed by the continuation of the traditions of metaphorical theatre that were formed at the time and the new interpretations of these traditions today. However Lithuanian theatre is undergoing a transformation. It has opened itself to the winds of change and is not afraid to face new challenges. It is searching for and testing new ways of entrenching both its artistic and institutional existence, i.e. broadening its palette of practical and artistic forms of existence.


aving just recently celebrated its hundredth anniversary, Lithuanian theatre has become an important, acclaimed and appreciated part of the world stage. This is first and foremost a result of the work of what is known as the “Big Six” – theatre directors Eimuntas Nekrošius, Rimas Tuminas, Jonas Vaitkus, Oskaras Koršunovas, Gintaras Varnas and Cezaris Graužinis. Thanks to them, the routes of Lithuanian theatre tours have crisscrossed the map of Europe and been on every continent. They are invited time and time again on tour and regularly included in the programs of the best international theatre festivals, and not only in neighboring Russian and Poland, and not only in Western Europe where Lithuanian theatre appeared long ago, but also farther afield in places like China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Columbia, Chile, and Argentina. With a great interest in Lithuanian theatre, foreign theatres have gladly opened their doors to Lithuanian directors and signed them up to creative cooperation agreements. For example, Italy is in love with Eimuntas Nekrošius, where he has put on a number of plays. Rimas Tuminas was particularly popular at the Icelandic National Theatre in the 1990s, and now he is in Russia. Jonas Vaitkus presented a joint Japanese-Lithuanian project called Sakura in the Wind (2004) at the Dora Theatre in Tokyo. Along with a number of one-off performances abroad, Oskaras Koršunovas began cooperating with the National Oslo Theatre on a regular basis starting in 2001. Gintaras Varnas is wellknown in both Latvia and also Slovakia, where he has achieved success in working with the Adrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra. Cezaris Graužinis is also well-known by theatre goers in Finland and Greece (he received the Karolos Koun Award for Best Director from the Union of Greek Theatre and Music in 2007). What could be called the culmination of cooperation between Lithuanian theatre and theatres abroad is when prestigious theatres began welcoming Lithuanian directors to put on plays. Such theatres as Comedie Francaise began welcoming directors like O. Koršunovas, who directed William Shakespeare’s comedy “The Taming of the Shrew” (2007). The famous La Scala Theatre also gave in to the temptations presented by Lithuanian directors and put on Charles Gounod’s opera “Faust” directed by E. Nekrošius (2010).

Moliere. “Tartuffe” by the Aarhus Drama Theatre (Denmark) Directed by Oskaras Koršunovas. 2011 Photo by Rasmus Baaner. From the OKT Theatre archives

The obvious long-term success of Lithuanian directors and their recognition worldwide has contributed to Lithuanians emigrating and working at foreign theatres. One example is Cezaris Graužinis, who worked as the artistic director of Viirus Theatre in Helsinki from 2007 to 2009, and is now directing in various Greek theatres. Another example is Rimas Tuminas, who began work as artistic director of the Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow in 2007, and has directed a number of plays that have caused quite a stir across Russia. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



imuntas Nekrošius (1952) is a director who has brought Lithuanian theatre to the world stage with his work and shown an undisputed uniqueness. His achievements have been awarded with a number of national prizes as well as prestigious international theatre awards, including the 1994 Europe Theatre Prize for New Theatrical Realities Award and the 2001 International Stanislavsky Award for his contribution to the development of theatre worldwide. E. Nekrošius’ work could very well sum up the phenomenal character of all of Lithuanian theatre, which is a synthesis of what is called its “rural” and “nature” roots and the universalness of artistic thought. Born and raised in a remote village with just a few houses (in the village of Pažobris in the Raseinių District) and indelibly impacted by the atmosphere of the village (once saying that “it all formed there, in the village”), Nekrošius got the attention of the theatre community in Lithuania already with his first productions. Soon after, in the 1980s he garnered international recognition. It seems that his plays use signs, actions and things that are entirely out of everyday life, such as sugar cubes (“Quadrant”, 1980), a saw (“Hamlet”, 1997), flower pots (“Othello”, 2000), a wooden board (“Faust”, 2006), children’s beds (“The Idiot”, 2009). However Nekrošius plays with the complicated shapes of being and loads them up with a surprising potent energy. Nekrošius’ plays are long and slow, but intense and addictive, reminding one of an alchemic séance. For a number of years, theatre critics from around the world talk about the “magic of Nekrošius’ theatre”. Since 1998, Nekrošius has led Meno Fortas, which is a theatre studio that he established in Vilnius. He continues to expand his method of theatrical magic in the plays he puts on there, while at the same time giving himself harder and harder challenges: he looks for literature that is as difficult as possible to put on as a play and as hard as possible to imagine in the theatre (“Song of Songs”, which is based on poems from the Old Testament, 2004), and also works with non-professional actors or young actors that are inexperienced and are just starting their professional career (Kristijonas Donelaitis’ “The Seasons. Spring Joys”, 2003; “The Seasons. Autumn Boons”, 2003; Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot”, 2009).

Johann Wolfgang Goethe. “Faust”. Directed by Eimuntas Nekrošius. 2006 In the center – Faust (Vladas Bagdonas) Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas. From the Meno Fortas Theatre archives 84

All of Nekrošius’ plays made at Meno Fortas are internationally co-produced. The list of co-producers is comprised of various foreign theatres, theatre biennials, international theatre foundations and festivals.


skaras Koršunovas (1969) is a leader among an active already well-established generation of theatre directors in today’s theatre scene both in Lithuania and abroad. He has garnered a host of national awards, the 2001 Europe Theatre Prize for New Theatrical Realities, and is a Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters of France. Koršunovas has been vibrant and original from the very start of his theatrical career – while still a student he staged a performance called “Here to Be There” (1990) based on the prose of Russian avant-garde writer Daniil Kharms, which simply won over the theatre community in Lithuania due to the power of its directoral creativity, was promptly included in the repertoire of the National Drama Theatre and successfully participated at international theatre festivals. Having started with great success with the 20th century OBERIU writers, Koršunovas gradually began to expand his theatrical palette of genres and themes. He was the first to embroil the Lithuanian stage with scandalous interpretations of new dramas (Bernard-Marie Koltes’ “Roberto Zucco”, 1998; Mark Ravenhill’s “Shopping and Fucking”, 1999). He was one of a group of people who courageously inscribed his own contemporary interpretation of a world classic into history (William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, 1999). In 1999 Koršunovas began work with his own theatre, the Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre (the OKT/Vilnius City Theatre since 2004). Koršunovas’ productions, which include Mikhail Bulgakov’s “Master and Margerita” (2000), Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” (2002), Shakespeare’s “The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” (2003), which have and are still have broad national and international resonance, are all different. However they all reflect his primary theatrical theme, which is to examine the paradoxical nature and tragedy of the being of modern man from various perspectives. Of particular interest are the most recent works of Koršunovas and his OKT Theatre, which joins Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” (2008) and Maksim Gorky’s play “The Lower Depths” (2010) into an unexpected dialogue with one another. They are tied to one another through the theme of theatre. Koršunovas creates a tragedy of a modern world that is obsessed with theatre, while later taking this obsession away and opening up a gaping emptiness under its theatrical layer – an actor from “Hamlet” is put at a table from “The Lower Depths” that is full of vodka bottles and chips, forced to yell at people, drink and get the audience drunk, i.e. theatrical matter turns into a “post-theatre” apathy, tiredness, depression, which gives new meaning to “to be or not to be” which one hears.

