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Year of Culture in Belarus: Top 10 Initiatives


The main idea of the Year of Culture in the outgoing 2016 was the promotion of culture in the broadest sense. A number of new projects and initiatives in the field of culture were characterized by an innovative approach. Let's recall some of them.

1. Launch of several contests

The contest "Man of the Year of Culture" will determine the best professionals in the field of culture. The Bela-thon competition is aimed at developing and popularizing the best traditions of the Belarusian music. The nationwide contest "Genius Startup" targets creative youth. Another contest is aimed at finding out the best practices applied by local authorities in implementing the state policy in culture. Results of the contests will be summed up early next year.

The winners of the contest "Man of the Year of Culture" were announced. Mogilev, Novopolotsk and Lida were named the most cultural cities of Belarus.

2. Cultural Initiatives for Belarus

The project "Cultural Initiatives for Belarus" was announced with the aim to discuss the pressing issues regarding the development of the Belarusian culture, and its integration into the global cultural space. Artistic unions, organizations, people of culture and concerned citizens took an active part in the discussion and offered their vision of the problems hindering the development of culture at the present stage.

3. Promotion of the Belarusian language was in the spotlight during the nationwide campaign Belarus, I Love You! in Minsk on 13 February. One of the events held in the Year of Culture was the nationwide campaign timed to St. Valentine's Day and the International Mother Language Day. The tradition to declare love for each other and for the native country was a good reason for organizing the campaign Belarus, I Love You! The national literature, Belarusian poems and songs were the centerpiece of the concert program on 13 February and other events held at the institutions of culture and education in Minsk and other regions of Belarus.

4. Idea to produce the TV show Mr. No

The TV show is about legendary Belarus-born Soviet statesman Andrei Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR in 1957-1985. The TV and Radio Broadcasting Company of the Belarus-Russia Union State is mulling over the project. The TV series is expected to include twelve 50-minute long episodes. It is likely that the filming will be done at Belarusfilm and Lenfilm film studios. Some episodes will be shot in Washington and London. The Union State is expected to finance the project.

5. The Year of Culture went beyond Belarusian borders

Its events took place in Moscow, too. The first one was a concert by the Belarusian state ensemble Pesnyary in Moscow. The concert was dedicated to the 75th anniversary since the birthday of Pesnyary's founder Vladimir Mulyavin. Apart from that, the event Belarusian Seasons took place in Moscow in June. The Seasons included an exhibition of Belarusian folk music instruments, the performance Advechnaya Pesnya by the Republican Theater of Belarusian Dramaturgy, a concert of the soloist ensemble Classic Avantgarde of the Belarusian State Philharmonic, the performance Pesnyar of the Maxim Gorky National Academic Drama Theater in recognition of Vladimir Mulyavin's art, and other events.

6. In the year of its 25th anniversary, the Belarusian Drama Theater initiated a playwright contest Francysk Skaryna and Modern Times

The contestants were asked to create works for the drama theater in five nominations: a historic play, a modern play, a play based on a certain theme, a stage adaptation, and a stage idea. The contest was timed to the 525th anniversary since the birthday of Francysk Skaryna — the printing pioneer in Belarus, a thinker, a scientist, a humanist and enlightener of the Renaissance Age — and to the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book printing industry. The National Library of Belarus and Belarusbank helped the theater arrange the contest.

7. The production of Belarus' first animated musical began at the national film studio Belarusfilm

The Belarusian cartoon industry celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2016. In November 2016, the cartoon films studio finished work on the 200th cartoon. It was the first part of the new picture Stars of the Seventh Heaven inspired by Gennady Davydko's book. The cartoon was directed by Yelena Turova, who was interested in the idea of making a cartoon musical. The music was written by the composer Leonid Shirin. The cartoon characters were voiced by Teo, Svetlana Ben, Denis Dudinsky, and Dyadya Vanya. Children also contributed to the project.

8. Initiative to create collection of debut works of young film directors

A contest for participation in the project was held in the Year of Culture. This is a new project for the Belarusian film industry. The collection with the tentative title "We" will include five debut works of different length and topics by young Belarusian directors. The authors give preference to drama. The release of the film will coincide with the Day of Belarusian Cinema in 2017.

9. The idea to submit an international nomination portfolio featuring Independence Avenue (Prospekt Nezavisimosti) for the UNESCO World Heritage List was discussed at a meeting of Belarusian and foreign experts in the Belarusian capital. The nomination file "Socialist Postwar Architecture in Central and Eastern Europe, 1930s-1950s" will be based on materials about Independence Avenue in Minsk. It will also include Karl Marx Allee in Berlin, Tverskaya Street in Moscow, Khreshchatyk in Kiev, Dzerzhinskogo Square in Kharkov, and Marszalkowska Street in Warsaw.

10. European art exhibition From Lisbon via Minsk to Vladivostokwas unveiled in the Belarusian capital at the close of the Year of Culture. The art project showcases works by 30 artists from 28 countries of Europe. Minsk has gathered contemporary artists from the Old World countries for the first time. The idea to organize the exhibition was put forward amid the intensifying political and social conflicts in the world. Minsk has become a major negotiation venue for resolving international conflicts in the European region and a center of cultural diplomacy.

The art project has been organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Belarusian Embassy in France and Minsk City Hall. The exhibition is held under UNESCO's patronage.