According to the data of the Lithuanian National Cultural Centre, in 2018, there were 158 cultural centres and about 500 of their branches and subdivisions that are located in urban and rural territories of Lithuania, with 2915 amateur art groups, 886 studios and clubs that have in total 52 819 participants. Children’s and youth groups comprise 36 per cents of all amateur arts groups, and young participants comprise about 38 per cents of all participants.
Table 37: Number of cultural centres, amateur arts groups and participants in 2014–2018
|Number of cultural centres||632||637||645||645||654|
|Number of amateur arts groups, clubs and studios||3908||3877||3863||3841||3798|
|Number of participants||52823||56138||53106||52956||52819|
The activity of state and municipal cultural centres is regulated by the Law on Centres of Culture (2004). 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 council. Other centres for culture are established by private persons or social organisations and can have various legal forms. The name of each centre for culture as an institution, regardless of its legal form, must include the words “centre for culture”.
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, municipal councils for the implementation of appropriate cultural activity programmes financed from the state or municipal budgets. The Ministry and municipalities may additionally finance with their budgetary funds the activities of centres for culture pertaining to the organisation of state events.
The main functions of the centres for culture are the following: to create conditions for dissemination of ethnic culture; organise activities of artistic collectives of amateurs, workshops, and hobby groups; take care of 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; and create conditions for dissemination of professional art. Many cultural centres in Lithuania are established to provide meaningful leisure activities for young people, ethnic minorities or other social groups.
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 activities of centres for culture, which are important for the 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 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.