The Museum has established various levels of membership to facilitate community involvement. It is a vital part of the community of Kedainiai and thriving with the cooperation and participation of volunteers and members. There is an annual Membership Meeting to which only members are invited.
Recently I began to realize my lifelong dream of establishing a museum and cultural center in my hometown of Kėdainiai, Lithuania. I am thrilled to announce that years of hard work and dedication from family and board members have culminated in the establishment of the Janina Monkute-Marks Museum, the first private non-for-profit, public cultural and educational institution in Lithuania.
The historic 100-year-old building was purchased, restored and renovated into a beautiful Museum-Gallery, opening its doors in October 2001. My lifelong work of paintings and tapestries are donated to this Museum where they are on permanent display. The opening was a tremendously joyful celebration for local people and the whole of Lithuania. With tears in their eyes, they accepted this unique gift.
After all years of activity, we exhibited more than 60 different exhibitions, averaging seven per year. Exhibitions featured artists from Lithuania and other countries. The Gallery hosted painting, photography, ceramics, contemporary arts, all the while not forgetting the artists of the Kedainiai region. Exhibitions of fiber arts remained the first priority and averaged three per year. During the years of our activity, strong relationships have developed with various galleries and cultural organizations around Lithuania that were pleased to share their exhibitions with our Museum.
Works by Lithuanian émigrés graced the Museum, enlightening Kedainiai residants and other guests. These exhibitions introduced the photography, textile, graphics and conceptual art by contemporary artists working overseas.
One of the Gallery’s early goals was the presentation of accomplished international artists to the people of Lithuania. This effort brings the world of cultural attention to the Kedainiai region, which does not normally have such access to cosmopolitan influences. To that end, the gallery organized the exhibitions of contemporary Swedish art in 2004 and 2007, and the exhibitions of two Frenchmen, Odon (Guy Houdouin), 2004 and Philippe Guesdon, 2006. Michael F.Rohde, a well known American artist, introduced his collection of tapestries and photographs for the first time in Lithuania in 2007.
Our innovation was to introduce volunteerism and Museum Membership. For our educational projects we received some small government grants and introduced a creative learning experience through art for 14-17 year old students. It was tremendously successful. We also had evenings of poetry reading, some musical concerts, and an outdoor fair with folk dancing and songs.
I could go on and on about how much need there is for our kind of institution and how much enthusiasm it generates. Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and other country’s ambassadors and government delegations are visiting our Museum to learn more about private art and educational concepts. Until this point, my charitable foundation supported the effort to get the Museum off the ground, however much more remains to be accomplished. We have tremendous interest from school children to participate in our workshops. We would like to expand the Museum to include larger exhibitions, a permanent fiber art collection and to revitalize Arts for the Younger Generation. It is only with your assistance that we can realize this dream in full.
We hope you will choose to play a part in this exciting project. If you can help, either through a contribution or an annual Membership, we would be grateful. As I frequently state, this Museum is for everyone.
U.S. dollars go a long way in Lithuania. The Membership categories are:
*Patrons of the Museum will have their name inscribed on the Museum wall.
All contributions to the Janina Marks Charitable Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Please send your tax-deductible donations to the following address:
If you have any questions about the Museum, the contact phone in U.S.A. is: 312-929-3468
For more information in Lithuanian please contact Museum by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (370 347) 57398.
WE ARE VERY THANKFUL TO ALL WHO SUPPORT OUR MUSEUM!