The Centre for Culture and Civic Initiatives was created in 2008 by the City of Podkowa Leśna.
The Centre for Culture and Civic Initiatives is a place for the people of Podkowa Leśna to gather and meet. Podkowa Leśna, a small town 30 kilometres south-west of Warsaw, is a Garden City and the Centre organises many activities related to this (Open Gardens Festival, international cooperation projects and more).
Its mission is to strengthen the local community by inspiring, supporting grassroots activities and offering cultural education to the inhabitants of Podkowa, so that they consciously participate in culture and contribute to their community. The centre cooperates with local partners such as cultural and educational institutions, NGOs, parishes, volunteers, informal groups, local leaders, and individuals. The community can not only participate in proposed activities, but also create their own, for instance during the centres' flagship event, Open Gardens. The centre tries to empower the development of potential for everyone, regardless of individual artistic or other abilities. It is open to dialogue and discussion, because culture is a great platform to build bridges over divisions.
The Centre organises the following activities:
- Recurring events: Open Gardens Festival, European Heritage Days, Congress of Polish Garden Cities
- International cooperation with other Garden Cities (Hellerau in Germany, Letchworth in the UK, Wekerletelep in Hungary, Meżapark in Latvia)
- Presentation of the work of local artists
- Open Generation University - a comprehensive offer for seniors (lectures, meetings, visits to museums and territories, dance, recreation, theater, art classes)
- Cinema and Outdoor Cinema Project (we present an ambitious repertoire of Polish and world cinema - without commercials or popcorn!)
- Classical and jazz concerts
- Promotion of local cultural heritage related to Podkowa Leśna and its history and the Garden City movement
- Cultural education (music, theatre, cinema, art)
- Support to creative groups (singing, dancing, theater)
- Art exhibitions
- Theatre, performing arts activities and games in public space
The Centre for Culture and Civic Initiatives is run by a team of 10 staff, from two premises open to the public. They receive a targeted subsidy for their main activities, but also find additional external funds and operate commercial activities.
Why did they join the ENCC?
The Centre would like to increase contact with other cultural centres across Europe, exchange experiences and find partners for international projects. 'Podkowa Leśna can be an interesting and unique partner due to the fact that it is a Garden City. Topics such as sustainable development, ecology in arts and cultural activities, cultural and natural heritage protection and promotion are of interest to us and can be attractive to potential partners of a similar profile. We are also interested in projects highlighting the specificity of the cultural sector in Central and Eastern Europe.'