On Thursday, the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Gitanas Nausėda, met with representatives of the cultural community to discuss the difficult situation of this sector in the face of the ongoing crisis. The talks focused on the principles of the Government's distribution of support for culture, the loosening of quarantine restrictions on events and the planned adoption of the Cultural Policy Framework Law. Gedimas Jaunius, Chairman of the Board of the Association, also spoke on behalf of the Event Industry Association.
The meeting discussed the problem of restriction of events, which is particularly painful for the cultural community and has become a matter of survival. During the discussion, RIA President Gediminas Jaunius proposed to follow the example of neighbouring countries by regulating the number of people at an event: 1,000 outside, 500 inside. And from August onwards, the capacity of events should be measured in terms of the existing area, not theoretically.
The RIA President also expressed his position on the unfairness of the current envisaged regime for the events sector, which will give budget-funded performing arts promoters an advantage, as their break-even point is much lower. For this reason, this group is more comfortable with lower audience numbers, as private institutions will then simply be forced to withdraw, unable to cover the costs of organising the event due to the low audience numbers currently foreseen in the LRG plan.
During the meeting, the President agreed that the allocation of government funds to support the cultural sector is not fair. The President mentioned that part of the funds should be allocated to cultural people and activities, not to the repair of buildings.
Gediminas Jaunius, Chairman of the Board of the RIA, on behalf of the Association, also asked for attention to be paid to a separate regulation for all the arenas and festivals that are currently not able to operate, which would be able to provide a safer environment than the current shopping centres, where tens of thousands of people pass through every day.
"The President's visit to the OKT Theatre, a non-governmental cultural organisation, can be considered historic. It was a symbolic gesture, showing that the state is not just engaged in rhetoric about façade culture, but is actually interested in the living cultural process and its problems. The money currently spent on culture, which is largely actually spent on the renovation of cultural facilities, would essentially become a sarcophagus for a dying culture. First and foremost, we need to support the activities and the people. The need for an immediate resolution on a plan to increase the number of participants in cultural events was discussed. But above all, there was a thoroughly modern discussion of culture, of its moral and spiritual dimension in society and of the economic value of culture. For the first time, the cultural economy was seen at national level as one of the most promising economic areas for the future, as the President summed up in a well-rehearsed statement at the press conference after the meeting. Hopefully, the ice will move," said Gediminas Jaunius, Producer of the creative house ELITAZ and Chairman of the Board of RIA, after the meeting with the President.
Photo by Robertas Dačkus.