The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk is an art project for the Lower Town – the historic district of Gdansk where Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art is situated. This culture institution through the cooperation in the framework of a long-term revitalization plan supports the process of social and architectonic transformation of the neglected district. The project consists of two important elements: international competition aiming to create a permanent collection of works of art in urban space and a wide range of educational activities.
The projects assigned for realisation are chosen in regularly announced, closed, international competitions. All activities within the framework of the project are supposed to enable creation of permanent elements and artistic qualities in the landscape of the district by:
• integrating the area with permanent elements of art like sculptures, sound and light installations, projections in post-industrial spaces, murals and architectonical elements (organisation of competitions and festivals),
• creating places aimed at stimulating encounters of the local community and guests, providing leisure time attractions like concerts or meetings with artists etc,
• historical and present day reflection on the condition of the agglomeration, organisation of meetings or symposia devoted to historical topics relating to the city’s and district’s history,
• educating children and the youth, hosting permanent educational workshops in the area of newly erected works of art.
The Outdoor Gallery of The City of Gdansk project is realized by Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdansk. Laznia CCA is a municipal art centre founded in 1998 by The City of Gdansk. The curator of The Outdoor Gallery is Jadwiga Charzy?ska – who is also is the director of Laznia CCA. The Outdoor Gallery project is coordinated by Anna Szynwelska, a curator at Laznia CCA. The programme of the Outdoor Gallery is approved by The City of Gdansk and by the Organising Committee of the International Competition of the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk. The President of the Organising Committee is the Mayor of the City of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz. The Committee comprises directors of Gdansk art institutions, heads of culture and infrastructure departments of Gdansk City Council and Pomorskie Voivodeship. The project is also supported by Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland.
The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk artworks assigned for realization in the public space are chosen by international jury. Its members are: Enrico Lunghi, the director of Mudam Luxembourg, Jacek Dominiczak, a lecturer at the Fine Arts Academy in Gda?sk, Bettina Steinbrügge, a curator of the Forum Expanded – Berlinale, Germany, Adam Budak, a curator of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Smithsonian Institution), Washington DC, USA, Norbert Weber, a member of the international board of experts of the Museum of Latvian Modern Art in Riga, Julia Draganovic, an art historian and curtor, Modena, Italy, Jadwiga Charzy?ska, the director of the Laznia CCA in Gda?sk. There are also additional jury experts representing the City of Gdansk and local community who support the jury.
The competition is international, consists of two stages, has a closed form and is for artists and architects nominated by the Jury. Each member of the Jury has the right to submit 2 (two) candidatures, whose work and achievements they present at the first meeting of the Jury. The Jury then chooses from among the candidatures not more than 8 artists to take part in the competition. The aim of the competition is to select, from among the projects submitted by the participants, the best project for a permanent piece of art for a public space assigned by the curators and the jury of the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk.
The artworks selected by the jury are then approved to be realized by the Organising Committee of the International Competition of the Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk. So far five editions of the competition took place: 1st in 2005, 2nd in 2007, 3rd in 2009, 4th in 2011 and 5th in 2012 (the last one in cooperation with Pomorskie Matropolitan Rail).
There is approximately one project realized every year. One of the crucial elements of The Outdoor Gallery is education. CCA Laznia is located in a district which requires financial support as well as a complex educational input. The social issues made it necessary to reach for means and methods that could appeal to the local society. Education was integrated with the mechanisms of revitalisation. The workshops realised within the framework of The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk are conducted by renowned artists representing theatre, dance, music, visual arts, media, hand-crafts as well as by educators practicing alternative educational methods.
In 2008 we launched LKW Gallery by Lex Rijkers and Daniel Milohnic, a workshop studio which seems from the outside like a truck stuck on its way under a bridge. LKW Gallery, thanks to its unique study character, has turned into a club in which the local youth as well as the adults are involved in various activities like stilts walking, drama, design, painting, dance and singing workshops, which encouraged the youth to explore their inner-self.