The first project, Snowmen, introduced the village of Nikola-Lenivets to the map of contemporary art. Now, all the new projects, events and cultural life began to be created around the idea of turning abandoned fields and natural landscapes into a space for showcasing art.
THE NIKOLA-LENIVETS ART PARK
A new stage begins in the history of Nikola-Lenivets after 2000. Painter Nikolay Polissky opened a new page in his work. Leaving the easel, canvas and oil paints, he made a project unusual for Russian art of that time: a landscape installation from snow. As he recalls, he decided to 'enter the landscape' which he painted many times with oil.
At the beginning of the new journey, Nikolay Polissky created projects with peasants, local residents from the nearby villages. The joint work of the artist and peasants became the conceptual foundation of the project, and in many ways defined the aesthetics, the value system and the spirit of freedom. Uncle Vanya Sokolov, the only man in the village, became the inspiration for the project - the link between traditional local life and new artistic practices.
Designing art objects from snow, vines, firewood, hay, the Society of the Nikola-Lenivets Crafts, led by Nikolay Polissky, began to attract more and more visitors from the capital and various countries. First came the experts in the field of art and journalists, and then the audience began to be frequent visitors. Thus, in 2005, following the logical development of the place, Nikolay Polissky announced the launch of the Arkhstoyanie festival. The name was coined by curator and associate Fyodor Romer (Alexander Panov).
Residents joined in the festival organisation: Vasily Kopeiko, Anna Shchetinina and Vasily Shchetinin. Hospitality and cuisine were provided by the people of nearby villages. Yulia Bychkova and Anton Kochurkin took on the curatorial work and managed to invite more than two dozen architects to the first Arkhstoyanie festival. These visitors were mostly from Moscow - all the big names in Russian architecture of that time and the present. This is how the annual festival and non-commercial partnership Nikola-Lenivets Crafts appeared, which was later renamed to Project Nikola-Lenivets.
Thanks to the work of Nikolay Polissky and the Arkhstoyanie festival, the area around the village began to filled with art objects occupying more and more new spaces. The abandoned village fields and forests began to transform into an art park with space for exposition and service infrastructure.
In 2011, the territory of the art park was bought by businessman Maxim Nogotkov, who proposed to develop the park's infrastructure and sponsored the festivals. Within four years, he managed to build guest houses, develop a camping site with summer houses, open a cafe and initiate a number of new projects in the area: Sergey and Anna Morozova's farm, Nikola-Lenivets summer camp, Stan - a technical and production base of the project (the motor vehicle station of the former farm collective in Zvizzhi). Following difficulties with the main business, in 2015, Maxim Nogotkov lost control of the project.
Since 2016, the development of the project is managed independently led by the artistic production team consisting of Nikolay Polissky, Yulia Bychkova, Anton Kochurkin and Ivan Polissky, who together with the local residents and the professional team continue to create a place around the famous village, where contemporary art is introduced in the natural landscape to a wider audience.