Vilnius European Capital of Culture 2009
In 2009 the Lithuanian capital Vilnius held the title of European Capital of Culture (ECOC), which was the biggest, and the most ambitious culturai project in Lithuania to date. Promoting diversity of culturaI expressions was at the heart of this project because one of its main goals was to involve citizens and communities in the culturaI process. The slogan of Vilnius European Capital of Culture 2009 was 'Culture Live' which claimed that art and culture are constantly changing and are an ever-developing process involving everyone in the action, be they culture professionals, devoted admirers, city visitors or just passers-by. Organisers of Vilnius ECOC also aimed to encourage culturaI exchange: to promote culture and art of other European countries in Lithuania and vice versa as weIl as to encourage partnerships between Lithuanian cultural operators and culturaI operators from other countries.
One of the most prominent projects in the framework of Vilnius ECOC 2009 was ARTscape. The project introduced the most unique contemporary visual arts, jazz and cinema representatives from 12 European Capitals of Culture. Their works were presented together with the works of 12 representatives of the same fields of art in Lithuania. The purpose of this intensive programme, which lasted for 18 months, was to build culturai links between former, existing and future Capitals of Culture.
Another project which promoted the diversity of culturaI expressions was European School of Arts. The project consisted of two parts: creative workshops and residencies for young artists, and cooperation projects between higher schools of art. Creative workshops and long-term residency programmes covered all fields of art: cinema, media, theatre or dance, visual and applied arts, music, literature and translation. Young artists from Lithuania and foreign countries worked together and presented their works to Vilnius citizens and guests, and art school students implemented cooperation projects. New feature and documentary films and performances about Vilnius were created, hospitals were rejuvenated with works created by artists together with the patients; students offered public area management and design solutions, whereas writers searched for inspiration while wandering the streets of Vilnius. The European School of Arts invited Vilnius, and guests to participate in artistic games, which introduced new art trends, and teams of artists competed for the Audience Choice Prize.
In general Vilnius European Capital of Culture 2009 offered around 1,000 events. Some of the biggest events have now become annual ones, namely Street Music Day and Culture night 'Let There Be Night'.
ECOC 2009 was important to Lithuania as an experience of creating, developing and managing a large-scale project. Moreover, ECOC 2009 once again proved that an active, vitaI, thriving culturai sector, access to artistic skiIls and knowledge enriches individuais and communities and raises the role of culture in people's lives and consequently turns the attention of governments to the field of culture.
The Ministry of Culture and Vilnius Municipality were responsible for carrying out the project of Vilnius Capital of Culture 2009.