About the Project

Alternative Art Spaces in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine

“Alternative Art Spaces” supports the young creators of Ukraine and Moldova in devising independent cultural projects. It also supports the training of professional cultural managers.

The Republic of Moldova and Ukraine look back on a rich tradition of cultural creativity. Numerous theatres, cinemas and cultural institutes are evidence of state-regulated support of culture – even 25 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

At the same time, there is no support whatsoever for new art, for alternative formats and cultural projects which are socially relevant. There is a lack of funding, of innovative concepts as well as of transparency. Artists and other cultural professionals with great creative potential are working under precarious conditions in the construction of new structures. Nevertheless many of them choose to leave the country, above all those people who would have stimulated a democratic dialogue within society through their work.

In order to strengthen the local artistic and cultural scene and to reduce the shortage of spaces for cultural activities, the Goethe Institut Bucharest initiated in 2014 the Project “Alternative KunsTraume

Two countries – 16 venues – countless ideas

Eight cultural initiatives were chosen by public tender in 2014 and 2015 respectively, which were supported by the Goethe Institut, in the fields of infrastructure, networking and qualifications. With some modest initial funding, local cultural institutions and engaged individuals were able to transform previously unused cellars, attics, factory buildings and parks into artistic spaces, which now offer scope for the interchange between artistic and civil society.

Through great personal engagement, they created new galleries, outdoor cinemas, art installations and venues for artistic and cultural events that are not included in the publicly sponsored programmes. The alternative art venues are located in Chisinau and other semi-urban localities like Bardar, Cahul and Tohatin, in the vicinity of Chisinau. Some of the venues are in Trans-Dniester, in Tiraspol, as well as in the Ukrainian towns of Cernauti, Odessa and Kremenciuc. The main idea of the project was to sponsor the venues located outside big cities, because the transformation process must be implemented more widely.

The development of the project in 2015

Due to the experiences of the previous year, the project developed significantly in 2015. Together with local people, artists from Germany, who paid their own expenses, performed in the old and the new artistic venues within the KulTour series of events. The German artists, VJs, Street Art groups and film-makers worked together with their Ukrainian and Moldovan counterparts in concerts, workshops and on installations. Together they created an impressive cultural programme. Over 2,500 people interested in cultural activities took part in the 18 events. The partnership between the German artists and the local creators will continue after this series of events draws to a close.

Furthermore, a eight-day seminar was organized in Chisinau in December 2015, to train the initiators of the KunsTraume project and to help them get lasting qualifications in the field of cultural management. The artists and creators were also trained in Project Management, Media and Public Relations as well as Fundraising. Many of the participants viewed the seminar as an opportunity to professionalize their artistic creativity in the long term. The wish to link up the artists and the display areas was taken into account within the training programmes, as well as the opportunity to pull together stimuli for the subsequent development of the art venues. Let the future arrive.

With the support and sponsorship of the Goethe Institut and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the determination of small local initiatives and with much creativity, a new network of venues, actors and initiatives, was created in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in the last two years. These civil society structures, which extend beyond the country’s geographical boundaries, create the space needed for critical and democratic dialogue and above all allow creative artists to flourish in their own country – their homeland.

Project Concept: Beate Köhler, Fabian Mühltahler, Dr. Evelin Hust - Goethe-Institut
Project Assistant: Lilia Dragneva - Center for Contemporary Art [ksa:k]