WYA Europe Hosts Successful Third Edition of the European Arts Forum

The third Edition of the European Arts Forum was held from the 24th to the 26th of June in Brussels.

This beautiful and inspiring event gathered more than 50 artists, art lovers, academics and European policy makers under the theme “Unity in Diversity: Connecting Europe through Culture”.

From all over Europe, artist and artlovers participated in the three-day long gathering to attend a wide range of events, including an exhibition of the selected artworks, lectures by expert speakers, small group discussions, musical performances, presentations led by the participating young artist, and award ceremony, as well as meeting with decision-makers on the European level. The aim of the different events was to create a forum to exchange views on Art, Culture and Human Dignity.

Saturday: Awards and Philosophy

On Saturday afternoon, WYA Europe staff welcomed the participant and Hrvoje Vargic, WYA Europe Regional Director opened the European Arts Forum: Unity in Diversity: Connecting Europe through Culture. He said, “we human beings, are all somehow connected, because we share our common humanity.”

He also mentioned that the “link with culture is that reality is essentially one and essentially beautiful”. He concluded that “we are united in appreciation to the artistic works although we have different backgrounds”.

WYA Europe consultant of Cultural Programs, Mafalda Pereira da Cunha said that it is “the harmony of the artwork that unites us. Multiculturalism is different from diversity because diversity is a value for humanity, while multiculturalism is a mix of everything”. She concluded by quoting Anthony Peterson, saying that “when we ignore difference, it diminishes us all”.

Luka Tripalo, a Croatian member of WYA said that “unity precedes diversity. Art is not an instrument and when used to manipulate, it is the worst one”.

On Saturday evening the official awarding ceremony and opening of the exhibition took place in the Lodzkie House, European Represation of the Lotzki Region in Poland, supported by José Inácio Faria, Member of the European Parliament; Juan Manuel Bonet, Director of Cervantes Institute; Marcin Podgorski, Director of Lodzkie House and Natalia Mosor, Director of the Polish Cultural Institute.

It was a wonderful evening of celebration of art, culture, beauty and Human Dignity through art and beautiful music performances by violist Myriam Audras, singer Jacquelin Kaufmann, pianist Isabel Pérez Dobarro and singer Bianca Aristia.

Sunday: Skills and relationships

The artists had the chance to present their artworks on Sunday morning and to share their ideas and vision on the role of art as a way to unite people. Those artworks carried from paintings; fluorescent painting; contemporary art; illustrations; printmaking; photography; music performances and even poetry.

In order to improve artistic skills, they worked on a collaborative piece of art under the direction of Kara Cay and Matteo Schuer.

During the evening, a screening of the finalists of the Manhattan International Film Festival was held integrating like that the cinema in our forum.

Monday: Politics and conclusion

On Monday the participants had the chance to have a panel discussion in the European Parliament moderated by Antoine Mellado, WYA Director of Advocacy.

Member of the Parliament, Bogdan Wenta held an inspiring opening speech. He said that “culture can never be closed in one movement, because it is necessary to promote development. We are united in our diversity, and this is what culture promotes.”

During the conference, good practices were presented by participants, focusing on how art is a means of Social Inclusion.

Isabel Pérez Dobarro, highlighted the importance of an active participation of artists on the forum of policymakers because artists are an outbox and conventional innovators.

Artist Carlos Arco added that “the most important thing is the effort that we put in the cultivation of the talents that we have received.”

Karel Bartak, head of Creative Europe Culture, DG for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture from the European Commission explained the Creative Europe program that can help young artists in their careers.

Rudiger Klein, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe said that “culture is a treasure to all, for all and by all. We need to find new ways of attracting all aspects of society to the beauty and the enlightenment that culture can convey”.

Elin McCallum, Director of Bantani Education said: “that people need life skills in order to discover their creative vision and bring this into reality”. She highlighted the importance to “bring together young people to understand better the world around them. Creativity is the ability to create ideas, and to be able to know how to take that idea into action.”

Jean-Claude Polet, Professor of History of European Literature from the Catholic University of Louvain, in the closing speech of the Forum concluded giving hope and courage to all the young artists “there is always hope for art because all men are free, saying that man has the power to create, which is as natural to him as life itself.”

Through the whole European Arts Forum, we had the support of the Lodzkie House, the Mazel Gallery and Members of the European Parliament, such as MEP Bogdan Wenta, MEP Tadeusz Zwiefka, MEP José Inácio Faria, MEP Kazimierz Ujazdowski, MEP Marek Jurek and MEP Gabriele Zimmer.

The objective of the event was to exchange and deepen the understanding on how we can connect Europe though culture in a way in which every human person is treated as a subject with universal and inviolable dignity.

The European Arts Forum showed how artwork, created by young artists has the power to transmit values of human dignity, freedom, tolerance and respect for human rights. Beside this objective, EAF also wants to provide artists and art lovers with the opportunity to gather with other Europeans and exchange views on human dignity through art.

You can support World Youth Alliance Europe by making a donation here.

You can see all the photos of the European Arts Forum here (first day, second day and third day).

Written by Marie-Christine Alting von de Geusau WYA Europe intern.