William Shakespeare. “Hamlet”. 2008. Directed by Oskaras Koršunovas In the center – Ophelia (Rasa Samuolytė) Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas. From the OKT Theatre archives

The actors and actresses in OKT performances change, however the core – Dainius Gavenonis, Rasa Samuolytė and Darius Gumauskas – has remained the same throughout. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he first international theatre festival in Lithuania, LIFE, began in 1991, and was an annual event until 2001. It was a powerful force that broke through the barrier of the Iron Curtain that stood for years between Lithuanian theatre and world theatre, and greatly contributed to the development of contact between various theatres. The success of LIFE inspired a number of international theatre festivals that are organized today in Lithuania, which have set different goals for themselves and created different themes, however they all foster and stimulate the system of exchanging ideas of contemporary theatre internationally. The Vilnius International Theatre Festival Sirens and the New Drama Action, the most important and largest of the international theatre festivals that are organized in Lithuania today, are two events that have become an inseparable part of the culture landscape in Lithuania. The Sirens Festival, which was established by the OKT Theatre and the Vilnius city municipality in 2004, attracts a great number of people who want to see European theatre, and offers a program divided into two parts: a Lithuanian program that serves as an introduction to the newest in Lithuanian theatre explorations and discoveries, as well as a program of theatres from abroad that show famous troupes from contemporary European theatre, including the troupes of Rimini Protokoll, Luk Perceval, Romeo Castellucci, Tadashi Suzuki, Jan Fabre, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Arpad Schilling, and Alvis Hermanis among others. There are also various meetings and discussions with authors and directors that are organized in addition to the performances. The Sirens Festival is complemented well by the New Drama Action, which is an international theatre festival the Theatre and Cinema Information and Education Centre has organized each spring since 1998. It creates its program by choosing among the newest and most innovative contemporary theatre and drama happening in both Lithuania and abroad. In addition, they also try out various ways show the intense processes going on in new theatre by organizing readings of the newest plays that often later on develop into performances and offer themes and ideas that later are turned into performances (such as Gintaras Varnas and his troupe Dekalogas, 2008), as well as organize workshops and seminars (such as the 10-day seminar entitled “Vilnius Meeting” that featured Hungarian director Arpad Schilling, his theatre troupe Kretakor, and famous Lithuanian actors, 2006).

World-famous star at the Sirens Festival – Italian director Romeo Castellucci (first from left) meets with Lithuanian theatre fans (second from the left – director Oskaras Koršunovas). 2007 Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas. From the Sirens Festival archives 86

New Baltic Dance is another important cultural event in Lithuania. It is an international contemporary dance festival which has been organized by the Lithuanian Dance Information Centre and public enterprise Vilniaus Festivaliai since 1997. Each year it provides an overview of new trends in Lithuanian dance as well as world dance. A number of famous troupes have visited Lithuania thanks to this festival, including La La La Human Steps (Canada), Cullbergballet (Sweden), Aterballetto (Italy), Kibbutz (Israel), Russell Maliphanto and his troupe (U.K.) among others. Thanks to this festival, a number of contemporary Lithuanian dance artists have also performed in its impressive program, including Vytis Jankauskas, Loreta Juodkaitė, and Agnija Šeiko among others.


he 2010 International Theatre Festival New Drama Action, which was organized by the Theatre and Cinema Information and Education Centre, spearheaded a unique cultural project, which was an international theatre performance of “The Cherry Orchard” based on Anton Chechov’s classic play. This performance of “The Cherry Orchard” led to the gathering together of a special creative team. Its head was well-known theatre director Kristian Smeds, who gathered together not only a group of Lithuanian actors currently active onstage, but also invited veteran actors that had not appeared on stage for some time, such as Virginija Kelmelytė, who resides in France (Ranevskaya) as well as actor Juozas Budraitis, the Lithuanian cultural attaché to the Russian Federation (Gayev). He also added two Lithuanian directors to the solid team of actors – Jonas Vaitkus (Lopakhin) and Gytis Padegimas (Pishchik), as well as avant-garde performance actor Benas Šarka (Charlotta). All of the actors lived in a summer house with an orchard in a suburb of Vilnius for a few weeks, which is where they had rehearsals and also had the performance. The Cherry Orchard actors settled themselves into the summer house. This gradually evolved into an intimate meeting of close friends. The actors read Chechov’s text sitting in the comfortable confines of the summer house, markedly touched by the text if they found something in it that reminded them of something in their life, laughed and offered cherries dipped in alcohol to the audience as if they were visitors who had dropped by. Afterwards they all went outside where they saw an impressive fire and light fiesta, the proverbial icing on the cake for the Ranevskaya estate, the Cherry Orchard team and this idea of a cultural community, which was finished off with an afterparty that included both the actors and the audience. Thoughts were shared on the beauty a creative community can have and the utopia it represents in today’s world. In the words of Smeds, it was “the place and time for creative work, joy, and anarchy, when people can feel, fantasize and live before the doom”. “The Cherry Orchard” was broadcast live through LRT television, and also had a live streaming of the performance for viewers at the Theatre der Welt Festival, which is the largest theatre biennial in Germany. It was also performed at Wiener Festwochen on 28 May, 2011. The cast lived in famous emigrant neighborhood of Macondo in Vienna, which is where the play was also performed.

International project “The Cherry Orchard”. Directed by Kristian Smeds. 2010 Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas From the Theatre and Cinema Information and Education Centre archives

An audiovisual installation Living of Cherry Orchard was created using fragments from the rehearsals and interviews of the actors. It premiered at the Vilnius International Theatre Sirens Festival in 2010. Afterwards it was shown at the New European Theatre festival in Moscow. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



group of actors that studied under actor Vladas Bagdonas and director Cezaris Graužinis at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and graduated from MA studies in acting in 2003 made a decision to stick together. The core of the group are five young actors – Brigita Arsobaitė, Paulius Čižinauskas, Vytautas Kontrimas, Vilma Raubaitė, and Julius Žalakevičius – created their own theatre led by Graužinis and called Cezaris Group. The forming of this group brought a new fashion to Lithuanian theatre, whereby almost each graduating class has formed their own theatre troupe upon graduation. Cezaris Group began their creative career with interpretations of contemporary Western European plays. As a result of these performances, the troupe is known for their unique vision of theatre. What has come out of these performances is what has been called the hallmark of Cezaris Group, which is exploration of the possibilities of a concept known as “imagination theatre”. Soon afterwards the work of the Cezaris Group began to acquire a more socially passionate position as it aimed the poetics of imagination theatre at analyzing the problematic issues surrounding Lithuanian identity and the well-being of Lithuanians both at home and abroad. Cezaris Group began to create performances according to material gathered from their own experiences. By molding and working with the material himself, Cezaris Graužinis began his career as a playwright. The performances of his and his students became not only a place for theatre, but also a place where young people could express their views on society. Cezaris Group has continued to develop its theatrical and civic discoveries. More recently they have attempted to use these discoveries as a way to “strike up a conversation” with Lithuanian classics, such as an innovative reading of the work of poet Paulius Širvys, and staging a play based on Lithuanian mythology, among other projects. Cezaris Group travels a lot to stages all over Lithuania, as well as represents Lithuanian theatre in the world theatre arena with great success – they do tours at theatres abroad and participate at various international theatre festivals (such as the Baltoscandal international theatre festival in Estonia in 2006, and the NB Festival in Estonia in 2011).

“Distant Horizons”. Directed by Cezaris Graužinis. 2010 Photo by Kamilė Žičkytė. From the Cezaris Group archives 88

Cezaris Group repertoire: Roland Schimmelphenig. “Arabian Nights” (2003) Roland Schimmelphenig. “For a Better World” (2004) Martin Crimp. “Attempts on Her Life” (2005) Cezaris Graužinis. “Day of Lithuania, or Courageous Country”. A performance/ antidepressant about Lithuanian identity (2007) Cezaris Graužinis. “All or Nothing” (2009) “Distant Horizons”. Based on the poetry of Paulius Širvys (2010)


ew Lithuanian drama is developing, quickly absorbing the principles of intercultural mobility. Playwrights are participating at a number of international seminars, workshops and laboratories, and are becoming more noticed participants in the processes happening in contemporary pan-European drama. The most striking example of the movement of contemporary Lithuanian drama is the work of Marius Ivaškevičius (1973). His plays have been part of the international theatre market for a number of years already. They are translated into other languages and are produced at theatres abroad. The Lithuanian versions of his performances have successfully represented Lithuanian theatre in the world arena. The premieres of the performances have taken place abroad. The world premiere of his play “Close City” directed by Marius Ivaškevičius took place in Stockholm and Podgorica as part of the SEAS program. The play “Madagascar” (2004) has brought with it the greatest amount of national and international fame for Ivaškevičius. The play was commissioned by director Rimas Tuminas and premiered at the Vilnius Small Theatre, which Tuminas also heads. This sharp-witted story about a Lithuanian utopia, which is based on real facts from Lithuanian history and culture, caused a great furor in Lithuania. It was also successfully toured in Poland, Latvia, Russia, Finland, Belgium, Austria and Serbia, even causing a stir in some countries. The culmination of the impressive success of Madagascar was the Italian version of the play put on by the Gli Incanti, a young theatre troupe from Bologna. This theatrical study was called “Toward Madagascar: an Imprudent Theatrical Study of Marius Ivaškevičius’ Play” (2011), which was dedicated to the commemoration of the 150th year anniversary of the unification of Italy. Director Stefano Moretti looked for parallels between the historical situations that Lithuania and Italy have found themselves in within the play. Marius Ivaškevičius participated in an international dramaturgy residency at the Royal Court Theatre in London, which is famous for helping to develop great playwrighting. He introduced his latest play entitled “Banishment” about the life of Lithuanian emigrants. It was the result of the project Lithuanian Drama in London, which was created by the Theatre and Cinema Information and Education Centre.

