Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta sponsors ‘Cranberry. Shores’ arts festival Artist at work. Maly Letgey River- photo: Gazprom

The Fifth Experimental Plein Air Festival of Visual Arts 'Cranberry. Shores' ('Klyukva. Berega') was held from August 1 through August 16, 2016, at the initiative of the Artists Union of the Komi Republic, the Yugor Cultural Initiatives Center, and Pitirim Sorokin Syktyvkar State University. Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta was the festival's general partner.

The festival is aimed at showcasing wildlife sanctuaries closed to mass tourism, with their austere, pristine beauty, and the environmental balance between nature and gas transmission facilities. In the lead-up to the Year of Environmental Awareness at Gazprom, the 'Cranberry. Shores' festival stands out as a remarkable modern project that provides an example of environmental friendliness. The charitable initiative has also helped many artists realize their dream of traveling to the Far North and carrying on the traditions of Northern explorers and painters Yakov Vunder, Stanislav Torlopov, and Alexander Borisov.

The project brought together 16 painters and photographers from across Russia, including Syktyvkar painter Angela Razmanova, art historian and Komi National Gallery expert Olga Orlova, St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum photographer Yury Molodkovets, Moscow photographer Igor Popov, Ukhta photographer Marina Sivakova, and many others.

The festival took place in two stages: the participants undertook an Arctic expedition, visiting Vorkuta and Vaigach Island's nature reserve and admiring the picturesque scenery in the neighborhood of Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta's Gagaratskaya and Yarynskaya compressor stations. The project concluded in the Kozlovka village (Knyazhpogostsky District, Komi Republic).

The festival will be followed by a series of exhibitions in Komi Republic and across Russia. The first exhibition opened on August 16 at the Yugor Cultural Initiatives Center in Syktyvkar.

Alexander Gaivoronsky, Director General of Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta, attended the exhibition's opening ceremony and thanked the festival participants for sharing their impressions and works with the public and bringing everyone closer to the remote lands they had depicted. “Gas workers and artists have one thing in common: we all love the land we live in, we love its nature and the people who live there. The festival participants had the chance to travel to the Far North and to not only look at magnificent landscapes, but also see how well the gas transmission facilities blend into the scenery,” Alexander Gaivoronsky said.

In the course of the Arctic expedition, the painter group encouraged the employees of Gazprom Transgaz Ukhta to participate. Painter Yury Lisovsky gave an open master class in drawing at the Gagaratskaya CS. The resulting artworks were presented at the exhibition later. The Yarynskaya CS hosted an art-themed event for gas workers with a presentation on the festival's concept and goals.

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