According to the data of the Register of NGOs, there have 2 191 NGOs in Lithuania in 2022. 449 NGOs develop activities in the fields of democracy and citizenship, and 1153 have been working in the fields of culture and leisure (these two categories may overlap). Policy on NGOs is coordinated by the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labour according to the Law on the Development of Nongovernmental Organisations (2013) (last edition in 2022). The activities of NGOs are partially funded through tenders of the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labour. In 2021, the Ministry allocated 26 894 124 EUR for the projects of NGOS.
In Lithuania, participation in culture and civic activism are also promoted by cultural centres. According to the Lithuanian National Cultural Centre, in 2021, there were 160 cultural centres and 481 of their branches and subdivisions that are located in urban and rural territories of Lithuania, with 2 628 amateur art groups, 742 studios and clubs that have in total 43 544 participants. Children’s and youth groups comprise 32 % of all amateur arts groups, and young participants comprise about 35 % of all participants.
Table 38: Number of cultural centres, amateur arts groups and participants in 2014–2021
|Number of cultural centres||632||637||645||645||654||637||634||641|
|Number of amateur arts groups, clubs and studios||3908||3877||3863||3841||3798||3757||3520||3370|
|Number of participants||52823||56138||53106||52956||52819||52 671||47 307||43 544|
The activity of state and municipal cultural centres is regulated by theLaw on Centres of Culture (2004) (last edition in 2020). The Law distinguishes between state, municipal and other centres. State centres for culture have the legal form of a budget or public institution and are founded by the Ministry of Culture. Municipal centres for culture have the legal form of a budget or public institution and are founded by the municipal councils. Other centres for culture are established by private persons or social organisations and can have various legal forms. The name of each cultural centre, regardless of its legal form, must include the words “centre for culture”. According to the law, a legal person seeking recognition as a cultural centre must perform at least two of the following functions: to create conditions for dissemination of ethnic culture; organise activities of artistic collectives of amateurs, workshops, and hobby groups; take care of the preparation of artistic collectives of amateurs and their participation in song festivals, local, regional, national and international events; organise recreational, educational and other events; organise commemoration of national holidays, remembrance days, calendar feast days; take care of employment, artistic education of children and youth; organise events popularising ethnic culture, amateur art, to meet other cultural needs of the community; create conditions for dissemination of professional art; and satisfy the sociocultural needs of the population.
State and municipal centres for culture are financed from the state or municipal budgets respectively. Other centres for culture are financed with their own funds. Centres for culture may receive state and municipal budgetary appropriations by taking part, according to the procedure laid down by legal acts, in competitions announced by the Ministry of Culture, counties, or municipal councils, for the implementation of appropriate cultural activity programmes financed from the state or municipal budgets. The Ministry and municipalities may additionally finance the activities of centres for culture pertaining to the organisation of state events.
The main political body shaping the policy of cultural centres is the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry founds, reorganises and liquidates cultural institutions providing methodological assistance to cultural and art workers of centres for culture, helping to implement qualification improvement programmes for cultural workers; establishes a strategy of the development of centres for culture, finances cultural programmes and projects related to the activities of centres for culture, which are important for Lithuanian culture; draws up drafts of legal acts regulating activities of centres for culture and approves them in the prescribed manner; approves a list of positions of cultural and art workers of centres for culture; approves forms of statistical reports of centres for culture; organises qualification improvement of workers of centres for culture; approves regulations of assessment of cultural and art workers of state and municipal centres for culture, and supervises the assessment; approves criteria of granting of categories to centres for culture and lays down a procedure of accreditation of centres for culture, etc.
The Council of the Centres for Culture in an advisory body under the Ministry of Culture, which carries out the expert and consultant functions when resolving the issues concerning the shaping and implementation of a policy of Lithuanian centres for culture. The Council of Centres for Culture comprises 11 members. 8 members are appointed and recalled by the Association of Lithuanian Culture Centres and 3 members by the Ministry of Culture.
The Lithuanian National Cultural Centre is a state budgetary institution promoting the cultural and creative expressions of the society, development of ethnic culture and amateur art. It operates under the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania. The Centre plays an important role within the national cultural institution system, helping society and individuals acknowledge and preserve their cultural identity and representing Lithuanian ethnic and amateur culture abroad. This role is primarily realised through numerous events the Centre organizes, such as the Lithuanian Song Celebration (inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), international folk festivals Baltica and Griežynė, Baltic student song celebration Gaudeamus, Lithuanian national costume exhibitions and presentations, ethnic craft symposiums and seminars, folklore, children and adult choir festivals, folk dance competitions, wind orchestra championships, children and youth theatre festivals, and folk art exhibitions.
The Association of Lithuanian Culture Centres (ALCC) unites 96% of all Lithuanian culture centres. Its aim is to represent the interests of centres for culture and to ensure that their activities are accessible in Lithuania and abroad. ALCC is a member of the European Network for Cultural Centres. It also delegates 8 members to the Council of Cultural Centres under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. Members of ALCC take part in working groups, expert groups, funding programmes of the Seimas, the Government, the Ministry of Culture, and prepares projects of various normative acts. Members of ALCC are members of committees of the Lithuanian Association of Municipalities and take part in the election of the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
To encourage creativity among cultural centres and recognise the best achievements and work of cultural centres, the Ministry of Culture established three Prizes for the Best Cultural Centres of the Year. These prizes are awarded for active, creative and innovative activities over the past five years in fostering ethnic culture and amateur art, creating artistic programmes, expanding educational and recreational activities, meeting the cultural needs of the community and organising the spread of professional art.
In 2005, the Ministry of Culture established the Prize for Active, Creative Activities at Cultural Centres. The goal of the prize is to encourage professional activities among arts and culture employees at cultural centres and recognise their best achievements and work. Heads of cultural centres and arts and culture employees who work at cultural centres can be nominated for the prize.