Local Community Lights up a Yard, Changes Environment, Works with Authorities

Local community activists in Vitebsk organized an exhibition under the sky, named Svet (Svet in Belarusian language means both “light” and “world”) to bring attention to a house at Kastrychnitskaya, 13, an architectural monument, with a cozy yard and brick walls. This house is an extraordinary place for the community: an example of the old brick architecture in Vitebsk. It hosts one of the last communal apartments in the city, studio of painter Aliaxandr Malej and creative industries: design studio, Beatles club, Vitebsk4.me cultural cluster. However, a liquor store and some of its most frequent guests creating an unwelcome environment nearby became more recognized “brand” of this place.

First the community were cleaning the empty bottles and garbage then artists got to action. Photographers created an exhibition, which was projected onto the outer wall of the building, so everybody could see it. An auction was held in the center of the yard bringing attention to the yard and showing the locals the ease with which they can organize their own activities with their own teams. A host and a DJ brought a festive mood for the auction. Bicycle–riders from all over the city also contributed, bringing their community to the exhibition. Although there is still a liquor store nearby, the festival has changed the environment.

A new tradition was born: Vitebsk now welcomes these kinds of community-organized activities and local authorities are open to such kind of events. We inspire you to share your ideas about the Day of the City at the city council’s website, check out materials from the exhibition on a couple of links (one, two).

Photo – Dima Los’, Vitebsk4.me