Between June 16 and 18, the City of Vyksa (Nizhniy Novgorod Region) hosted its seventh Art-Ovrag urban culture festival. The event was co-sponsored by the United Metallurgical Company (AO OMK, Moscow) and the OMK-Uchastiye Charity Foundation as well as the town’s Municipal Government.
The three-day program was busy with cultural, educational, and sporting events, master classes, and other functions. Nizhniy Novgorod Regional Governor Valeriy Shantsev was a guest at the festival. Russian Federation Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky addressed a greeting to the festival participants.
This year, the festival focuses on the aquatic, and Vyksa’s bodies of water became Art-Ovrag’s primary stages for the first time ever. Famous architects and artists from Russia and France developed raft original art designs. One other raft was also built based on a sketch from a Vyksa resident that won the best design competition. A colorful parade of these rafts was held on the first day of the festival on the Upper Vyksa Pond,
The OMK-Uchastiye Charity Foundation did something for the public good as part of the Art-Ovrag Festival: the Lebedinka Pond in Vyksa City Park became home to a pair of white swans. The moving ceremony attracted the attention of many Vyksa residents.
The festival’s theater program included productions by Golden Mask Award winner and Theater 18+ Art Director Yuri Muravitsky, including an interactive production of the Wedding from the Liquid Theater Group. It involved both professional actors and Vyksa residents as performers.
One of the most spectacular of the festival’s events was the presentation of the world’s largest mural decorating the wall of Wide Plate Mill 5000 at Vyksa Steel Works (AO VSW, an OMK subsidiary). It was authored by the artist Misha Most of Moscow, winner of the Vyksa 10,000 International Competition. It was painted to celebrate OMK’s 25-th and VSW’s 260-th anniversaries. The record was documented by representatives from both the Russian and the European Books of Records with an application also going to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The festival’s educational program was made up of master classes and lectures in urban business initiatives, contemporary art, photography, and other subject. The round table on culture as a tool for rebooting industrial towns became one of the principal educational events. It was attended by OMK-Uchastiye Charity Foundation Supervisory Board Chair Irina Sedykh, Director of Applied Urban Studies Institute Svyat Murunov, festival producer Yulia Bychkova, festival manager Anton Kochurkin, and other experts. They discussed Art-Ovrag features, objectives, and development prospects as well as Russian and international practices related to creating a comfortable urban environment.
Guests were also invited to visit an art residence in Vyksa. This is an innovative branch of global contemporary art. Vyksa’s art residence is the only one in Russia that exists outside of the capitals. Today, it is home and studio to artists whose works will stay in Vyksa.
Concerts by musicians from the Nizhniy Novgorod Region, Moscow, Tatarstan, and other regions, dancing competitions were held for guests and Vyksa residents, and a food court with street food was also set up. Art-Ovrag included multiple creative classes for children while the sports program consisted of 10 sports. There was a even a special art food function. An urban development studio together with some residents took on infrastructure development and building new art yard projects.
In just three festival days, Art-Ovrag attendance was over 10,000 Vyksa residents and visitors.
“We are moving in stages with Art-Ovrag. Each festival produces rich emotions and vivid impressions. These are normally different for different residents. This is a reason to improve on the festival program, come up with with new projects and ideas. The festival helps residents improve the urban environment considerably. I am convinced that the history of any town is like a chronicle or a book. And where the story line goes depends on what each resident does”, emphasized OMK-Uchastiye Charity Foundation Supervisory Board Chair Irina Sedykh.
Nizhniy Novgorod Regional Governor Valeriy Shantsev:
“One would be hard put today to find a spot in Vyksa that has not been affected by Art-Ovrag.”: original and useful objets d’art, murals on house walls, backyards that have become resident-friendly art yards. Over the course of just a few years, a steel mill town has become a magnet for famous artists, architects, and sports personalities.
OMK Board Chair Anatoly Sedykh:
“This is the seventh such festival to be held in Vyksa. The guests had a busy program to look forward to: they floated rafts, and I think they were very creative; swans were returned to a pond. I believe that towns like Vyksa should have culture in addition to manufacturing sites because one cannot exist without the other.”
Art-Ovrag Producer Yulia Bychkova:
“The sponsors are taking small steps towards big goals, such as creating a comfortable urban environment in Vyksa, making the town into a brand name, developing tourism, and integrating local social and cultural product into the global art context. We have created a year-round educational curriculum of cultural and business subjects, opened an art residence, and started a study of the town’s communities.”
Art-Ovrag Lead Manager Anton Kochurkin:
‘This year, Vyksa acquired its own fleet and the largest mural, identified new caring residents ready to collaborate with their town. The Festival’s primary event, the launch of a floating park made up of five rafts, took advantage of an important resource represented by the basin of the Upper Vyksa Pond while the rafts themselves became town property. Any false modesty apart, I can say that Art-Ovrag was the only large-scale art event worldwide that had to do with water replacing the Dutch Bosch Parade this year.”
The Art-Ovrag Urban Culture Festival has been held annually since 2011. The festival is co-sponsored by the United Metallurgical Company and the OMK-Uchastiye Charity Foundation. Festival Venue: City of Vyksa, Nizhniy Novgorod Region, which is also home to OMK’s key asset Vyksa Steel Works (AO VSW).
While the festival is going on, Vyksa turns into a single stage which is used to host outdoor shows by well-known artists and performers, on the one hand, and becomes a catalyst for the citizens’ creative impulses, on the other. The event brings together different parts of contemporary culture: visual arts, architecture, music, dance, and fashion. The festival’s mission is to create a new urban environment and a public space that would inspire everyone to be creative.
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