It has been twelve years since a Lithuanian city was the European Capital of Culture. The grand opening of “Kaunas 2022” took place on January 22nd. Around 40 festivals, more than 60 exhibitions, more than 250 stage events, and more than 250 concerts will occur in Kaunas and Kaunas District in 2022.
Kaunas and Kaunas District have been getting ready for the most crucial cultural title of the continent for five years now – it can be said the international project has already proven to be a success. The change has taken place; the city, together with smaller towns surrounding it and the communities that make up the body and soul of Kaunas, have all activated themselves. The celebration of the uprising and creating the new history of Contemporary Capital are the key topics for 2022.
Europe was for centuries an extraordinary network of cities. Cities whose cultural exchanges were as rich and vibrant as their commercial exchanges. Cities like Kaunas.Charles Michel, President of the European Council
Since 1985, when the European Capital of Culture program was launched, nobody has yet proposed a vision like this. The theme of “Kaunas 2022” gives meaning to the road to the awakening of the city and its people. It’s the biggest co-creation festival of all since day one – the majority of the time, ideas and finances is dedicated to bringing as many people closer to culture as possible.
It’s also an educational project, as hundreds of culture professionals and enthusiasts and representatives of the young generation have already gained new skills, which guarantees the continuity of the project and quality future for Kaunas and Kaunas District.
What also makes “Kaunas 2022” unique is creating a new myth for the city to help it change its path. The Mythical Beast of Kaunas – a project designed to create a unifying narrative for the city – will unfold in next year’s great mythical trilogy comprised of the Confusion (January 19–23), the Confluence (May 20–22), and the Contract (November 25–27).
In the European Union, there is no center and periphery. Today, Kaunas is more than ever the beating heart of Europe.Charles Michel, President of the European Council
The three main events are co-created by artists from Lithuania and abroad; they incorporate the ideas of historical personalities from Kaunas into the new work – names like George Maciunas and Emmanuel Levinas. Among the programme participants are Marina Abramovic, Philip Miller, William Kentridge, Yoko Ono, Jenny Kagan, Robert Wilson and many others.
Each branch of “Kaunas 2022” has its own superstars, some of whom are still on their way to international fame – Kaunas and Kaunas District, as one big European stage, will become their trampoline.
Annual festivals already launched by Kaunas 2022 will reach their culmination, such as the International Day of Happiness (March), the European Capital of Culture Forum (May), Contemporary Neighbourhoods (all summer long in Kaunas elderships), the European Youth Festival (July), the international performing arts festival ConTempo (August), Fluxus Festival (September), the Kaunas Design Event in celebration of its title as a UNESCO Creative City of Design (October), and the CityTelling Festival, which reconsiders the multiethnic memory of Kaunas and the people who built it every October.