Breaking new barriers through live-streamed Culture Open Artist Exchange
Since our first project year, Culture Open has organized Artist Exchanges between Joensuu and Petrozavodsk. These exchanges have been centred around providing disabled artists a venue and an opportunity to network with international cultural operators.
Last year Culture Open organized two Artist Exchanges; one in Joensuu and one in Petrozavodsk. This year, due to Covid-19, we are unable to organize physical exchanges. So we came up with the next best thing: live-streaming!
We have continued our cooperation with Parafest Association, who are the experts behind the Parafest festival for disabled artists. Parafest could not be arranged as a festival this year due to the pandemic, but they are celebrating their 10-year anniversary with a photography exhibition at Joensuu’s Ahjo Art Centre. The Parafest Association enthusiastically agreed that the Culture Open Artist Exchange stream may be organized during their exhibition opening on July 28.
So last night, an audience of about 30 people gathered at Ahjo Art Centre to view a live stream from the city centre of Petrozavodsk. Our two cities may have 300 kilometres between them, but yesterday the cities were brought together in cultural exchange.
The live stream began with a welcome address from Project Manager Elizaveta Druzhinina, followed by well wishes from Petrozavodsk Head of the City Cultural Department Marina Konovalova and Deputy head of the City Cultural Department Natalia Beregova. The audience in Joensuu were also treated to a short video depicting a photography exhibition in Petrozavosk featuring images taken throughout Culture Open’s duration.
Parafest Association’s Arto Pippuri also sent greetings in Russian and Finnish to our partners in Petrozavodsk. The exchange culminated with a live musical performance by Fatima Bogdanova and Alexey Cherepovetsky, who also performed at our very first Artist Exchange during last year’s Parafest Festival.
Overall, the event was a success, demonstrating that technology helps bring people together even in times of social distancing.