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20 contemporary art projects to make Vilnius more attractive: announcement of the winners of Create Vilnius

Vilnius is the capital of creative people! Launched for the first time by the City of Vilnius, a new inclusive public art sponsorship programme Create Vilnius attracted a large response: 120 innovative, bright, unique urban art bids came from the residents of Vilnius offering ideas on how to make their city more attractive through. most diverse artistic forms: from a robot guide to installations and the touchable invisible Internet.

The City of Vilnius and its expert commission thoroughly evaluated all the proposals and selected as many as 20 successful bids. The experts of performing arts, architecture, art criticism and cultural heritage as well as public figures were faced with a difficult task of choosing a few dozen from 120 most unique projects to be funded by the City, which is ready to allocate all in all EUR 500 000 for the programme. What the commission was looking at was artistic quality, the content, relevance to the area, punchiness, aesthetic and social value for the environment and the reasonability of the budget.

Applications were welcome from both experienced and renowned artists as well as the beginners. Applicants were not only from Vilnius but also from Austria, Italy and Estonia. The most popular bids were about building decorations and statues. Social-artistic projects were considered too by the commission.

“We have created a new art support programme Create Vilnius with a view to spreading different forms of art across the entire city not only its centre. As a result, Vilnius will get unexpected solutions and it will become more engaging and inclusive for both the locals as well as the visitors, similarly to London, New York and other cities of the world, known for contemporary art in public spaces”, said Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.

The projects are expected to bring in more playfulness not only in the city centre, Naujamiestis and the Old Town but also in other districts of the city: Viršuliškės, Antakalnis, Šeškinės, Pilaitė, Kirtimai, Šnipiškės. Our public transport will also be subject to artistic ideas. Following the funding, the projects will take 1,5 years to fruition.

Top 20 to make Vilnius more attractive

One of the best scorers is the Open Gallery contemporary art project in Naujamiestis, where all the buildings in the area between the streets of Švitrigailos, Kauno, Vytenio and Panerių will turn into art works. The Open Gallery with at least 9 new art pieces is promising to become one of the most frequented spaces in Europe in the future.

Everyone knows the legendary egg at Pylimo street. Projected as a temporary item traveling across various urban areas, renovated each year, the egg has by now turned into a symbol marking the local identity. Jurgis Dagelis, one of the applicants of the current competition, has decided to improve the egg, making it a mechanised acoustic element of transformation in movement, sound and light.

Building No 24 on Vilnius street in the Old Town, will profit from an installation Windows of Vilnius by Dovilė Bagdonaitė. At night, when it is dark, a puzzle will appear on the building, and if a word key is found, you will see a poem.

Once brought to fruition, sculptor Mykolas Sauka’s idea will turn Viršuliškės Forest Park into a unique, dreamlike and a very special place. Unusual statues will give real meaning to the people that are invisible but very important faces of Viršuliškės.

Much attention is still given to Antakalnis: the contemporary art association will put to work a robot guide in Sapiegos Park to tell stories about Vilnius to the visitors while moving autonomously around the area.

The Lithuanian Artists’ Association will decorate with unique drawings the exterior of the Antakalnis’ buildings owned by the City of Vilnius.

A new location identifier will appear next to the old Vilnius water-area, which will be created by UAB AEXN. The metal water tank that still speaks of the bitter Soviet reality, will serve not only as an indication to the old Vingrių water sources and the water well but also to the MO Museum that will soon open its doors to the visitors. Decorated with water lily images embroidered with an archaic cross embroidery technique, the tank will symbolise purity and cleanliness.

Painting Routers have proposed to make an original decoration to five Vilnius trolleybuses with ten different paintings by young Lithuanian and Estonian artists.

Public Enterprise Democratic Community Resources will decorate Vilnius with a sculptural symbol dedicated to Kazimieras Simonavičius, an inventor of rockets, who published the Great Artillery Art in the Netherlands back in 1648 and soon became famous throughout Europe. The speciality of this proposal is that it is going to engage an unexpected urban area of the city – Kirtimai, and the artwork will be visible to all those traveling from Vilnius airport – the gates of the City.

