Malonny 6: time has come to be talking about a modern art centre in Marijampolė


Malonny (Marijampolė – London – New York: migration of ideas), the art symposium that has become a part of Marijampolė’s identity over five years, is preparing to rock the city for the sixth time.

Having established its own place in the history of the city with the dissemination of ideas during symposia and the impressive murals, on June 28 to July 3 Malonny 6 will be inviting people to watch and create new signs of culture and art in Marijampolė.

The curator of the symposium, Lithuanian artist Ray Bartkus of New York, has invited celebrity artists from the United States of America as partners to this year’s event. Traditionally, the agenda also includes meetings, performances, and tagging new spaces across the city.

Over five years, Marijampolėje has become home to 19 new murals, numerous performances, forums and discussions, masterclass meetings, with hundreds of people volunteering during the project. It is possible that this year we will witness the birth of yet another piece such as The Flowing Life by Ray Bartkus, which has been on the cover of a National Geographic Lietuva extra and has been viewed by millions of people the world over.

A value that needs no proof

Promoted by “Arvi”, the event has become one of the most serious arguments why Marijampolė should be awarded The Golden Ceremonial Stick (Lith. Auksinė krivūlė) in appreciation of its efforts to foster culture, and be pronounced the 2018 cultural capital of Lithuania. ‘Malonny is a project that has huge recognition,’ Gintarė Urbaitienė, “Arvi’s” Marketing and PR Director is pleased with the importance of the symposium as an event. The promoters of the international symposium have received praise for the originality and bravery of the idea, for excellent execution, Arvi’s initiative and care, the mutual understanding between the volunteers and the sponsors.

The murals that were created in the previous years have become an object of tourist attraction, the ideas that we heard here first have turned into new projects or have inspired change and spread outside Lithuania. While Marijampolė has been inspired to go on with the change: one set of artistic initiatives will set other initiatives in motion, it is a strong synergy, something that Mr Bartkus has noted himself.

The promoters of the event with this kind of a reputation no longer need lengthy negotiations with the artists that they invite to join the symposium – they know this to be an intriguing and lasting project; no special invitations have to be extended to visitors – viewers and listeners – either. Malonny’s fans are looking forward to the traditional turmoil in the city: while the promoters are yet to publish an invitation for volunteers to assist the artist, 15 of them are already ‘waiting at the door’, ready to devote their time to this event.

Art as a driver of the economy

So, Marijampolė municipality and the team made by VšĮ “Sveikatingumo Idėjos” in association with “Arvi” are making steady preparations for ambitious plans, which include the Malonny 6 forum. Its theme, ‘A centre for modern art in Marijampolė’, will be used to develop yet another of Mr Bartkus’s ideas, this one to establish an open-air art gallery, and possibly a regional art centre in the city. ‘There isn’t one in Marijampolė and its region,’ said Mrs Urbaitienė, “Arvi’s” Marketing and PR Director. ‘Therefore, there is an ambition to have this type of centre in the county, which would be a centre of attraction, providing a workshop for artistic people, and so on. The forum will discuss the need for such a centre in Marijampolė, its possible location, the experience of other cities and countries in this area.’

‘Art and culture are powerful drivers of the economy in the 21st century. In 2015, culture generated USD 763 billion for the US economy, which is more than the agricultural or the transport sector. These trends will only grow in the West, because consumer societies are turning into experience societies. Many cities that are going through an economic and identity crisis have recovered and flourished by turning back to art,’ says Mr Bartkus.

He believes that a Marijampolė centre for modern art could become just the driver for the entire region. ‘By region, I mean southern Lithuania, northeastern Lithuania, as well as western Belarus. It is a territory that has tremendous historical and cultural importance to all of us, the junction of a common state that had existed for centuries, which has now lost its clear-cut identity,’ said the artist. ‘Vacuum never stays void. I have not the shadow of a doubt that a regional cultural centre will be established. The question is, when and where. I would suggest doing it right now and in Marijampolė!’

The forum at 6 p.m. on June 27, the inaugural date of the event, will be open to everyone with seating available for as many as 1,000 people. 

Featuring celebrity US artists

An impressive performance featuring Tom Chiu, a composer of global renown, has already been scheduled to take place on the premises of Lietuvos Cukrus. Acclaimed for his contribution to modern music and the art of sound, Tom Chiu, who was born in Taiwan and lives in New York, has presented more than 100 premieres with other famous figures in the musical world.

US artist Eli Elysee will be making a return to Marijampolė as well; his work St George of Ethiopia has been decorating a wall in the old town since 2016. Born in Haiti but raised and educated in New York, the painter and designer has his own study in the bohemian Bushwick district. Eli Elysee has had his own personal shows staged in Chelsea, New York, as well as Berlin and Tokyo.

The promoters of the event – Marijampolė municipality, VšĮ Sveikatingumo Idėjos, and Arvi – are positive that Malonny 6 will show, once again, that Marijampolė is a city that does not fear innovation or challenge.


For latest information, please check http://malonny.l7