More than 500 people attended the opening night of Moldova’s first contemporary art festival in its sort, which took place in the capital of Chisinau from 25–27 May 2012. Hundreds more were in attendance in the following days.
The ground-breaking festival was a celebration of a year-long Tandem partnership between cultural managers in Moldova, Ukraine and EU countries – in partnership with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and MitOst. Nearly 50 artists and cultural managers from over 30 cities across Europe travelled to Chisinau to put on their project.
Some Tandems were hot-footing it from Kiev, from an event at the Ivan Honchar Museum in Kiev during Museum Night. Alongside local audiences and politicians from Moldova, visitor’s young and old marvelled in vibrant street theatre, strange and beautiful video installations, edgy films, collaborative visual art exhibitions, music performances, theatre presentations and even a fashion show. It was a scene unique for many and brought together people from all over Europe.
Two panel discussions about cultural policy in Moldova, Ukraine and the EU were also well attended and offered cultural operators the opportunity for a free and frank discussion with Moldova’s Minister of Culture, Boris Focşa. The national media covered the festival and ECF’s Director Katherine Watson was interviewed on a TV show alongside the Cultural Minister Boris Focşa and two Moldova cultural managers. This created an unusual opportunity for direct questioning on the country’s slow cultural development to the Minister by the cultural managers.
On the third day, the festival popped-up at the village Palanca, 140 kilometres away from the capital. Two Tandem projects showcased their projects to the local village and visitors from Chisinau: a fashion collection resulting from the work of local embroiderers and a fashion designer from Berlin and artist's in residencies opportunities for artists from Lativa, exhibiting their work in the village’s cultural centre, Casa Parinteasca. Other town’s visited and the day was a hugely successful cultural and artistic mix between all.
It was a marvellous grand finale of the year-long Tandem cross-border collaboration, which ECF launched with partners in 2011. As well as providing inspiration and fun for local people, the event connected policy-makers and cultural professionals and made an impact on political cultural decision-making level at a national level.
Partly funded by the European Commission through the CULTURE-Programme, Robert Bosch Stiftung and ECF, Tandem connects cultural managers from EU countries and neighbouring countries – in this case Moldova and Ukraine – who want to build long-term partnerships and expand their skills and networks. The Tandem – Cultural Managers Exchange Programme is part of the European Neighbourhood programme. It is co-organised by MitOst and delivered in conjunction with a network of local partners