Marius Ivaškevičius. “Madagascar”. Directed by Rimas Tuminas State Vilnius Small Theatre. 2004. Onstage – Sale (Gintarė Latvėnaitė) Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas. From the State Small Theatre of Vilnius archives

The most important of Marius Ivaškevičius’ plays: “Neighbor” (1998) “8-230, It’s Me” (2001) “Malysh” (“Sweet Kid”, 2001) “Madagascar” (2004) “Close City” (2005) “Mistras” (2010) “Banishment” (2011) National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he center of the Lithuanian school of scenography and the hearth of its skilled craftsmen and women is the Vilnius Academy of Arts (for a long time this hearth was kept lit by the Department of Painting until 1989, when the Department of Monumental Arts and Scenography). What could be called an unofficial branch of this department, which holds much meaning and importance as the department itself, are the Lithuanian theatre director workshops which occasionally surpass the strong and long-standing and almost inseparable creative tandems of scenographers and directors. Three generations of people working actively in the field of scenography in today’s theatre represent the continuation of the ideas of the Lithuanian school of scenography and the regular changing of these ideas. The most well-known figure of the older generation of scenography is Professor Adomas Jacovskis (1948) of the Vilnius Academy of Arts. His creative journey began in working with various directors, having been a contributor to the fame of Eimuntas Nekrošius and his plays. Since 1994 he is an inseparable part of both the Lithuanian and foreign productions directed by Rimas Tuminas. The older generation of Lithuanian theatre is also well-represented by Nedežda Gultiajeva (1949), who is a faithful collaborator of Eimuntas Nekrošius, plus Virginija Idzelytė (1949), who has helped to shape a number of Lithuanian musicals, as well as Aušra Bagočiūnaitė-Paukštienė (1955) and director Rimas Driežis (1959), who specialize in puppet theatre. The most important figure of Lithuanian scenography of the middle generation is Jūratė Paulėkaitė (1962), who has worked with director Oskaras Koršunovas since 1998 and is a shining example of Lithuanian stage art in Koršunovas’ productions in both Lithuania and abroad. Other figures in Lithuanian scenography that belong to this middle generation are Ramunė Skrebūnaitė (1963), who specializes in children’s theatre art, as well as Gintaras Makarevičius (1965) and Marijus Jacovskis (1972), who work at various Lithuanian theatres and with a number of theatre directors. The brightest personality of Lithuania scenography’s new generation is Vilnius Academy of Arts lecturer and puppet theatre art expert Julija Skuratova (1974). She has created a number of sets for puppet theatre performances in Lithuania and abroad, and has also tried her hand at directing puppet theatre. Her biggest success was in creating the puppets and set for the production of Claudio Monteverdi’s opera “The Combat of Tancredi and Clorinda” and “Dance of the Thankless” (2008) directed by Gintaras Varnas.

Claudio Monteverdi. “The Combat of Tancredi and Clorinda”. “Dance of the Thankless” Directed by Gintaras Varnas. Set and puppets by Julija Skuratova. 2008 Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas. From the Utopija Theatre archives 90

Other figures of the new generation of those working in Lithuanian scenography, including Marius Nekrošius (1976), who has worked with Eimuntas Nekrošius in both Lithuania and abroad, Marta Vosyliūtė (1976), who works with Gintaras Varnas as well as other Lithuanian theatre directors, and Laura Luišaitytė (1977) and Kotryna Daujotaitė (1981), who work with young directors.


ontemporary dance theatre is the newest and freshest genre in Lithuanian theatre. Despite the fact it is new, it is constantly developing its creativeness and actively fighting for its rights. The brightest star in contemporary dance in Lithuania is the Aura dance theatre, which was founded in 1980 by dancer, choreographer and dance teacher Birutė Letukaitė and who still leads the group today. Aura is not only added to and expanding its audience of dance lovers in Lithuania, but has had success at various international events and festivals. They have taken to the stage at such prestigious places as the Dansens Hus in Stockholm (2001). They have been invited to be the final performances at the final ceremonies of the second European Culture Forum: Rediscovering Europe that took place in Luxembourg in 2005. They have participated in such events as the Vancouver International Dance Festival (2007) and the Huesca International Dance and Theatre Festival Fair and Mercartes Trade Show (2010), among others. Aura has appeared in 26 countries and almost 180 festivals, with their work having been awarded with 49 city, national and international prizes. Aura has also promoted international cooperation for a number of years – choreographers from 15 countries have worked with the theatre. They are also open to interdisciplinary art challenges: they have done joint projects with artists and performers that work in the fields of sound, visual art and other contemporary art fields. Aura’s repertoire is comprised of 23 contemporary art performances. The most successful of these are the following: “Extremum Mobile” (choreographer B. Letukaitė, 2001) “Aseptic Zone, or Lithuanian Songs” (choreographer B. Letukaitė, 2004) “Time Line” (choreographers Yossi Berg, Oded Graf (Israel), B. Letukaitė, 2006) “Tabula Rasa” (choreographer Barbara Bourget (Canada), 2007) “Interiors” (choreographer Karel Vanek (the Czech Republic), 2008) “Panorama of Open Eyes” (anonymous choreographer, 2010) One of the most fascinating personalities in Lithuanian contemporary dance is dancer and choreographer Loreta Juodkaitė. She debuted with her performances “Here and Now” and “Salamandra’s Dream. A Picture” (directed by Valentinas Masalskis) in 2006. She quickly garnered accolades from both the public and critics alike as a dancer that is a special phenomenon, with a “shaman-like empathy” and choreographer with hypnotic powers.

Loreta Juodkaitė in her dance performance “Prayer in the Sand”. 2009 Photo by Dmitrijus Matvejevas. From the Arts Printing House archives

At the moment Juodkaitė is working as an independent dancer and choreographer. She already has 10 dance performances to her credit (among them “Trimatrix. Three Motions”, 2007; “Disobey”, 2008; “Disappear”, 2008; “Sibyl”, 2008), which have been shown not only in Lithuania, but also in Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, the U.K., France and Israel. She has also had roles in international dance projects (“To Do This, Don’t Do That”, directed by Thomas Lebrun (France), Lithuanian Dance Information Centre, Cie Illico (France), 2009). National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he primary ballet school in Lithuania is the Ballet Department of the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art (at the beginning it was the Choreography Department under the Vilnius Ten-Year Music School, and later the Vilnius Ballet School), which has been training ballet dancers for professional theatres like the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre and state musical theatres of Kaunas and Klaipėda since 1952. One can see the rise of private ballet schools that have been established for dance enthusiasts recently in Lithuania, both for children and adults. They are become more popular and expanding, which bears witness to the democratization of the very idea of ballet, which is the idea of flexibility and an ever broader access to ballet. Two ballet schools in Lithuania occupy the first two spots on this list of new schools – the Eglė Špokaitė Ballet School, that started in 2009, and the Nerijus Juška Ballet and Dance School, which was established in 2010. They bear the names of the most famous Lithuanian ballet dancers today: Eglė Špokaitė (1971) and Nerijus Juška (1976), who are graduates of the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art, and stars of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre and laureates of a number of national and international awards, have started their teaching careers at these schools. The schools are committed to not only introduce students to ballet techniques, but also to the idea that you can use and fully utilize ballet as a tool for the control of a flexible body, creativity and education in creative cooperation. These schools are also in a way providing a foundation for the rediscovery of the art of ballet. They are not just a good tool to raise and expand the circle of ballet lovers, but also a way to turn ballet into something that is not for a select few, but for everyone.

Primabalerina Eglė Špokaitė with her schoolgirls. 2011 From the Eglė Špokaitė Ballet School archives 92


rofessional Lithuanian art began comparatively late – it was only in the second half of the eighteenth century that a number of artists who were born in Lithuania began to work and teach in Lithuania after educating themselves in major cultural centres of Europe. The year 1907 is considered to be the birth of Lithuanian modern art when the first exhibition of Lithuanian art was held in Vilnius. Similarly, other communities in Vilnius, such as the Poles, Jews and Russians, introduced their art.

century led to the forgetting of this embryonic art market. All avantgarde creative initiatives were done behind closed doors in the homes of artists, writers, composers, while the rare cases of collection of artworks was considered illegal. There was an immense desire to gain information about new developments on the other side of the Iron Curtain as well as a great ambition to exhibit their works, and they did this using both possible and impossible ways, often by accident.

