Lithuania-Poland-Russia ENPI Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007-2013
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Close Strangers – Kaliningrad, Gdansk and Klaipeda – join forces to become artistically and culturally acquainted

The Joint Managing Authority of the Programme signed grant contract on co-financing with Baltic Branch of the National Center of Contemporary Arts of the Russian Federation, situated in the Kaliningrad region. Previously in 2010 the Branch of the Center acting as a lead partner submitted a proposal in the field of cultural development under a symbolic title “Close Stranger: promoting mutual understanding between population of Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Klaipeda through facilitation of exchange in the field of contemporary arts and culture”. The proposal was developed within Measure 2.2 aiming at development of human potential in the sphere of national and international cultural education. The total budget of the action is 873.795,59 euro whereas the Programme’s contribution comes to 88% – 768.940,12 euro.

The project was designed in close cooperation of cultural institutions presenting all three neighbouring Programme countries – the Baltic Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts from Kaliningrad, Russia Municipal public cultural institution Centre for Contemporary Arts «Laznia» form Polish city Gdansk and Municipal public cultural institution Klaipeda Culture Communication Centre from Lithuania. The latter two organizations act as partners within the project.

The project is urged to contribute to realisation of strategic objectives of the Programme developing contemporary culture exchange in the neighbouring areas thus promoting mutual understanding between the population of three partner cities, where people jointly act to preserve and enhance the most important assets of their territories such as cultural heritage and human potential. Activities which are planned within the implementation period of the Action are specifically destined to facilitate tripartite exchange within cross-border network of institutions and individuals working in the field of contemporary arts and culture and spread information about current artistic, cultural and social issues in Russia, Poland and Lithuania among the residents of Kaliningrad, Gdansk and Klaipeda. The project partners will jointly organize cultural events and unique artistic products that will help to overcome mental and cultural barriers and prejudices hampering integration of the Programme area. It also challenges peripheral image of cultural life in three targeted cities and aims to raise the regions’ attractiveness by creating commin interesting, inspiring and attractive trans-border territory for cultural interchange. Partners believe that the project shall help to facilitate the access to information on contemporary art and culture of neighbouring states and raise their awareness of the local population about current artistic, cultural and social processes.

Project “Close Stranger” has easily definable target groups that include local curators of contemporary art exhibitions and cultural projects, art training specialists acting in the region and managers of the project partner organizations, culture workers and independent artists in different art fields, local officials from Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Klaipeda responsible for cultural development of their regions, regular persons interested in contemporary art. Number of final beneficiaries of the project’s activities can be widened to encompass the inhabitants of the partner cities, tourist operators and visitors of the region, shortly all persons not-indifferent to cultural and artistic development of the area.

Main activities of the project are as follow:

1. Organization of a kick-off project meeting in Kaliningrad (Russia).

2. Exchange of exhibitions of Russian, Polish and Lithuanian contemporary art.

3. Joint development of three art, cultural and educational projects on historical, cultural and social issues relevant to all three regions of the project including interdisciplinary art project “Close Stranger: rethinking the region through contemporary arts”, art residencies in partner cities for visual and sound artists from Poland, Kaliningrad and Lithuania, several “Close Stranger” exhibitions and joint project on transformation of public space and exchange of experience in education and community development programs.

4. Development of on-line database “Kulturpolis” as the single cross-border information space on contemporary art and culture in Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Klaipeda.

5. Upgrade of technical facilities of the applicant and partners.

6. Organization of four coordination trips for the Applicant – two to each partner – in order to ensure smooth project implementation, planning, monitoring and reporting.

Source: www.lt-pl-ru.eu