Every city has the right to a special celebration of its own. Every artist has the right to implement their ideas and plans and the right to have an
audience and critics. Every viewer has the right to wish to become an artist at least once in their lives. ArtBatFest is a celebration of art, a time for the long-awaited and wonderful transformation of pedestrians into interested viewers. It is a celebration of sculptures, photographs, actors, artists, and, of course, the city's residents. It is smiles and bewilderment, compassion and indignation. It is gigabytes of overflowing digital media. It is: ArtBatFest.
The ArtBatFest Festival of Contemporary Art was created in 2010 at the initiative of a group of art figures, artists, and art historians with the sup-port of local businesses. The site chosen for the Festival was an area on the pedestrian part of Zhibek Zholy Street between Ablai Khan Street and Furmanov Street, popularly called the "Arbat." The name of the Festival – ArtBatFest – came from this location in a harmonious way: Art, Art+Bat (place) and Fest.
ArtBatFest 2010 took place from August 21 to October 2, 2010. The Festival curator was Bayan Barmankulova, a Kazakh art critic and arthisto-rian. The main theme was ecology and environmental protection. The goal was to identify problems such as urban pollution and waste, resource use, recycling, and the relationship between urban and natural spaces through the use of artistic techniques and images of modern art.
ArtBatFest 2011 took place from May 28 to June 25, 2011. Th Fes-tival curator was Dmitry Pilikin, an artist, curator, art critic, and the Assi- stant Director at the Museum of Modern Art at the St. Petersburg State University (Russia). In 2011, the Festival became an international one with participants from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Israel. The focus of the Festival was shifted towards the international public art movement. On top of that, the Festival had a live musical program along with a performance and video art program.
At the end of 2011, the Eurasian Cultural Alliance was founded in Almaty to expand the scope of the Festival and to establish international con-tacts. This organization is now the official organizer of all subsequent ArtBatFests.
ArtBatFest 2012 took place from May 24 to June 24, 2012 with sup-port from the Almaty City Administration. The Festival curator was Nai-lya Allakhverdiyeva, Head of the Public-Art Program at PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art, who proposed the theme for the Festival: the Begin-ning of the World.
What is the near future for the mankind? Are our fears and concerns about the future justified or are all of these fears just a mirage of virtual information? In times of change, how can we keep our integrity and peace of mind? Carried out on the streets in direct contact with city residents, modern art teaches people to look at the city as both a private and public domain. Almaty is changing intensively into a new period of post-Soviet history and today's residents are no longer passive, but active participants in these changes. Therefore, turning interest to "the language of the city" and attentive dialogue with it is one of the goals of the Festival. On the expo grounds of the pedestrian area of Arbat and Republic Square of Al-maty there are extensive and diverse pieces of art created by Kazakhstani artists as well as by Festival guests from abroad such as Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Italy. Modern art does not play a role of entertainment and does not create cutie images of the future, but in the metaphor of the Festival there is still hope, which as we all know is the last to die.