The goal to organize a world of art in Lithuania was achieved only after declaring independence in 1918. Independent Lithuania established institutions to promote art education, training in art, and its fostering and conservation. It was only in 1932 the first private art gallery was set up in Independence Square in Kaunas (the interwar capital) due to the endeavors of artist Neemija Arbitblatas (who lived in Paris at the time). Exhibitions where held both for young and unknown artists as well as more established Lithuanian, Jewish and foreign artists, and that added greatly to modernizing understanding of art in independent Lithuania. This gallery made the first step in forming a market for art.

It is only in the last twenty years that the art market has developed, which means that connections have been and are still being established between artists and galleries, galleries and purchasers, auctions and collectors. However while this market continues to develop, artists and galleries are searching for their position in European and international networks. After regaining independence the relatively good academic preparation and technological skills of artists faced an issue that is a necessary part of modern Western art, which is the problem of the conceptualisation and determinant of a work of art. At the time, graduates in art had to learn how to justify their creative work, however the immense interest in their art on the other side of the Iron Curtain forced Lithuanian artists (such as Eglė Rakauskaitė, Deimantas Narkevičius, Artūras Raila,

Unfortunately, the socialist regime that began after World War II and continued in Lithuania for half a

Mindaugas Navakas and others) to understand the rules of the game, and they caught people’s attention. Upon their arrival to art schools, the teaching of technology and ideology in education achieved a balance in the curriculum. Thus the world finds Lithuanian artists fascinating in their depiction of a post-Soviet mood, and their demonstration of a fresh attitude, unrestrained by canons and traditions, towards contemporary art problems, along with their unique technological skills. The absence of a contemporary art tradition and strong art market creates a particular kind of art context, where the goal and value of modern art has yet to be discovered. Sometimes efforts to do it are based on an old-fashioned mentality, sometimes on the eagerness to restore that feeling of community that was ruined during Soviet times, and at other times on the understanding of the possibilities and limitations of various art medias. Both artists and the public equally want artistic explorations which are as consistent and deep as possible, which is why the primary goal of the Lithuanian art world at the moment is organizing separate creative pursuits into a profitable structure for the artists themselves so that they could live from art and develop brilliant ideas. This section sheds light on the attempts to do precisely this.

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he Venice Bienniale is the most prestigious art event in the world. Lithuania has been participating at the Venice Biennale since 1999. That year Eglė Rakauskaitė represented Lithuania with her video installations “In Honey” and “Faces” and Mindaugas Navakas with his installation “Shelter”. The curator was the Soros Contemporary Art Centre. Beginning in 2000, the Ministry of Culture began organizing competitions for projects which are designed to represent Lithuania at the Venice Biennale. Art institutions could also participate. In 2001 the winner was Deimantas Narkevičius with his films “A Legend Come True” and “Lithuanian Energy”, and an installation entitled “Celebration - Disaster”. The project was submitted by the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius. Narkevičius’ films caught people’s eye, which was proven by the fact that two years later Francesco Bonami invited him to take part in an exhibition he was curating at the Venice Biennale. In addition, Narkevičius is the only Lithuanian artist who has received the prestigious Vincent Award established by the Stedeljik Museum in Amsterdam, which is awarded once every two years to the most distinguished European artist. In 2003, Venice Biennale Lithuania was represented by Paulius and Svajonė Stanikas. The project was also submitted by the Contemporary Art Centre, and the Stanikases invited their acquaintance an influential gallerist Christian Caujolle of Paris to be the commissioner of the pavilion (they had exhibited in Paris since 2001). The overall task of the commissioner was to make the pavilion as eye-catching as possible, and he was successful in doing this. In 2005 Lithuania was represented by Jonas Mekas with his project “Celebrations of Small and Personal in the Times of Bigness” (video installations and film reviews, Contemporary Art Information Centre). In 2007 the project Villa Lituania by Gediminas and Nomeda Urbonas was featured at the biennale. The project was submitted by the Contemporary Art Centre. It was hoped that this project would bring attention to the story of Villa Lituania in Roma, which housed the embassy of the First Republic of Lithuania during the interwar period. It was then taken by the Soviets, and later became the property of Russia. They not only used the exposition at the pavilion and art actions, but also smart marketing. Lithuania won the Golden Lion in the category of best national pavilion. In 2009, Žilvinas Kempinas represented Lithuania with his installation “Tube” (submitted by Vartai Gallery). The installation, which was made out of magnetic tape, drew the attention of foreign mass media and art lovers. After the biennale, he was given a proposal to be represented by the prestigious Yvon Lambert Gallery which has branches in Paris and New York, and in 2010 Kempinas’ artwork was included in the exhibition “On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century” at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

The first international pigeon race to win the Villa Lituania Cup, done in 10 hours and 15 min, 9 June, 2007 Photo by Urbonas Studio


In 2011 the Contemporary Art Centre decided to propose a project by Darius Mikšys entitled “Behind the White Curtain”. The artist aimed to reveal the drawbacks of the financing of culture in Lithuania during the last twenty years of independence. The project received a Special Jury Mention for its conceptually elegant and productively ambiguous framing of his nation’s art history. The pavilion at the Venice biennale uses the attention of the world in full, and adding the right marketing to an interesting work of art almost guarantees a career push for an artist.


elt earrings, beads or brooches often enrich Lithuanian women’s wardrobe and become a frequent souvenir from Lithuania thanks to a group of artists called the White Moths, a six-person team consisting of textile artists Austė Jurgelionytė, Karolina Kunčinaitė, Miglė Lebednykaitė, Rasa Leonavičiūtė, Laura Pavilonytė, and Julija Vosyliūtė who have been working together since 1998. They took an interest in felt while studying at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. In 1998, together with their professor Eglė Ganda Bogdanienė, they organized the first international felt symposium in Anykščiai, Lithuania. Its purpose was to gather information about this ancient material from the most real and authentic of resources, which led to felt artists from Scandinavia, Finland, the Baltic, Poland and Kazakhstan coming and participating in the symposium. Having learned much about the methods of felt making, the White Moths not only create traditional flat rugs and pictures, but they have adapted their techniques for creating 3-D objects. Their works often include large, sculpture-like works, as well as installations made up of felt 3-D details that are displayed both indoors or in open spaces. They also experiment with painting wool. They paint the wool as one traditionally painted cotton and silk, and in this way put their own spin on traditional color combinations for felt rugs. Their major projects, such as “Mandala”, “The Feast”, “Sheep Droppings of Wool”, “To The Forest” have been shown in a number of places, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moscow, Shanghai, Paris, Kyoto, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Düsseldorf and Warsaw. They are often asked to organize seminars and workshops. In cooperation with designer Ramunė Strazdaitė, the White Moths participated at the Fashion Infection fashion show in 2005 and 2006. The White Moths are helping to create the image of the innovative and interdisciplinary Lithuanian textile scene for a worldwide audience together with Kaunas Textile Biennale, the biggest international modern arts festival in Lithuania, which in 2011 was the most important event in Europe introducing modern textile in the interdisciplinary context.

The White Moths. “The Feast”. 2008 Photo by Modestas Ežerskis

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ulips & Roses is a contemporary art gallery that was established on Gaono Street in Vilnius’ Old Town in 2008. An influential gallery that could have an impact on the Lithuanian art market is a welcomed addition. Brothers Darius Žakaitis, a businessman and Jonas Žakaitis, a philosopher, together with Aurimė Aleksandravičiūtė worked on the conception of the gallery for a long time before the gallery opened its doors. This gallery exhibits post-conceptual art. In order to truly enjoy it, one should have a developed and refined taste. The gallery founders envisaged that the Lithuanian artists represented by the gallery would be interesting to conceptual art lovers from abroad. Thus a conscious decision was made right at the very start to interact closely with foreign art fairs, galleries and collectors, but at the same time slowly nurture the artistic tastes of the Lithuanian public. In the spring of 2009 the gallery participated in Liste, which is a section dedicated to young art that is part of ArtBasel, one of the leading art fairs in the world. The gallery has also participated at Viennafair, and in the 7mal2 project for young galleries during the Berlin Gallery Weekend. The gallery’s stand at art fairs is eye-catching because of its purity and minimalism, which has attracted art experts oversaturated by images. In the autumn the gallery participated in the Frame project, which introduced young galleries and which was part of the Frieze Art Fair in London. In addition, the gallery has participated at the Artissima Internation Art Fair in Turin and the Focus section of Art Forum Berlin. The gallery has continued its successful run at art fairs – in 2010 and 2011 they participated in ArtBasel, Liste and Viennafair, and in 2011 took part in Art Brussels and the Independent Art Fair in New York. In 2010 the gallery was one of three organizers of the Sunday Art Fair in London. In 2010 the gallery moved to Brussels, which doesn’t have so many galleries in comparison with other European capitals, but which does have a good number of art collectors. Currently the gallery represents such artists as Jesse Ash, Liudvikas Buklys, Gintaras Didžiapetris, Martijn in’t Veld, Juozas Laivys, and Rosalind Nashashibi.

