SmartEnCity art exhibition opened in Tartu

The “Smartovka murals” exhibition on Kaarsild Bridge in Tartu.
The “Smartovka murals” exhibition on Kaarsild Bridge in Tartu. Source: Silver Siilak

An exhibition displaying the backstories of 13 public murals in Tartu will be on display in the city on Kaarsild bridge until the middle of August.

The murals have been painted on apartment blocks as part of the SmartEnCity smart city project which has renovated Soviet-era living spaces to be energy efficient. In total 17 murals will be painted but not all of them have been completed yet. 

The exhibition is called "Smartovka murals" and features text in both Estonian and English.

"We've had the idea for an art exhibition for a long time now since art is one of the most visible and attractive parts of our project," coordinator Andra Somelar said. "Since every artwork in our project is so different, we wanted to share their origin stories with other citizens and visitors of Tartu."

SmartEnCity or the Smart Tartu project was launched in 2015 and is part of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 program to fund ambitious projects aiming to become more energy efficient, inclusive and smart.

The "Smartovka murals" exhibition on Kaarsild Bridge in Tartu. Source: Silver Siilak

As part of the project, Tartu has retrofitted old Soviet-era apartment buildings into zero energy dwellings, constructed a new district cooling plant, created a public bike sharing system, deployed new biogas city buses and installed smart LED street lights.

Turning old Khrushchev-era apartment buildings into smartovkas is one of the most important and recognizable results of the project. The murals on the renovated buildings have been warmly received by both the citizens of Tartu and its visitors, Somelar said.

Every housing association chose their artwork in cooperation with the residents and the art curators of the project. Every artwork is an original work that was created considering the location and appearance of the building, and the wishes and preferences of the residents.

A map of Smartovkas in Tartu. Source: SmartEnCity

The art coordinators of the SmartEnCity project are Andra Somelar and Kadri Uus. The art curators of the housing associations are Evelin Zolotko alias Huupi (artist and art curator), Andra Orn (founder of the art environment, art curator) and Sirla (organizer of the street art festival Stencibility, street artist).

The exhibition was planned to coincide with the "Car-free Avenue" which increased footfall over the bridge and the surrounding riverside area. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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