Lithuanian Capitals of Culture
The project’s aims are to stimulate cultural development, activity and creativity, expand the cultural accessibility in municipalities, especially in regions and small cities, to involve local communities and institutions into cultural partnerships projects, to stimulate international cooperation, etc.
Inspired by the idea of the European Capital of Culture and seeking to promote the cultural activity and creativity of the residents of Lithuanian regions, the Ministry of Culture started the project "The Lithuanian Capital of Culture" in 2008, which is aimed to develop culture and arts, creative industries and expand access to culture. Any town of Lithuania, except Vilnius, selected in a competition may become a Lithuanian Capital of Culture for one year. Having announced one definite town as a Lithuanian Capital of Culture, the project receives state financing for one year for a programme of various cultural events, which represent the region in the best possible way, with craft events, arts and other forms of culture.
In evaluating the applications of towns, the projects are selected taking into account the following features:
- encouraging the development of various artistic and cultural activities
- contributing to the expansion/creation of a local identity and image by continuing the cultural traditions of the town and region
- involving various groups of residents in an active cultural activities
- attraction of business and other private sources.
In 2015, another competitive project – "The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture" – was initiated and started by the Ministry of Culture and the community of Naisiai village. The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture competition is announced and organised by the Union of Rural Communities of Lithuania. It is a project that stimulates small villages to be involved in cultural life and creative processes.
- Stronger positions of culture in regional development policies.
- More culturally active and creative Lithuanian towns (the project was implemented in Anykščiai in 2012, Palanga – 2013, Panevėžys – 2014 and Žagarė – 2015).
- Wider access of communities of these towns to creative initiatives and cultural processes.
- Development of cultural tourism in the regions.
- Inclusion of various social groups in the activities of the Capitals of Culture.
In 2012-2015 232 000 EUR was allocated.
Every year, the reports of the Capital of Culture projects are evaluated by the specialists of the Ministry of Culture, discussing them with the culture administrators at the municipalities.
The Lithuanian Capitals of Culture programme is an effective means to stimulate cultural processes in the regions.