Stormumriken. 2009. By Juozas Laivys Collapse, Collide, Combine An Exhibition of Small Transitions, Tulips & Roses. Vilnius. August, 2009 © Gintautas Trimakas, property of Gintautas Trimakas and Tulips & Roses, Brussels 96


he network of exhibition spaces in Lithuania consists of different parts, just like elsewhere around the world. The first branch includes state institutions that hold collections of artworks. Another branch, which is a feature unique to post-Soviet countries, are galleries belonging to that particular country’s artists’ union that are split up according to the type of art they display (i.e. paintings, graphic art, sculpture, etc.). Yet another branch represents galleries that operate under educational institutions. The fourth branch is private galleries, which possess an influential voice in fully-developed art markets. They are important because they form a selected body of art works for state and private museums. It is these state and private museums that then determine what will or not be recorded in art history. Since its foundation in 1991, Gallery Vartai has participated in numerous art fairs around the world, including Liverpool, Madrid, Vienna, and Cologne. In 2009 the gallery won the right to represent Lithuania at the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale featuring the installation “Tube” by Žilvinas Kempinas, and no one can deny that this is a significant achievement for a private gallery. The gallery launched a successful project called Artscape in 2009 on the occasion of Vilnius becoming the European Capital of Culture 2009. Artscape features joint exhibitions that show works by one Lithuanian artist and one foreign artist. The best and brightest contemporary artists from each country are a part of this project as a result of the ties the gallery it has built up over many years. In this way the work of local artists can be put side by side with those of important foreign artists and displayed in a local environment. In addition, the Lithuanian public can get acquainted with relevant developments in art abroad, while Lithuanian artists have the chance to develop contacts with successful foreign artists and find out the secret of their success. Since 2010 Gallery Vartai has been holding contemporary art auctions where one can purchase contemporary works, especially those of young artists. With this auction, the gallery is making efforts to educate collectors of modern art and fill in the gap left by the Vilnius Auction, the main art auction of the country that concentrates primarily on classical and modernist art.

Viennafair 2011. Gallery Vartai stand Installation by Žilvinas Kempinas Photo by Gallery Vartai National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



he Young Painter Prize is an annual award that was launched on the successful initiative of artist Vilmantas Marcinkevičius and art critic Julija Petkevičienė in 2009. The competition is focused on professional painters under 30 years of age. The committee consists of artists, curators, and art critics who select the works of the most promising and individual artists for the final exhibition, after which the winners of the Grand Prize and three incentive prizes are given. The Public Prize is awarded to the artist whose work wins most votes by an online vote. It is in this way that modern painting and young artists can be made more well-known to a broader public. The organizers of the competition invite an audience that includes art critics, artists, gallerists, private art patrons and collectors from Lithuania and abroad to the project’s events (an exhibition, press conference and awards’ evening ) in order to provide young artists with the best conditions to find their niche in Lithuania and support their creative potential right in their home country. The main prize includes prize money and an impetus to continue creating art in the form of a personal exhibition or a residency in Lithuania or abroad. The prizes are possible due to patrons Mindaugas Raila, Nicolas Ortiz, Dali Van Rooij Rakutytė and sponsors, which include the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK), Nida’s Art Colony, and Dailu Art Shop. The fact that the project organizers were able to persuade private individuals in Lithuania to become patrons of the arts is a considerable step towards the development of an independent art market that is not sponsored solely by the state. Interest in the project has been increasing – 28 applications were submitted in 2009, while 2010 saw 46 artists apply for the project. In 2011 the project became international, as young artists from Latvia and Estonia were invited to join. Andrius Zakarauskas was the winner of the competition in 2009. Jolanta Kyzikaitė was the main prize winner in 2010.

Exhibition of Andrius Zakarauskas, winner of the Young Painter Prize ’09, at Vilnius Academy of Arts’ Titanic Hall. 2009 98


he first Independent Drawings Gig was the first one-night drawings and live music event organized in the studio of artist Valdas Ozarinskas on 7 October, 2005 in Vilnius. The only rule of this event was that the drawings that were made had to closely reflect the live independent music that was being played, and each drawing should look as if it were one song on a CD. The most interesting thing in the case of this event is that branches of art that spring up only out of an inner motivation are juxtaposed together. Composers of indie music play for their own pleasure, and do not search for producers or publishers. Generally a drawing is the first and most enjoyable part of work for an artist, when an idea obtains a shape but the imagination is not yet constrained by the technical details. A total of 16 artists participated in the first IDG, including Lithuanian artists residing both at home and abroad (in places like London and New York), and foreign artists from London, Skopje, and the Hague. They were drawing according to the music of the project “Seul 5 am�. In November 2006, IDG was organized in Skopje, Macedonia, in September 2007 in the Hague, the Netherlands. One year later during the fall IDG travelled the world, going from Oakland on the West Coast and New York on the East Coast across Europe (the Hague, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Vilnius, Skopje and Istanbul) to Incheon, South Korea. In the fall of 2009, IDG was arranged in Rotterdam and Vilnius, and in October 2010 was once again in Vilnius. Unsurprisingly, news of this absolutely informal and alternative art event spread by word-of-mouth, a principle that indie music cherishes and adheres to. In its very essence, the open format of IDG turned into a desirable way for artists to cluster for a noncommittal creative event that is harder and harder to imagine in this competitive and individualistic world.

Independent Drawings Gig 6 Photo by National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



rt residencies are the most convenient way to reduce the distances among creative communities living in different parts of the world. The only institution that deals with art residencies in Lithuania is the Nida Art Colony (NAC), which opened its doors after reconstruction in the spring of 2011. The Nida Art Colony is a new subdivision of the Vilnius Academy of Arts. The premises were acquired in 1999 and were previously used only for student summer practices. Its reconstruction started in 2009 based on the design by the studio of Algimantas Kančas. The design reminds one of modern Scandinavian architecture. The mission of NAC was to make these premises, which are located in the unique natural habitat of the pine forests of the Curonian Spit one hundred meters from the sea, accessible to foreign artists. By promoting international cooperation, it is hoped that the quality of art and design studies will be enhanced and also that innovations will be implemented in the field of art education. The renovated building (covered a total of 1,323 square meters) houses five artist residencies, a student dormitory, two multifunctional spaces used for artistic and educational activities, a roof terrace and a digital image processing laboratory. The reconstruction of the building and opening of NAC was possible only due to the implementation of a project financed by the EEA and Norwegian Financial Mechanism Office. The primary activities of NAC are international workshops, summer schools, exhibitions, conferences, video screenings and the artist-inresidence programme. NAC will house summer workshops of the Vilnius Academy of Arts in June, July and September. An important task of NAC is to become a part of the local cultural and social fabric. Artists-in-residence are invited to become an integral part of the local cultural and social scene. The duration of a residency is one to six months. A residency can result in a show at NAC, Vilnius Academy of Arts, or one of its galleries.