The author of the project Memory Collectors Jurga Macinauskaitė will definitely raise eyebrows: an apartment building on Stepono street will feature a composition of tubes extending at different lengths from the wall of the house. It speaks of thousands of people with their stories and experiences on this street.

The project B A U B A S is a joint effort by the educators from the Lithuanian Democratic Education College, artists and designers, which will turn the street artwork into a genuine gallery with lighting, history, soundtracks and maps. There will be an interactive competition published on social networks so that all are engaged in the happening.

At certain points on the busiest places in Vilnius, we will see Loreta Vaskova’s 1,2,3 retreat – an installation and ten stops aimed at helping us bring our stress down. Just scan the barcode and you will get instructions on stress-relief exercise applied at the theatre.

Lina Šlipavičiūtė-Černiauskienė’s project Memory of the Walls will find its place in the historic Jewish Quarter of the capital. Drawings on the walls of historic buildings will bring back five episodes from the life of the Jews in the interwar period. They will speak not only of the atrocities of the Holocaust but also of the peaceful, happy life of the Jewish community in Vilnius.

The façade of the City of Vilnius at the very centre of the capital will be decorated by Gitenis Umbrasas’s mosaic portraying St. Christopher, the patron of Vilnius, as a medium between the worlds of chaos and that of heavenly order.

The community of Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts will build a Blue Belt, i.e. a loop-shaped jogging path, next to the K29 Business Centre. The solid dark blue colour will blend in with the circular dynamics of the buildings and traffic nodes. In the dark, the loop will shine with a special ultraviolet light.

Simonas Šerkšnas will create Šeškinės Arch: a viaduct wall above the heavy traffic street emphasising city’s rhythm and growth. It will be like a gateway to many districts, and its vibrant colours have been chosen to contrast the accustomed grey in the architecture of the sleeping district.

Another project selected by the commission will decorate the public space next to St. Ona church. Here, architect Gediminas Antanas Sakalis, sculptor Gediminas Piekuras and architect Algirdas Rasimavičius will build an artistic-sculptural accent ONA. At the same time, it would be a great tool for people with visual impairment to know and experience anew the most outstanding places of the Old Town and their qualities in terms of the size and aesthetics.

VŠĮ Innovative Creative Projects will paint a trolleybus and a police car on a high-rise car park in Pilaitė. It will organically integrate into the environment, graphically repeating the lines of the building and fill the empty space in the structure of modern architecture.

Sculptor Arvydas Ališanka will create a three-element tree-shaped structure of the world The Tree of Life. It will symbolise the growth and continuous renewal of Vilnius.

UAB Architektūros linija is ready to create a memorable sign and a square in Naujamiestis at the crossroads of Vivulskio and Vytenio streets for the architect Antanas Vivulskis.

The projects were scrutinised by: the Head of the Department of Exhibitions of Contemporary Art Centre Dr. Ūla Tornau, Member of the Board of Vilnius Division of the Lithuanian Architects’ Union Tadas Balčiūnas, Dean of the Faculty of Higher Studies of Vilnius Academy of Arts Assoc. Prof. Romualdas Kučinskas, lecturer at the Faculty of History of Vilnius University Dr. Norbertas Černiauskas, journalist and, traveller Vytaras Radzevičius, Chair of the Lithuanian Artists’ Union Edita Radvilavičiūtė-Utarienė.

“It is exhilarating that art in this competition has stepped out beyond the usual spaces spreading across various urban areas. There have been a number of bids to turn the mundane urban elements into art, thus bringing art closer to the people and thereby shaping a close relation between the public and the culture. Environment-related proposals as regards landscaping, introducing smart technologies, innovative solutions, light and sound effects were also very welcome”, said chair of the commission Edita Radvilavičiūtė-Utarienė.

The winners of the programme are welcome at the consultation on 19 February, at 5 pm. at a Youth Information Centre of the City of Vilnius. We will talk about putting in practice the successful projects and how this will make Vilnius more attractive and engaging.

Mayor of Vilnius

For centuries, Vilnius has been a welcoming place for the peaceful coexistence of free citizens, while perfectly combining its magnificent history, spectacular natural environment and vibrant creativity. ❯❯❯
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