The Official Development Agency of the City of Vilnius

Art Needs No Roof

Artists without galleries can quickly become artists without audiences. But when billboards are used to display objects of art, an entire city can become one huge gallery.
The pandemic has been hard on local artists—galleries are being closed and international events and exhibitions canceled. But is it possible at all to cope with such a crisis without art?

Probably not, so Vilnius took this problem seriously. Collaborating with outdoor advertising operator JCDecaux Lietuva, it turned the city center into a giant open-air gallery, inviting artists to showcase their works on billboards free of charge.

"Artists are still struggling, so projects like this offer a welcome respite. Not only do they create an opportunity for artists to display their work and reach audiences, they also offer inspiration through thought-provoking visuals found in unexpected spaces. I think this initiative shows how vital it is to stay active and seek partnerships no matter what the outcome might be." Jolita Vaitkutė, an artist.

An exhibition of this kind is something we had never done before, but the results have been really heartwarming. The support is really valued by the artists, as together we have been able to create some of that really needed art publicity in the midst of quarantine. And the best part? Eight of the works in the street exhibition were eventually sold. Karolis Žukauskas, organizer of the event.

In total, over 500 Lithuanian artists submitted their works for review and 100 of them have been exhibited in the streets of Vilnius. Citizens and city guests can use a virtual map to navigate through the exhibition as well as buy some of the works. Over 350 other selected works are placed in a virtual gallery at www.menasbestogo.lt.
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