Tea ceremony by artists Gwenn Ael Lynn (US) and Natalija Borissova (Russia) in a small field across from the colony. 2011 Photo by Vytautas Michelkevičius 100

Thus the 21st century art residency Nida Art Colony is trying to restore the creative potential of Nida that made it so important at the beginning of the twentieth century. During the first months of its existence, twelve artists from various European and American cities have already resided there. In addition, a symposium entitled Inter-format was held that dealt with interdisciplinary art. Also it has hosted outdoor movie nights, along with the events “Migrating Art Academies and Couch Surfing” (which involved workshops and a seminar).


he Department of Photography and Media Art was established at the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 1996. Despite the fact it is almost the youngest department at the academy, it currently has the most forward-looking vision of the studies it provides. Although photography was acknowledged as an independent branch of art in Lithuania already at the end of the 1960s, the photographers of the time (considered classics today) were self-educated, having graduated from journalism and lacking a background in technical know-how. However this was not an obstacle for the Lithuanian school of humanist photography (including such figures as Antanas Sutkus, Aleksandras Macijauskas, and Algimantas Kunčius) to win fame in the former Soviet Union and even further beyond its borders. The shortage of information and equipment was compensated by a huge desire to take photos. Thus it can be said that the Lithuanian school of photography formed much earlier than it started to be taught in higher schools of education. Lithuanian independence finally brought the possibility for professional photographers to find their niche in higher education: in 1990 a photo studio was set up at the academy, and in 1994 it changed its name and became an image studio. Then the Department of Photography and Video Art was established in 1996. The end of 2009 saw the unveiling of the newest building of the academy, which was dubbed “Titanic”, and which is home to Lithuania’s best educational institution for photography, video, audio recording, processing and editing. Photography, video art, media art, interdisciplinary art, new media art, art of sound and internet art, along with animation studies are all taught at the department.

Lecture in the photo studio of the Department of Photography and Media Art at Vilnius Academy of Arts Photo by Andrius Surgailis

A host of theoretical and practical issues of static and dynamic views, sound, interdisciplinary interaction are explored in Photography and Media Art studies courses. General subjects include art history and theory, visual communication, expression and technology of photography, new media (hypertext, multimedia), and specific issues pertaining to software. Graduates of this department, who are students of an excellent school of photography, and the only university-educated students in video and interdisciplinary art in Lithuania, are blending very well into the contemporary art scene in both Lithuania and abroad (including Andrius Rugys, Eglė Budvytytė, Ugnius Gelguda, Robertas Narkus, Akvilė Anglickaitė, and Rimas Sakalauskas among others). Understanding the principles of visual communication enables them to become the most creative authors they can be in this visual world. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



t’s only been in the last few years that the remnants of Soviet industry in Lithuanian cities as well as deserted buildings elsewhere in the country have been recognized as a potential refuge for modern arts. The greatest success story is the Ševčenka lofts that began at the beginning of the 21st century and is eagerly compared to the success story of New York’s SoHo in the 1970s. One may also remember the group Commune Art, which was a collection of artists that occupied a derelict dairy in 2008 and is now currently located in a nearby publishing house on Saltoniškių Street in Vilnius, or Klaipėda’s Culture Factory, which will soon open its doors in a renovated tobacco factory. However the most successful transformation from an abandoned building into an art incubator was definitely the Ministry of Fluxus. In 2010 it was established in the former building of the Ministry of Health on Gediminas Avenue, which is Vilnius’ main street. This was spurred by Vilnius’ ambitions to have a part of the collection of artist Jurgis Mačiūnas, one of the founders of the Fluxus movement, and also provide an inexpensive space for artists. The Ministry of Fluxus can be viewed as a vivid, bustling, and relevant branch of this purchased collection that is in constant motion, where the best and brightest people in visual art, musicians, architects, and dancers regularly share ideas. During one year the five-floor (and two-floor cellar) art incubator of the Ministry of Fluxus housed more than 60 groups of artists. The Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association (LTMKS), which had no place of its own to call home for a long time, also found a roof there. Others come for short projects or to prepare performances. There were halls for permanent expositions of visual art and design, jazz concerts, reggae and ska shows, dance lessons, performances, and old 8mm film shows. The Ministry of Fluxus has also hosted classical music concerts by NIKO, which is perhaps the most innovative orchestra of classical music around, as well as slam poetry competitions. Now the Ministry of Fluxus is moving to Kaunas, the second largest city.

Let There Be AFROLATIN Night! Ministry of Fluxus. 2011 Photo by Edgaras Stanišauskas 102


ack in 1996, the residents of Užupis, which was a shabby area at that time in Vilnius, plus the students of the Vilnius Academy of Arts and other young artists and entrepreneurs founded the Alternative Art Center. Užupis 2 association and Galera Art Gallery. Two years later Užupis proclaimed itself as an independent Republic. In 2002 the AAC and Department of Culture and Art under the Vilnius Municipality established the first art incubator in Lithuania right in Užupis, thus uniting its creative forces. Its primary goals are to provide artists (mostly painters, sculptors, photographers) with an inexpensive space for their creative work, teach them entrepreneurship and management, and also to inform, consult businessmen, investors, distributors about the activities of the residents of the incubator. To this end, a development plan for the incubator was confirmed in 2009. There are plans to open a new building in 2012 with residencies for 30-50 artists. Today Užupis, which is now well-kept and more extravagant, still boasts a unique aura, and is famous for the AAC’s events that are organized for the community and society as a whole: there are art workshops for children and young adults such as the Coast of Arts, social creative projects for women, senior citizens, and children, the Music for Little Ones Festival, and the What Are You Doing Here Festival. You cannot miss Sculpture Alley along the Vilnelė River, which regularly features new sculptures. AAC also organizes the Užupis Painting Plein-Air project. With its celebrations, art events, and lifestyle (to live means to create) Užupis created Vilnius’ version of Montmartre or Christiania.

2008 Monmartre convention at the Užupis Art Incubator in the Vilnius European Capital of Culture 2009 programme Photo by Marius Abramavicius Neboisia

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he Modern Art Centre is a private project launched by Viktoras and Danguolė Butkus in 2009. During the twenty years that Lithuania has been independent, the Lithuanian Art Museum and the National Art Gallery (which belongs to the Lithuanian Art Museum) lacked the finances necessary to accumulate a national collection of Lithuanian art. Thus both classical art from the Soviet period that was not allowed to be part of the national collection due to censorship, and classical art of the period after 1991 stayed in the workshops of artists or became part of the collections of private collectors from Lithuania and abroad. Obviously the primary goal of the MAC project was to gather all these collections that were scattered and put them in one place. A total of 10 million litas was allocated by the initiators to put together a collection of Lithuanian art works created since 1960, and today it comprises approximately 1,500 works of prominent Lithuanian artists. The construction of the museum is predicted to cost over 20 million litas and is expected to receive European Union Structural Funds. The opening of the museum is scheduled for 2015-2016. The prime movers of the museum envisaged a site near the National Art Gallery, and thereby forming an area of museums that is popular in major European cities. The National Art Gallery and Modern Art Centre would not only compete but also cooperate in common projects, combining their finances and creative forces, thus forming a strong nucleus for art. The appearance of a collector putting together a huge collection breathed life back into the Lithuanian art market. The Butkuses’ case is an example for other Lithuanian businessmen how to spend money in a creative way, and also how the well-done and extensive presentation of Lithuanian art can encourage the interest of foreign art lovers in the works of Lithuanian artists.

Modern Art Centre project “a01 architektai” image 104

The Modern Art Centre would be the first post-independence building designed for use as a museum. All other existing museums and exhibition halls were built during the interwar period or the Soviet period, thus the contest for proposing a design for the MAC was special – it provided the architectural community with a great opportunity to escape from the mundane designing of shopping malls and offices. In June 2011 it was announced that the contest winners were a group of architects from the Vilnius-based A01 architects company (Živilė Putrimaitė, Dovydas Čipkus, Marekas Mickevičius, Marius Morkūnas, Darius Romanovskij). They were awarded a prize of 50 thousand litas.


rban culture did not develop until relatively late in Lithuania due to various reasons. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, manor estates were the main centers of culture in Lithuania. However during the interwar period, their importance began to decline. The policies of the Soviet period led to their demise, as manor estates were turned into collective farms, hospitals, schools, museums, and libraries. Fate was kindest to the manor estates that became museums either during the Soviet period or immediately after it. For example, the Kretinga Museum was established in a manor estate in Kretinga, the Amber Museum in a manor estate in Palanga, and the Museum of Samogitian Art in a manor estate in Plungė. In addition, the Kelmė Regional Museum was relocated to a manor estate in Kelmė, while the Rokiškis Regional Museum was established in a manor estate in Rokiškis. Užutrakis Manor offers a wonderful program of exhibitions and chamber concerts. By turning manor estates into history museums, regional museums or art museums, one can partially ensure the preservation of their history. However the manors’ history and traditions truly comes to life when they are host to festivals, plenaries, concerts and exhibitions, which highlights the manors’ cultural value. “Art in Old Lithuanian Manors” is an international project that attempts to bring this culture to life. It is an initiative that was started by a group of artists in 2007. The aim of the initiators of the project is to create a network of exhibition spaces that can be found all over the country, which would allow for the regular promotion of the arts in the regions. For example, exhibitions are organized at Trakų Vokė Manor, the Raudonė Castle estate, and the Kelmė Regional Museum.

