Gdańsk: the art of solidarity – the solidarity of arts

The fourth annual Solidarity of Arts festival opens on 8 August 2012. Over the past three summers the cultural institutions of the Pomorskie province, together with the City of Gdańsk, the Polish Film Institute, the European Solidarity Centre and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage have managed to make Solidarity of Arts a flagship event of high culture in northern Poland. This year again the organizers are making sure that Gdańsk continues to be the most exciting place to visit for arts enthusiasts from Poland and abroad.

The simple idea of bringing together world-class artists to a place as important to the European values and history as Gdańsk has worked extremely well so far. Making art of highest quality happen on site and often in public spaces of the city is proving to be infinitely more powerful than 1000 political conferences or rallies on togetherness and freedom brought together. In Gdańsk we create new things that remain in people’s memories long after the festival, as demonstrated by the
2010 Możdżer+ and 2011 Marcus+ shows. In 2011 we also celebrated the beginning of the Polish EU Presidency. The I, CULTURE Orchestra, who kick started their European tour during our festival last August, went on to become one of the highlights of the Polish EU Presidency’s cultural programme.

The 2012 
Solidarity of Arts is free from major official anniversaries (with the exception of a round birthday of one of its biggest stars), but it remains faithful to the main principle of our festival: the artistic quality of each event is a top priority for everyone involved.

Guided by that principle, the 
European Solidarity Centre presents the long-awaited installation by Jerzy Janiszewski, a renowned graphic artist and the man behind the legendary Solidarność logo. Polish Film Institute invites to the official premiere of Michał Bielawski’s Mundial: Gra o Wszystko, which documents Poland’s World Cup campaign of 1982 through the eyes of detained Solidarity activists. The Polish Baltic Philharmonic will stage the renowned (yet never before performed in Poland) Genesis Suite written between 1943 and 1944 by seven remarkable composers (most of them in exile), including some rare associations like Stravinsky and Schönberg. Among the highlights of this year’s programme is the third “+” project, Poland’s biggest open-air jazz show of 2012, Stańko+. The brilliant trumpeter (it is his birthday that we are celebrating), one of Poland’s most remarkable jazz musicians Tomasz Stańko, will be joined by a string of domestic and international greats, including a living legend, brilliant arranger and arguably the greatest show business personality of all time, Quincy Jones.

Here is the secret (one of the not-strictly-confidential kind) of the 
Solidarity of Arts festival: we succeed in drawing ten thousands of people from Poland and abroad to art that is commonly not easily associated with mass entertainment. This August we are planning to do it for the fourth time.

We look forward to welcoming you in Gdańsk.

Solidarity of Arts
 festival board.