Aiming to encourage international cultural exchange and cooperation between the artists from different genres and countries, the Lithuanian Composers' Union initiated the International A.I.R. (Artist-In-Residence) Programme in 2011, with the financial support from the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture. In 2012 this programme adopted a new name DAR (Druskininkai Artists' Residence).
Initially, the programme was designed to accommodate composers. Now it can also include interdisciplinary projects, involving
collaborations with music performers (soloists and ensembles), professional artists working in other genres (fine arts, literature, theatre and dance), cultural managers, research scholars, etc.
It aims at facilitating the challenging cooperations between artists interested in intercultural dialogue, exchange of ideas and unexpected fusions of different genres. We are also looking forward to collaborating with artists' residence programmes and institutions in other countries on a long-term basis.
The DAR Programme offers artists to realise selected projects during the period of two to four weeks by awarding residence scholarships and providing rent-free apartments for the selected period. We invite artists to stay and work in the Artists' Guesthouse of the Lithuanian Composers' Union in Druskininkai, a year-round international resort some 130 km southwest of Lithuania's capital Vilnius. Granted the status of an official health resort in 1794, this little rural town, with a population of just under 20,000, is now one of the country's fastest growing destinations. Besides the variety of
health treatment services it also boasts a plenty of natural attractions for those looking for outdoor rest and relaxation. The town is overflowing with lush open spaces, from the gardens and parks surrounding the central part of the town to the Nemunas river, the lakes and the forest that hems it in. Among the most popular places to see and visit in and around Druskininkai are the Soviet theme park in Grūtas, rest and sculpture park of the local woodcarver Antanas Česnulis, a site of tree-top adventures, one of the largest water parks in Europe and an impressive indoor snow arena.
Druskininkai is famous not only for its beautiful nature and wellness spas, but also for its active cultural life. All year round it hosts a variety of cultural events, music, theatre and literature festivals. The town can also claim two past great artistic residents in the Jewish sculptor Jacques Lipchitz and the Lithuanian national hero - artist
and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. Born in the nearby town of Varėna, in 1875, he spent his childhood in Druskininkai. His family house is now turned into a memorial museum whose premises and the adjacent open terrace of the Culture Centre often serve as a venue for classical and modern music concerts.