Exhibition “Beauty Came To Me...” at the Užutrakis Manor Estate. 2009 Archives of the Trakai Historical National Park Board

Since the end of the 20th century, the manors have increasingly been returned to their heirs or sold to private individuals. The new owners, who are investing in objects with significant historical heritage, understand their responsibility – they have the possibility to invest not only in real estate but also in the fostering of culture. There are successful examples where manors have gradually become centers of culture after undergoing a complete renovation, such as Bikuškis Manor and Skaraitiškės Manor, where the owners of the manors organize painting and sculpture plenaries. Žeimiai Manor, which is located in the Jonava District, is home to “Ars communis” and “ŽemAt” (Žeimiai College of Aesthetic Thought and Anonymity), and also hosts art events that are connected to the manor and the town of Žeimiai. Norviliškės Castle is the host of the Be2gether Festival, the biggest international music and art festival in Lithuania which got its start in 2007. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



Arts Printing House Incubator (Menų spaustuvės inkubatorius) Šiltadaržio Str. 6, Vilnius Užupis Arts Incubator (Užupio meno inkubatorius) Užupio Str. 2 and Krivių Str. 10, Vilnius Anykščiai Arts Incubator – Art Studio (Anykščių menų inkubatorius – Menų studija) J. Biliūno Str. 53, Anykščiai, phone: +370 381 59089 Telšiai Arts Incubator (Telšių meno inkubatorius) Muziejaus Str. 29, Telšiai, phone: +370 444 54659, e-mail Park of Creative Industries – Centre of Architecture (Kūrybinių industrijų parkas – Architektūros centras) Kalvarijų Str. 1, Vilnius, phone: +370 680 99800 Klaipėda Culture Factory (Klaipėdos kultūros fabrikas) Bangų Str. 5a, Klaipėda Incubator of Audiovisual Arts Industry (Audiovizualinių menų industrijos inkubatorius) Village Bareikiškės, Rutkainiai Borough, Vilnius District Municipality Raudondvaris Estate Arts Incubator (Raudondvario dvaro menų inkubatorius) Lithuanian Artists Association’s Arts Incubator “The Harbour of Art” (Lietuvos dailininkų sąjungos menų inkubatorius Meno uostas) S. Dariaus ir S. Girėno Str., Vilnius Šiauliai Arts Incubator, former factory of Chaim Frenkel (Šiaulių menų inkubatorius, buvęs Chaimo Frenkelio fabrikas), Šiauliai



ts mission is to promote entrepreneurial skills in the region’s creative society, to develop cooperation among the citizens of Anykščiai, the regional and the art community, to implement projects of visual and applied arts, literature, dance, theatre and music with participation of artists not only from Lithuania but from foreign countries as well, as well as propagating the culture of the town and the country, developing joint projects with artistic youth institutions, shaping a creative and active generation of young artists and expanding the work of creative industries. The main goal is to provide incubating services to entities related to art, to promote development of creative arts and establishment of art-related small and medium-sized enterprises, creating favourable conditions for their growth. The budget of the project is LTL 5,513,403. The project will include reconstruction of the building of cultural heritage at J.Biliūno Str. 53 in Anykščiai. It was built in the 20th century and used to house an art school where famous artists of Lithuania studied. Twenty one business entities will settle in the incubator under preferential conditions. There will be halls designed for exhibitions, conferences, events, a gallery, an arts club, various workshops and so on. According to the plans, of the total floor space of the building and its extension, which stands at 1,504.66 square metres, 1,104. 64 square metres will be dedicated to accommodate the needs of artists.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



e will help turn creative talent into income. Public enterprise Telšiai Arts Incubator has just finished implementation of the first stage of the project Providing Favourable Working Conditions for Young Artists and Art-Related Enterprises in Telšiai Region and now invites representatives of small and medium-sized creative businesses to rent furnished premises with internet access. Facilities available to rent: • Offices in the newly constructed penthouse, complete with furniture and internet access. • Ground-floor premises suitable for performance arts: a hall for staging events and floor space for rehearsals. These facilities are perfectly suited for setting up a theatre, a dance academy, as well as hosting various events, and so on. • Two galleries with furniture, display systems, a special lighting system designed for exposition and storage space. Equipment purchases are currently in progress to outfit leasable premises for: • A fashion design studio • A jewellery centre • Metal workshops and woodworks All the premises have separate electricity and heating meters in place. Having successfully finished the implementation of the project of its expansion, Telšiai Arts Incubator will bring the artists community closer together and will promote the growth of the creative industries in Telšiai region. The description of the Telšiai Arts Incubator project has been uploaded to the database of the European Commission’s cultural and creative industries at work group at http://, which offers the best examples of projects from different countries.



he country’s first and only architecture incubator called Architektūros Centras is being founded under the Architects’ Association of Lithuania. The purpose of this incubator is to provide a place and conditions for young architects and artists from closely related fields to share new ideas, try them out, experiment, start to develop their business working together with artists from various fields, and join international projects. The design market is becoming tight not only in Lithuania but also in all European Union, requiring new skills: those of communication, art of negotiation, entrepreneurship, awareness of new programs, and so on. To that end, an important project has been launched, involving the reconstruction of the palace of Hilarijus Raduškevičius, known as the Chateau. After the reconstruction, the Chateau will have 2,320 square metres of space, compared to the 1,640 square-metre floor space that it commands right now. Finally, architects will have enough space for the exposition of their works and the hosting of various exhibitions. The architecture incubator Architektūros Centras will consist of the Architecture Incubator which will provide the biggest chunk of rented space for resident architects and other young artists, as well as the Centre of Communications, the Centre of Creative Services, and the Information Centre, which will provide auxiliary services. The target groups of the Architecture Incubator (artists and business people related to art) will be as follows: • Architectural artists (urban designers, architects, landscape architects, designers, interior designers, other designmakers), • Artists of visual arts (including curators and art managers), • Music (sound installation, composition of sound and music, sound and music performance) artists, • Cinema, photography, new media artists and others.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania



fter the reconstruction of the old tobacco factory in KlaipÄ—da (under the program of support of the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Lithuania) is finished in the autumn of 2012, representatives of the main cultural and creative sections will move in to the old five-storey building of the factory. Enterprises and provider of architectural and design, new media, stage arts and music and other creative services will reside under one roof. As far as the ground floor of the old building is concerned, there are plans to rent some of the premises to a bar/club, some small space will be provided to display and sell the works created in the incubator. The idea behind the Culture Factory is to promote not only the usage, but also the creation, production, reproduction and selling of culture as well. The nearby space on Jonas Hill will be used for various events. The newly constructed extension will contain a zone for cultural and art events with a 120-seat cinema hall and a 200-seat multi-functional hall and a rehearsals chamber. The total area of the Culture Factory facility is about 4,300 square meters, 2,300 square meters of which will be rented out under a long-term contract (for up to 5 years). The goal of the reconstruction project (worth approximately LTL 11 million or EUR 3,2 million) is to provide appropriate working conditions for representatives of various sections of cultural and creative industries; to encourage cooperation between artists and creative businesses. During the first 3 years of work, the executives of the project promised to help set up at least 30 new enterprises of the creative business in the creative incubator. The organizer of the project and the future operator of the property is the public enterprise KlaipÄ—da Economic Development Agency.



he main goal of this project is to create a modern infrastructure for the training of top-quality cinema and TV professionals using the creative potential of the Vilnius Academy of Arts and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre as well as to provide an opportunity for young graduate professionals to develop their skills. To that end, a modern educational facility for audiovisual arts that meets the contemporary requirements is going to be established on the premises of the Lithuanian Film Studio in Village BareikiĹĄkÄ—s, Vilnius district. The total space of the premises suitable for the incubator is 1,981.36 square meters. The founders are the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Vilnius Academy of Arts, the Lithuanian Film Studio. The reconstruction is scheduled to kick off in June 2011. The end of the reconstruction is scheduled for December 2012.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania


The National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania: Goals and Activities

The National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries was established in Lithuania in 2008. Currently, it has more than 60 members, including universities training specialists for the sector of creative industries, the Institute for Cultural Research, socialcreative communities, arts incubators and clusters, NGOs, over 10 associations of creative and cultural organizations, business enterprises, eminent artists, etc. Activities of the Association members in the sector of creative and cultural industries vary greatly and cover the film industry, the arts market, the performing arts market, advertising, the music industry, the software and games industry, broadcasting, design and publishing, publicity and media, legal and consulting services, creative community activities, cinema production and education, art gallery activities, higher education, social research and many more.

