During the award ceremony, sculptor Gintaras Karosas voiced thanks “to the people who would lend well-meant assistance and to those, who at least would not hinder during the entire years of developing the Europos Parkas.”
The young artist’s dream to create a museum of modern and contemporary art became a reality. Thanks to his talent, creative efforts and persistent work, Karosas managed to turn the desolate location near Vilnius into a centre of attraction by placing an emphasis not on heritage, but rather on the subject of art of this century (the Europos Parkas was started in 1987). The personal creative initiative became a cultural phenomenon, which has remained unexplainable for many people ridden with stereotypical thinking. The idea of establishing a museum, a park is usually seen as the prerogative of the state. However, the idea of the Europos Parkas is being implemented by non-governmental organisations.
By establishing the open-air museum of the Europos Parkas, Gintaras Karosas created a next-generation cultural establishment that is unsupported by the national budget but earns money for socially-beneficial activity from its services and rallies funds, companies and people to support artistic projects. The establishment carries out the functions of education and dissemination of culture and art; introduces the public into the trends of modern art and into the variety of artistic creative work; by representing high-grade contemporary art, develops the esthetical taste of the public; arranges educational programs; strives for publicity, takes part in international projects, represents the culture of our country abroad and foreign culture in Lithuania; promotes cultural tourism; expands the artistic cultural horizons of the public and encourages creativity. By performing its important functions, an establishment like that costs virtually nothing to the budget.
By developing the Europos Parkas, Karosas is making a contribution to Lithuania’s integration into the global space of cultural life. Inviting representatives of established artistic trends into the Europos Parkas, implementing ambitious ideas by Sol LeWitt, Dennis Oppenheim, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Beverly Pepper, he is bringing Lithuania’s cultural life up-to-date on the international scale. The works of the above authors that are set up at the Europos Parkas are considered among the most prominent pieces to be ever created by these artists. Due to the continuing interest from Lithuanian and foreign media, the Europos Parkas has become known both in Lithuania and in foreign countries.
Karosas also contributes to enlarging the number of showpieces at the Europos Parkas by creating sculptures of his own. One of his most renowned works is the LNK Infotree, which has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest piece of work of the kind.
On top of that, Karosas plays yet another significant part – that of a landscape designer, as the Europos Parkas is a valuable piece of landscape architecture. The Europos Parkas is being developed as a homogenous ensemble of nature and art, where the sum is indisputably larger than the individual pieces. By altering the landscape in a subtle manner and placing the sculptures on a well-measured display, Karosas is shaping a unique tune of nature and art in the Europos Parkas. For this reason, the Europos Parkas merges quite naturally with the context of the most celebrated European sculpture parks and open-air art museums. That is the only location in Lithuania that has been entered, on the 30th place, into the list of top 50 places of interest in Europe by Great Britain’s The Independent. Europos Parkas is listed among such places as the Picasso museum in Paris, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the Marino Marini museum in Florence, the Munch museum in Oslo.
In Lithuania, the ideas of cultural tourism often relate to objects of cultural heritage, the fostering of traditions, while the founding of the Europos Parkas has proved that things that are being created today can be just as relevant and valuable as something that was designed by past generations. By displaying the problems and reflecting the world of today, contemporary art bears immense significance for the modern society.
Gintaras Karosas hopes that the award of the National Advancement Prize, as an honourable acclaim of his work, will help draw people’s attention to the important social initiatives that have been so far short of governmental interest and support.