New York Estonians celebrated the 50th anniversary of the annual Estonian Cultural Days in New York, bringing Estonian theatre, music, design and art to the heart of New York April 1-3 2022.
The event invited Ellen Valter, project lead with KESKUS International Estonian Centre, to participate in the event, including as a panelist to discuss the challenges and opportunities in bringing cultural initiatives from Estonia to North America.
In attendance was Estonia's Minister of Culture, Tiit Terik, and his team, with whom Ellen met separately prior to the opening of the NY festival, to discuss KESKUS, the planning for the opening festivities in 2023 as well as for the ongoing programming at KESKUS.
Estonian Cultural Days in New York is organised by Foundation for Estonian Arts and Letters, and the Estonian Consulate in NY, and was led by the indefatigable Merike Barborak. Cultural Days attendees were delighted to learn of KESKUS project progress and enthusiastically donned KESKUS hard hats as a show of support.
New York's longstanding festival returned after 2 years of pandemic hiatus and its 50th anniversary program featured three days of cultural events and activities including musical performances by Kristjan Randalu/Ain Anger/Martin Kuuskmann, Curly Strings, Collegium Musicale, and nublu/DJ Madli/DJ QRX featuring gameboy tetris. All performances were in the New York Estonian House and an additional Collegium Musical performance was held for the broader NY community including the diplomatic corps, at a nearby church as a benefit concert in support of the people of Ukraine.
In addition to music, were films, art exhibition, a theatre performance by Vanemuine Theatre pop-up design store by Tallinn Design House, including a visual story of Estonian design. To make sure energy didn't flag, delicious culinary delights were served up by Põhjaka restaurant, straight from the countryside of Estonia, including kama blinis for brunch - delicious!
No Estonian event would be complete without a business angle either, and so a pre-meet for connecting US business with Ukrainian services took place on the Thursday before the event itself.
An enthusiastic gathering and the groundwork was laid for increasing audiences for Estonian arts and culture, with cross-pollination between KESKUS in Toronto and the Estonian Cultural Days in New York for when KESKUS opens.
Mark your calendar for KESKUS groundbreaking on Friday April 8th, on the KESKUS site, gathering at noon, event start at 1230h and come celebrate this historic event!
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