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania

Main goals of the Association: • bringing together artists, creative organizations and communities, representatives of business, arts, education and science, national, regional and international organizations, etc.; • promoting creative activities in Lithuania to enhance a prestige of creative professions in the society with the help of national and EU institutions; • establishing “The Forum of Economics of Creativity”, a forum for ideas and discussions, where representatives from various creative areas could communicate, shape their views and search for ideas; • fostering the development of creative and cultural industries; promoting and collecting information on trends in education, science and culture; running international projects; hosting workshops; procuring materials facilities necessary for creating arts and science innovations, etc.;

• representing and upholding the interests of the Association members at public institutions and in the private sector; • promoting and coordinating the transfer of creative production of the Association members to business entities; • striving for effective national and European investments in the development of the creative industries sector; • joining international associations, networks of creative industries. Main activities of the Association: • consulting the Association members on business management; • issuing legal advice to the Association members on issues like copyright, among other things; • initiating projects, fostering collaboration among the members of the Association; • holding national and international

conferences on creative industries; • holding training courses for the Association members aimed at improving their managerial, fundraising, marketing skills, legal knowledge, etc.; • collecting and promoting information on creative industries in Lithuania; • performing feasibility studies on creative industries; • engaging in lobbyism by defending the interests of the Association members, etc. The National Complex Programme Lithuania’s Creative and Cultural Industries Considering the rapid growth of the creative industries sector in Lithuania, the universities training specialists in the field (the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius Academy of Arts, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and Vytautas Magnus University in particular) are seeking to improve the system of

studies and science in order to foster a closer-than-before integration of arts, science, studies and business in Lithuania. In order to achieve this goal, in 2008 the above mentioned universities together with some other members of the National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries – other institutions of science and studies, social-creative communities, as well as creative organizations – prepared a feasibility study called Lithuania’s Creative and Cultural Industries. This study grounds the importance of the National Complex Programme Lithuania’s Creative and Cultural Industries for the long-term growth of the Lithuanian economy and the assurance of a faster integration into the European economic and cultural structures. At the end of 2009, the projects of the National Complex Programme Lithuania’s Creative and Cultural

Industries were awarded LTL 9.2 million (equivalent of EUR 2.7 million) for the period of 2010-2011 by the Ministry of Education and Science in Lithuania. The funding is aimed at developing tertiary education studies; improving qualification of researchers; creating and renewing the technological and information base for science research and artistic practice, etc. – all things related to creative industries. In 2010 and 2011, the National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries organized two international conferences, “Culture and Creativity for the Advancement of Lithuania” and “Creativity and Partnership as Basic Elements of Innovations”. In 2012, arts incubators will kick off, fuelled with more than LTL 68 million in funding, including nearly LTL 56 million of finance from the European Union Funds.

Members of the National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania 1. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilniaus Gedimino technikos universitetas),

17. Lithuanian Filmmakers’ Union (Lietuvos kinematografininkų sąjunga),,

2. Institute for Social Studies (Socialinių tyrimų institutas),

18. Public enterprise Jutempus (VšĮ „Jutempus“),

3. Public enterprise Telšiai Arts Incubator (VšĮ „Telšių meno inkubatorius“),

19. Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (Lietuvos muzikos ir teatro akademija), 20. Idee Fixe Ltd (UAB “Idee Fixe”),

4. Public enterprise “KiNo Kontora” (VšĮ „KiNo Kontora“),

21. Gallery XX2 Ltd (UAB „Galerija XX2“),

5. Apostrofa Ltd (UAB „Apostrofa“),

22. Baltic Production Companies Association,

6. Arkadij Gotesman, artist,

23. Viktorija Žilinskaitė,

7. Arti-Design Ltd (UAB „Arti-Dizainas“),

24. Vilmantas Marcinkevičius, painter,

8. Lithuanian Graphic Design Association (Lietuvos grafinio dizaino asociacija),

25. Association of Culture, Business and Civil Initiative of Vilnius Region “The Bear Has Arrived” (Vilniaus krašto kultūros, verslo ir pilietinės iniciatyvos asociacija „Atvažiavo meška“),,

9. Public enterprise Consultants of Relations of Communities (Všį „Bendruomenių santykių konsultantai“), 10. Infosistema Ltd (UAB „Infosistema“), 11. Ekspobalta Ltd (UAB „Ekspobalta“),, 12. Public enterprise Gallery of the Artists‘ Association (Všį „Dailininkų sąjungos galerija“), 13. Aušra Petroškienė, artist, 14. Ultra Nominum Ltd (UAB „Ultra Nominum“),,

26. Daiva Gasiūnienė, 27. Lithuanian Art Gallerists‘ Association (Lietuvos meno galerininkų asociacija), 28. Audrius Gražys, painter, 29. Roma Barauskienė, 30. KOMAA Association of Communication Agencies of Lithuania (Lietuvos komunikacijos agentūrų asociacija), 31. Contraforma Ltd (UAB „Contraforma“),

15. Public enterprise Beehive of Art (Všį „Meno avilys“),

32. Association “Community of Užupis” (Asociacija „Užupio bendruomenė“),

16. LUES Culture and Arts Education Institute (VPU kultūros ir meno edukologijos institutas),

33. Public enterprise Klaipėda Economic Development Agency (VŠĮ „Klaipėdos ekonominės plėtros agentūra“),

National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania

34. Public enterprise Anykščiai Arts Incubator (VŠĮ „Anykščių menų inkubatorius“),, 35. Centre of Artistic Processing of Metal Ltd (UAB „Metalo meninio apdirbimo centras“), 36. Jūratė Zabielaitė, lawyer, 37. Vilnius Technologies and Design School (Vilniaus technologijų ir dizaino kolegija),

50. Mindaugas Morkūnas, 51. Lithuanian Journalists’ Association (Lietuvos žurnalistų sąjunga) 52. Public limited company Pramprojektas (AB „Pramprojektas“), 53. University of Applied Sciences (Vilniaus kolegija),

38. Vytautas Magnus University (Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas),

54. Training Centre for the Culture Workers of Lithuania (Lietuvos kultūros darbuotojų tobulinimosi centras),

39. Užupis Arts Incubator (Užupio meno inkubatorius),

55. Firidas Ltd (UAB „Firidas“),,

40. VMG Ltd (UAB „Vakarų medienos grupė“),

56. Vilnius Cinema Cluster Ltd (UAB „Vilniaus kino klasteris“),,

41. Public enterprise Muzikos vartai, 42. University of Applied Sciences (Alytaus kolegija),, 43. Vilnoja, VO, 44. Lithuanian Artistic Creators’ Union, (Lietuvos meno kūrėjų asociacija), 45. Lithuanian Writers’ Union (Lietuvos rašytojų sąjunga), 46. Lithuanian Composers’ Union (Lietuvos kompozitorių sąjunga), 47. Lithuanian Publishers’ Association (Lietuvos leidėjų asociacija), 48. Public enterprise Ballet and Dance School of Nerijus Juška (VšĮ „Nerijaus Juškos baleto ir šokio mokykla“), 49. Public enterprise Cinema Boutique Pasaka (VšĮ “Kino pasaka”),

57. Saulius Paukštys, artist, 58. Public enterprise Global Innovation Studio, 59. Lithuanian Culture Research Institute (Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas), 60. Arūnas Augustinaitis, 61. Ramojus Reimeris, 62. Rasa Levickaitė, 63. Creative Industry Students‘ Association (Kūrybinių industrijų studentų asociacija), 64. Tautvydas Kaltenis, designer, 65. Independent Producers’ Association (Nepriklausomų prodiuserių asociacija), 66. Vilnius Academy of Arts,

Maps of Creative Industries The map of creative industries in Vilnius:

The map of creative industries in Klaipėda:

The publication has been prepared in the framework of the project “Strengthening of an Association in Charge of Coordination of a National Integrated Programme of the Creative and Cultural Industries”. Project was developed as a part of the EU 2007-2013 programming period Structural Fund support measure “Strengthening of the Scientific Research and Technical Development Networks and Associations”. National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries in Lithuania

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