Russian Aesthetic Education Centre
A.K.: Russian Aesthetic Education Centre later received the name of Mstislav Dobuzhinsky. It is still operating in V. Krėvės prospect, not far from the shopping centre used to be called Pasimatymas. I guess most of its visitors back then were children from the neighboring Russian school No. 20, even though later I attended the Lithuanian Pilėnai school. Probably it was my father’s initiative for me to attend all these extracurricular activities and have someone to practice my native language with, yet for me it has been (and I hope that it still remains) an exceptional place of artistic education, even though when I look back at this building, sad thoughts come to my mind. This place is like an island among the gray multi-storey buildings of Dainava, where people would create things, while we talked with teachers and fellow students in Russian.
At the centre, I would attend several different lessons at once: composition and painting taught by Ms. Anna Michailovna, paper plastics and batik in the class of the charming Ms. Tatjana Vasiljevna, ceramics, and ballroom dance taught by Saulius Skambinas who later got famous. I think now that I remember the names of the teachers in this centre better than the names of my teachers at school. I was charmed by their charisma and that they belonged to another world. I remember very well all the different smells in different studios: paint and wooden benches in the composition and painting, heavy, suffocating smell of wax in the kitchen, where people would prepare batik paint, the smell of wet clay in the ceramic’s studio and tingling of my skin, when it would dry under my fingernails. Somewhere deep inside my head there are still memories about school celebrations, New Year’s get-togethers, during which may father would play live music. I find it important that the school staff and probably its founders Jelena and Valerij Berežok first managed to create an atmosphere of community.
I definitely have not become an artist, but these lectures probably instilled in my mind the curiosity about art and later contributed to my decision to study the history of art. (2015)