Homegrown talent inspires cultural industry

The Art without Borders project draws on the creations and renown of two local artists, providing impetus to the development of the cultural industry in Latvia and Belarus. Marc Chagall (Belarus) and Mark Rothko (Latvia) have made their mark on the art world and are now the inspiration behind efforts to boost cooperation between the twin cities of Daugavpils (LV) and Vitebsk (BY).

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Children take part in one of many cultural activities promoted locally Children take part in one of many cultural activities promoted locally

"I’ve enjoyed attending the International Children and Youth Summer Art School at Marc Chagall’s museum in Vitebsk as part of the project “Art without borders”. It was a great opportunity to meet young international artists, share experience and find inspiration in the native town of world famous artist Marc Chagall"
Renate Jurjeva, Daugavpils Secondary Art School “Saules skola” student.

Historically, there has been much contact between these two cities given their geographical locations. By drawing on their common history and also the unique talent of two of the region’s most famous painters, the project is contributing to the development of the local cultural industry. Reading and art exhibitions, as well as events for children and youth, are just some of the many features of this project, which saw more than 4 000 people take part.

The voice of art echoes across borders

The partnership between Daugavpils City Council (Latvia) and the Culture Department, Vitebsk City Executive Committee (Belarus) played a key role in the project, supporting project activities and implementing joint cultural activities, in turn leading to better accessibility to art across the border. The project highlighted that art has its own language, where even borders are no obstacle to communication.

Tapping into the pool of local talent

The project organisers recognised that for local talent to blossom, there was a need for inspiring events and opportunities. One such event was the international children and youth summer art school at the M. Chagall Home Museum in Vitebsk, where 27 youngsters learned to paint, dance and think in the language of art. Other events drew keen visitors and participants, including the 2 000 who visited the Daugavpils Regional and Art Museum where works of Vitebsk-born Chagall were exhibited as well as the 14 international painters who came to Daugavpils, Rothko’s native town, to work creatively together.

Promoting art and talent

To capture a wide audience, the project partners used a variety of media, including the updated website of Chagall's museum, press releases in local and regional media, TV & radio (mainly Rothko - Chagall art events in the region), 20 000 flyers about art events, joint art publications and cross-border events calendars. With an eye on the future, there are plans to repeat the international children and youth summer art school event next summer, in a bid to ensure continuity in the development of the cross-border cultural industry.

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