“Bucharest 2021 European Capital of Culture” takes culture to the Capital’s neighborhoods


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The programme that supports Bucharest’s bid for 2021 European Capital of Culture pledges to relocate the cultural activities due in Bucharest from downtown to the Capital’s neighborhoods. Representatives of ArCuB, the Bucharest City Hall’s cultural center in charge with drafting the candidacy file, will also try to raise the public conscious awareness, as they say Bucharesters have lost respect for their city. “People must be involved, to feel that Bucharest is their city. For the bid, the first target is to reverse the balance, to relocate the cultural events to the neighborhood,” said Anca Ionita, the coordinator of an open group — the “Curatorium” — tasked with developing the events and projects of the “Bucharest 2021” programme.

Anca Ionita explained that seven workshops have been held in the Bucharest districts — two in District 1, and one in each of the other five. The participating Bucharesters were invited to answer questionnaires on cultural life in their sector, about the strengths and weaknesses of the area they live in.

Ionita said that one of the conclusions of these surveys was that to their majority, the Bucharesters have an eye for the leisure component in the city’s green spaces, and are definitely unhappy with the “skimpy” cultural life in their neighborhoods.

One of the issues addressed by the “Bucharest 2021” platform is the absence of a profound sense of community in the capital city. “Most Bucharesters are not attached to the city, regarding it as a pass-through place, not a city to live in,” she said.

In his turn, Trevor Davies, advisor with the “Bucharest 2021” programme, told a meeting with journalists on Thursday night that at present, only 10 percent of the Capital inhabitants know about its candidacy to this title. “By the moment of filing the first bid, 50 percent of the Bucharesters should be informed on this,” Davies said.

The “Bucharest 2021” platform is structured around three concepts — “Memory”, “Exploring,” and “Envisioning” the city — each of them associated with debates, workshops and events.

The series of events devoted to “Envisioning” the city kicked off on Wednesday is due to end on mid-October and comprise an exhibition of pictures made by foreign artists who discovered the city. A display location for the young Romanian designers will be also provided.

Moreover, several poets will write about Bucharest, thus drafting a poetic map of the city. The best unknown photographers can register their works within ‘Optimist Bucharest’ contest by July 30. They are challenged to send the best three pictures made by them while capturing Bucharest the way they see and feel it. The competition ends with a collective exhibition located at Gabroveni Inn’s ground floor.

Culture Ministry called for the Romanian cities to race for 2021 European Capital of Culture title in December last year. Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi, Craiova, Arad, Sfantu Gheorghe, Oradea, Alba Iulia, Braila and Brasov joined the race.

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