The Lithuanian National Culture Centre is a public budgetary institution, which main purpose is promotion of cultural and creative expressions of the society, development of ethnic culture (intangible cultural heritage) and amateur art. The Centre is one of the vehicles of the national system of cultural institutions, art groups, non-governmental institutions, helping the society and individuals to acknowledge and preserve own cultural identity, nurture creativity, realise own cultural needs and responsibly harmonize them with public wants.
The Lithuanian National Culture Centre fosters creative groups of diverse cultural and artistic branches and genres, individual performers, folk masters, presenters and conservators of traditions, other phenomena and events of creative activity of the society, based on national traditions. That is vocal, instrumental, choreographic folklore, customs, folk art, crafts and other forms of intangible cultural heritage, choral and wind instrumental music, folk dances and music, theatre etc. The institution cares about the continuity of these national, regional or local traditions, their authenticity, but also pursues constant renewal of the creation, sharing live ideas with the today’s society by the means of contemporary artistic language.
The Centre pursues its purposes using a variety of forms, such as organisation of song celebrations, implementation of other meaning cultural programmes, also by the means of public recognition, publications, production of analyses on cultural situation and tendencies, methodical guidance of the activity of art groups and their leaders, culture and education experts, taking care for the improvement of conditions of their work and creative activity, improvement of their professional qualifications etc. The Centre is the institution commissioned the implementation of the means of the State Programme on the Preparation for Song Celebrations, such as organising the acquisition of national costumes and musical instruments for art groups, organising the consultancy network of all branches and genres of amateur art, coordinating its activity, ordering, announcing contests for the production of new compositions, distributing the repertoire of song celebrations.
Specialists working at the institution research the intangible cultural heritage (folk art, national costumes, traditional music and choreography, folk medicine, other spheres of ethnic culture), by appealing to historical sources and materials accumulated at current centres of its existence, they study the evolution of art branches and genres, the contemporary phenomena, organise scientific conferences, present the results to the public using various channels.
The institution implements UNESCO initiated and other international programmes, observes the state of traditions of the Lithuanian Cross-crafting and its Symbolism, the Baltic Song and Dance Celebration, the Lithuanian Multipart Songs - Sutartinės - inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Humanity, takes care of publicising the traditions, methodically guides the protection and development activity of these traditions, initiates the submission of new nominations to be included in the above mentioned List.
The Lithuanian National Culture Centre significantly contributes to the state policy and preparation of legal acts on the preservation of cultural traditions, formation of cultural expressions of the society, the laws on Culture Centres, Song Celebrations, state programmes on the development of ethnic culture in the regions, the continuity of the Song Celebration tradition, state strategy on the development of amateur art, other legal acts.
One of the domains of the institution’s activity is monitoring/analysis, accumulation of statistical data, evaluation of effectiveness of cultural processes in the regions, tendencies of activity, programmes, working forms and practices of municipal culture centres, other institutions, the quality and working conditions of art groups.
The Centre renders methodical support and in every possible way supports the cultural activity of the Lithuanian communities abroad.
In its multifunctional activity the Lithuanian National Culture Centre closely cooperates with cultural, educational, scientific, higher education institutions and offices, Lithuanian and international non-governmental cultural organisations, cultural institutions of other states. The cooperation embraces observation and analysis of processes of cultural expressions, realisation of joint projects. The Centre organises the work of the National Commission of Song Celebrations, houses the Coordination Council of Regional Culture and six councils of amateur art branches and genres.
From the history
In 1941 the House of Folk Creation was established in Vilnius, in 1960–1979 the institution was renamed to the House of Folk Art. In 1979 the scientific methodical cabinet of education work at the Ministry of Culture was integrated into the structure of the institution followed with renaming the institution as the Scientific Methodical Culture Centre. Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre in 1990 - 2016. The present name – The Lithuanian National Culture Centre – was given in October, 2016.
Many of the events initiated/nurtured by the Centre have preserved the continuity, though a part of them have become the history. Such are the Days of Blacksmiths, Weavers, All Crafts, national rallies of choirs and brass orchestras, folk music festivals “Ant marių krantelio” (On the Seacoast) (1980-1986), Song Celebration competitions (1960-1985), theatre festivals “Baltijos rampa” (The Baltic Ramp) (1969-1996), camps for folk amateurs. The results of the latter events – ensembles of sculptures - can still be admired along the road to Druskininkai – “M.K. Čiurlionio kelias” (M.K.Čiurlionis’ Way), and in Juodkrantė – “Raganų kalnas” (The Hill of Witches).
Since the establishment over 360 specialists of different fields had worked at the Centre, among them many personalities prominent in Lithuanian culture.
The Centre was led by Directors: Vincas Adomėnas (1941–1944), Povilas Sagaitis (1944–1946), Leopoldas Galdikas (1946–1949), Napoleonas Nakas (1949–1953), Vytautas Jakelaitis (1953–1958), Salomonas Sverdiolas (1958–1986), Juozas Mikutavičius (1986–2006). Since 2006 the Director of the Centre is Saulius Liausa.