Baltic Culture Fund to issue its first grants (2019)

Curated by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Baltic Culture Fund has issued its first grants. A total of 400,000 euros were allocated to joint cultural projects involving the Baltic countries, which was used to support 9 projects in the fine arts, music and performing arts fields.  

According to Ragnar Siil, a member of the international expert group evaluating the projects, interest in the Baltic Culture Fund grants was greater than expected and despite their high level, it was not possible to support all projects. “Among the 33 projects submitted to the competition, there were very strong, carefully thought through and sustainable proposals with good potential for achieving greater international visibility and bringing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania onto the world map through culture. Cultural events taking place in internationally known and even iconic venues, such as the Volksbühne Berlin, or at well-known festivals such as Performa in New York, highlight the diversity and singularity of the culture of the Baltic countries,” Siil added.

The budget of the Fund was 300,000 euros, of which each Baltic state contributed 100,000 euros. Six projects were supported from this amount. In addition, the Baltic Culture Fund received a donation of 100,000 euros from the Nordic Council of Ministers for organising cultural events in the Nordic countries. This amount was shared between three projects.

60,000 euros were awarded to the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, which, with the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and Rupert, will introduce contemporary art from the Baltic countries at the Performa art festival in New York, organising the Baltic Showcase at the festival.

From Roots to Routes”, a project that presents contemporary art from the Baltic countries in Marseille in 2020, received a grant of 50,000 euros. The project is led by the BAL bureau from Estonia, Blind Carbon Copy from Latvia and Bendri Reikalai from Lithuania.

Another 50,000-euro grant was awarded to the joint performing arts project “Baltic Transfer” involving the State Youth Theatre Lithuania, New Theatre Institute of Latvia and Vaba Lava in Estonia, performing new productions at internationally renowned theatres, TR Warzsawa in Warsaw and Volksbühne in Berlin.

With a grant of 55,000 euros, the Association of Independent Dance in Estonia with the Lithuanian Dance Information Centre and Latvian Dance Information Centre will introduce Baltic dance art at dance fairs at Tanzmesse in Germany and CINARS in Canada.

The Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, with the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, offers 12 music students from the Baltic countries an opportunity to complete their studies at the Karajan Academy and perform a concert at the world-famous Berliner Philharmonie in May 2021. The grant in this case is 30,000 euros.    

New art from the Baltic countries will be presented at Kino International, Berlin, as part of a collaborative project involving the Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Tallinn Art Hall and Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. The project received a grant of 55,000 euros.  

With a grant of 50,000 euros, the Music Information Centre Lithuania with Music Estonia and the Latvian Music Information Centre will set up a joint stand for the Baltic countries at the World Music Expo WOMEX 2019 in Tampere.

 A joint project involving the Nida Art Colony project organised by the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Narva Art Residency and the Vilnius Academy of Arts, which will introduce contemporary art from the Baltic countries at the Today is Our Tomorrow international art festival in Helsinki was awarded 25,000 euros.

The Lithuanian Composers’ Union, Latvian Composers’ Union and Estonian Composers’ Union were jointly granted 25,000 euros to introduce contemporary music from the Baltic countries in Sweden and Iceland.

The aim of the Baltic Culture Fund, founded in 2018, is to promote cultural cooperation between the Baltic countries and strengthen the internationalisation of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian culture through joint cultural projects and events. Grants are awarded annually and the next deadline for applications is 20 February 2020.

The Baltic Culture Fund especially supports new and one-off cultural events outside the Baltic countries, such as concerts, exhibitions, festivals, performances, international events with a Baltic focus, as well as showcases and forums promoting the internationalisation of culture.

The Fund is administrated by the national cultural endowments on a three-year rotation basis; the Cultural Endowment of Estonia is the first to coordinate the Fund’s activities. Grant applications are evaluated by a six-member international expert committee.


Katrin Seppel

Cultural Endowment of Estonia
Suur-Karja 23, 10148 Tallinn Estonia
Fund coordination period: 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2021