In seeking to develop international cultural exchanges, the Lithuanian Composers‘ Union initiated Druskininkai A.I.R (Artist in Residence) international artists‘ residency programme in 2011. Since 2012, it has continued to function under a new title, DAR (Druskininkai Artists‘ Residence), with over one hundred artists from Lithuania and other countries participating in it.
The DAR programme is intended for composers and sound artists. The residence invites them to create and explore music and sound art in the academic, experimental and interdisciplinary context. Artists are given the opportunity to live and work in the picturesque resort town of Druskininkai, engaging in the local cultural environment by implementing and presenting their individual projects in public spaces. The DAR residence encourages cooperation between artists and the relevance of their projects for the communities of Druskininkai and its surrounding areas. The residence organizes educational presentations and creative workshops with them at Druskininkai’s music and art schools.
In seeking to integrate the residents into the broader cultural and social life of Lithuania, some of their works are presented in Vilnius. The residence is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
The artists’ boarding house of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union was built in 1980 in Druskininkai, a resort town in southern Lithuania, surrounded by forests, lakes and parks, about 130 km south of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The town hosts a lot of health centers and mineral waters and mud treatment institutions operating all year round. Founded in the 18th century, the town is also associated with Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis – one of the most prominent Lithuanian artists who worked in the fields of music, art, and literature. Born in 1875, Čiurlionis spent his childhood in Druskininkai. The memorial museum of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis and the nearby open-air terrace of Cultural center hold concerts of classical music. Druskininkai is not only famous for its nature and unique health resorts, but also for its vivid cultural life – it holds cultural events, music and literature festivals all year round.
The DAR program takes place at the Druskininkai boarding and recreation house of Lithuanian Composers’ Union that is located in a cozy, quiet place of Druskininkai, inside a pine forest. The boarding house includes a complex of eight small two-storeyed cottages with a separate car park. Each of the cottages (in total occupying the space of about 76 m²) has furniture and wireless internet, as well as musical instruments (cabinet pianofortes and pianos). The houses are cozy and comfortable for work and relaxation, with each one of them capable of hosting for unbound work and living one or two residents at a time.
Currently, the DAR residence has been collaborating actively with AIR Krems in Austria and the MoKS residence in Estonia, conducting resident exchanges together and thus fostering international cultural dialogue. The DAR residency website issues open calls for those, as well as for local and international curated projects. Depending on the nature of the open call, residents are provided accommodation and paid their travel and subsistence expenses. Also, the DAR team issues letters of recommendation to artists submitting applications for funding intended for the implementation of their residential projects.