The building in which Kaunas Artists’ House is established was constructed in 1930 according to the project of the architect Vytautas Žemkalnis – Landsbergis (1893-1993).
The architectural solution of the building was a new step in Lithuanian architecture at the time. The house was designed for the diplomatic representative office of Vatican in Lithuania, although the nunciature was never established here due to unknown reasons.
After minor changes in 1932, the children’s hospital was established in the building and a kindergarten was open in Soviet years. The building sheltered the Creative Intelligentsia House from 1971, Kaunas Art Employees’ House from 1972, which was renamed as Kaunas Artists’ House (further – KAH) from 1979.
The reconstructions were performed in 1972 and 1979 according to projects of the architects of the Municipal Economy Design Institute Z. Daigys, S. Savickas and J. Rakštienė. As the interior repairs were carried out in 1981 – 1982, the building was accommodated to cultural activity exclusively. At that time windows of corridors and concert hall were glassed with stained-glass works of the artist Vytautas Banys “Muses”, which picture six muses from Greek mythology – the constant companions of Apollo and guardians of arts. The lobby of the Artists’ House was decorated with the ceramic panel of the artist Aldona Keturakienė “The Trace”, which reminds of a tile furnace by its composition. It is a technological experiment of the author that is distinguished by original décor and interesting technology of modern ceramics.
After the restoration of Lithuania’s independence attempts were made to hand the building over to Vytautas Magnus University, to shelter all creative associations here and even to privatize it. However, by courtesy of Kaunas artists, KAH established by Kaunas City Municipality Council operates as a budgetary institution supported from the budget of the city municipality.
Not only the purpose of the building but also the heads of Kaunas Artists’ House changed with time. The following people headed KAH during the four decades: writer Mykolas Karčiauskas, poetess Dalia Teišerskytė, composer Vladas Švedas, actor Antanas Gabrėnas, educator Algirdas Medišauskas, actor, director Algimantas Norvilas, ceramicist Bernardas Arčikauskas. KAH has been headed by the actor and director Viktoras Valašinas since 1998.
KAH is one of the culture institutions of Kaunas Municipality that capacitates the city inhabitants and guests to use culture services, to participate in the cultural life and art processes of the city. The activity is carried out following the experience and traditions, by searching for popular work forms that would be in accord with time. Decisions related with activities are accepted along with the advisory management body – Art Board formed of the composers Dalia Kairaitytė and Vidmantas Bartulis, art photographer Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, soloist Giedrius Prunskus, painter Gintautas Vaičys, actors Jūratė Onaitytė and Dainius Svobonas, writers Viktoras Rudžianskas and Vidmantas Kiaušas.
KAH, which presents programmes of high artistic level, strives to keep up with the contemporary tendencies of culture and art. The institution organises its activity in the way that Kaunas inhabitants and city guests would be able to see the best programmes of professional Lithuanian and foreign artists, not forgetting the searches of young artists.
Therefore, by its activity the Artists’ House takes care of the spread of professional arts, it cherishes art values, nurtures ethical and civic values. The artistic activities organised here meet the cultural needs of inhabitants and artists of Kaunas and its region to a great extent, they contribute to the process of Lithuanian culture preservation and development. While unfavourable conditions for Lithuanian culture prevailed during the latter years (after the Lithuanian Artists’ House was closed in Vilnius), KAH remained the only and unique cultural space integrating various methods of arts manifestation that cherishes traditions of Lithuanian culture, popularises professional art and ensures the role of culture and art in life of today. The staff of KAH is the chain that joins artists with people interested in art – the main aim of the employees is to meet the cultural needs of people of various ages and social groups and to provide the highest quality culture services to artists as well as art users.