The project “Areas of Inspiration” ended by the final conference in Estonia.

Art can play a beneficial role in the development of remote rural and protected areas. This has been successfully shown in 6 locations in the Strážnicko microregion (the Czech Republic), Viinistu (Estonia), villages of Gánovce and Hôrka (Slovakia) and the State Historical and Cultural Reserve Tustan and Synevyr national nature park (Ukraine) which benefited from the support of “Creative Europe” programme of the European Union participating in the “Areas of Inspiration” project.

In order to conclude the project, take its stock and share its lessons learned, a final conference “Genius loci. Art and Nature“ was organized by Machaon International and Viinistu Art Museum on 25 – 26 May 2019 in Viinistu in the Lahemaa National Park (Estonia). It was attended by representatives from all project areas and many invited guests, including artists and cultural figures from Russia, Israel and France. The venue was extraordinary in itself, as the old fishing factory with a small harbor at the Baltic coast was converted into an art gallery and cultural center.

The conference began with a discussion of the role of the locality for contemporary art and its relation to nature, traditional culture, and rural development.  The themes of the social role of artists, the involvement of local communities in creative projects, the sustainable functioning of art residences, the rehabilitation of heritage, landscapes and values of rural communities through artistic events and the like were presented by individual speakers who brought practical examples from the project sites and other similar locations in Europe.

Each area is unique and can be an inspiration for others. For instance, in Ganovce art events are successfully organized by local residents with the active support of the village as stated by the mayor of the village Ganovce Michal Materny who also took part in the conference. Or little Annogallery in Hôrka shared its experience with creative workshops for children which draw interest from the whole region.  Amazing events were organized in Tustan in Ukraine when new approaches were pioneered.

The main day of the conference culminated by the opening ceremony of an exhibition presenting art works created during the project from all 6 locations and small evening concert by Slovenian singer Ljoba Jenče.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to an excursion in the Lahemaa national park. The participants had an opportunity to visit several locations and see some local facilities and art residences. The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ” was an excellent opportunity for people from different countries to discuss organization of cultural activities in rural areas, to exchange experience and establish contacts for further cooperation.

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”

The international conference “Genius Loci. Art and Nature ”