Kaunas Highlights is an ongoing project of Kaunas City Municipality that encourages artists, both professional and amateur, to submit their design, sculpture, street art etc. ideas for public spaces. A lot of these spaces need new objects of interest to be rediscovered and appreciated by the residents and tourists. A handful of accents selected by jury have been already financed by the programme and installed; this past month has been particularly productive. Let’s take a look at what new you can find in the streets, parks, alleys and yards of Kaunas.
We’ve already blogged about the George Maciunas square last year when it was opened at the intersection of three busy streets in the centre of Kaunas. Read more on it here. "Boat“ by Tadas Vosylius was also installed last year and is still hanging up high above Laisvės alėja near the Central Post Office.
Photos by Kaunas City Municipality
“Star Seeder” used to be an illegal piece of graffiti by a very productive street artist named Morfai. He painted some stars on a wall at the Vytautas the Great War Museum sculpture garden. When it got dark, and street lights were turned on, the shadow of “Seeder”, an 80-year old sculpture by Bernardas Bučas, would then magically become “Star Seeder”. The artwork was painted over by authorities, and a lot of people were truly sorry for that, as “Star Seeder” had gotten very popular among Kaunasians and around the internet. Luckily for everyone, Morfai got noticed by the jury of Kaunas Highlights and “Star Seeder” is now back. The stars are not painted this time but made from metal!
The underpass below Birštono street, connecting the Old Town and the Centre, has recently received a facelift that’s also part of the Kaunas Highlights programme. An installation showing distance to places of interest in Kaunas was created by Karolis Nekrošius.
Fans of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince have already taken hundreds of pictures of Planet X, an installation by Tadas Vosylius that’s located in VMU Kaunas Botanical Garden.
A reverence for the rich history of photography in Kaunas installed around Town Hall Square and in front of Kaunas Cathedral Basilica also has a practical side. The diaphragms created by Darius Augulis and his team, are bicycle parking racks!
Take a look at the pavement when strolling by the Žaliakalnis funicular, Perkūnas house or M. Daukšos street. Bronze scallop shells, the iconic symbols of Camino de Santiago, are marking the way to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. Thousands of pilgrims take Camino de Santiago, also known as Saint James Way, every year, and Kaunas, together with a few other municipalities in Lithuania, is the member of Association of the Friends of Saint James Way.
On May 3rd, a statue of Jewish writer Abraham Mapu who was born in Kaunas will be officially unveiled in front of Ars et Mundus gallery on A. Mapu (no coincidence!) street. Sculptor Martynas Gaubas depicted Mapu standing on a chair, and you’re welcome to sit down on one of the other chairs that are part of the sculpture.
The newest highlight invites you to leave Old Town and cross the bridge over Neris to Vilijampolė, a neighbourhood that once was a lively Jewish suburb and was later turned into a ghetto. The majority of people that had lived there did not survive the Holocaust. The house near the memorial marking the ghetto gate received an artistic intervention by Vytenis Jakas, an artist and mastermind behind Kiemo galerija [Backyard Gallery]. With “Burning Stones”, Jakas aims to enhance the ghetto gate memorial and to add some positive emotional connotations, as well as emphasise the meaning of the Lithuanian point of view to the importance of Jewish cultural and historical legacy.