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06.02.2014
“We do not belong to one single country”
A South Baltic arts network inspires people to recognise their own cross-border affiliation.

“We do not belong to one single country”  says Torun Ekstrand, the co-ordinator of the South Baltic project Art Line.

The project celebrated  its final event on 4th February 2014, after more than three years of inspiring artistic co-operation. Art Line brought together 14 arts and cultural institutions from Poland, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania and Russia.

With hundreds of artists, 16 exhibitions, 20 workshops, 16 seminars and 18 public space projects, Art Line has become a powerful network with the capability to inspire, grow and reinvigorate itself.

This vast cross-border artistic community succeeded to ripple out to hundreds of thousands of people living in the South Baltic area. “Telling the Baltic” – one of Art Line’s artistic projects –  is one of many examples how arts can teach people to cherish the values of cross-border co-operation and the common Baltic identity.  In this collaborative storytelling concept, Baltic stories have been collected from those who travel the sea for holiday or work. The stories have been compiled in a public cross-border archive, and presented in a series of exhibitions around the South Baltic shores. In the summer of 2013, this exhibition was on board the Stena Line ferries  – one of the world's largest ferry operators – giving more than 227 000 travellers between Gdynia and Karlskrona the opportunity to immerse themselves into the world of South Baltic contemporary arts.

The common maritime identity has been a recurring theme throughout a series of artworks originating from this project:  along with “Telling the Baltic”, “Baltic Sounds Good”, “Baltic Agora” and many others have been shaping Art Line’s legacy to the Baltic cultural ambience.

The value of Art Line’s contribution to culture and cultural heritage of the Baltic Sea Region has also strategic policy implications.  The project has been awarded a flagship status by the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.  Art Line is one of the implementing projects of the newly-established priority area “Culture”, particularly contributing to the action “Joint promotion and presentation of BSR culture and cultural heritage”.

Art Line is conserving a plethora of cross-border artworks in a South Baltic cultural treasure chest, available online at:  http://www.artlinecatalogue.eu


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