Two of the four main objectives of the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy 2030, adopted in 2019 by Lithuanian Government, are targeted to the accessibility of culture and cultural participation. The first objective is to strengthen the cooperation between the state, municipal and non-governmental sectors, reducing cultural exclusion and inequalities. The objective has to be achieved by accomplishing three tasks: to ensure leadership and proportionality of performed functions within the network of cultural institutions; improve the quality and efficiency of the performance of cultural and art institutions by optimally distributing services across their networks; and to ensure the sustainability of cultural human resources and their equal distribution. The second objective is to stimulate creation and participation in culture. It also comprises three tasks: to develop and foster talents by providing the appropriate conditions for creation in different artistic fields; promote the equal accessibility of high quality and various forms of culture for diverse social groups; and promote the participation in diverse creative activities by lifelong development of cultural competencies.
The third goal of the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy 2030 links the issue of cultural participation to the development of civil society and critical thinking of people. The tasks of the goal are the following: to strengthen the immunity of citizens and institutions to information threats and their civic activity and knowledge; strengthen people’s critical thinking ability and understanding of cultural phenomena; and develop national awareness and cognition of tangible and intangible heritage of modern society.
Before the adoption of the strategy in 2019, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture already implemented some measures to increase the accessibility of culture and cultural participation. The newest measure is free admission to museums. Since the beginning of 2019, under the initiate of the Ministry of Culture, permanent exhibitions of national and state museums can be visited free of charge every last Sunday of the month. This regulation does not apply to private museums.
In 2018, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, launched a programme for schoolchildren called Cultural Pass (Kultūros pasas). The aim of the measure is to improve access to cultural and educational projects and events, develop cultural awareness and experience of schoolchildren by providing appropriate cultural and artistic services. The measure provides each pupil with a “cultural passport” worth 15 EUR per school year that could be used for visiting performances, concerts or exhibitions offered by various cultural organisations and selected by expert groups according to the needs of different age groups and other criteria. Depending on the age group, the pupil attends cultural and artistic events either with their class or individually. The range of services that can be chosen per year depends on the price of the service. In 2019, pupils of all age groups were involved in the project. The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture allocated to the measure a total of 4.808 million EUR.
In 2011, the Ministry of Culture approved the “2012-2020 Programme for the Development of Regional Culture”. The purpose of the Programme is to establish priority areas of regional cultural development and create conditions for cultural access and dissemination by making the regions more attractive for local communities, investors and tourism.
Since 2008, following the example of the contest of European Capital of Culture, the contest “Lithuanian Capital of Culture” has been organised. Under this programme, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture organises a contest and selects one Lithuanian town (with the exception of the capital Vilnius) each year as the Lithuanian capital of culture. The town is selected after experts evaluate the Capital of Culture projects submitted by the municipalities. The contest is organised every three years and cultural capitals for three consecutive years are announced as a result. Selected projects receive partial financial support from the Ministry of Culture. The programme seeks to promote the cultural activity and creativity of the residents of Lithuanian regions, develop culture, arts, and creative industries, and expand access to culture. Each nominated municipality implements cultural programmes, organises music, theatre festivals, exhibitions, provides educational workshops for children and young people. In general, the project has vitalized the activities of local communities, schools, arts and culture institutions, stimulated cultural participation and became an important factor for local and regional development.
In 2015, another competitive project – “The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture” – was initiated and started by the Ministry of Culture and the community of Naisiai village. The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture competition is announced and organised by the Union of Rural Communities of Lithuania. It is a project that stimulates small villages to be involved in cultural life and creative processes.
In 2006, in order to promote reading and help improve reading skills, The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture approved the Reading Promotion Programme. The Programme supports various reading promotion initiatives and projects, the election of the “Book of the Year” (organised by Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania), the “Top 12 Most Creative Books” competition (organised by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), and the event “Lithuania Reads” (coordinated by the Lithuanian Publishers Association) organised on 7 May, the Press Recovery Day. The Reading Promotion Programme for 2019 – 2021 provides 8 measures (events, conferences, workshops) aimed at modernisation and accessibility of reading environments, development of reading promotion competences of cultural workers and educators, enhancement of reading abilities of schoolchildren and formation of a positive attitude towards reading.