Maria Culture Association is a non-religious, politically independent, unaffiliated voluntary organisation that aims to stimulate people to develop their creativity and innovativeness through art and culture festivals and events. We strive to broaden the public’s opportunities to exercise and participate in cultural activities by breaking up the traditional boundaries between practitioners and recipients, between different age groups and between different demographics. Culture is a vehicle to new encounters and to embark this vehicle is in itself a creative act. Therefore, Maria Culture Association’s mission is to establish different forms of venues from which travel can begin. When we, as individuals, set out on these journeys we grow as human beings. ”Returning home” will never be the same again. As T.S. Elliot wrote: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.”
1997 the non-profit cultural association Scen Maria (Scene Maria) was founded. In the end of the first year, the association had over 600 active members aged 13-25 years. Multicultural festivals, concerts, travel, Kung fu training, café / food business, circus, art / street art, festivals are a small selection from the extensive activities conducted. The organisation grew quite quickly from the premises at Zinkensdamm, and together with Circus Cirkör we became responsible for the public cultural activities at Medborgarhuset, a central public building on “Södermalm” in Stockholm. 28 bands rehearsed in the premises and held several concerts, festivals and other cultural activities regulary. The members had their roots in over 45 different nationalities and a hallmark of the organisation therefore became multiculturalism in its absolute sense.
In early 2000, we partly changed our orientation and in 2007 reorganized the association to “Mariakultur” (Maria Culture). In addition to the cultural activities now we set path to find new methods of practicing democracy, breaking generational boundaries and include unaccompanied young refugees in the activities.
Especially memorable activities in recent years have been cultural exchanges with Il Muretto – a social center in Italy, charity galas and National Day celebrations in collaboration with Make Music Stockholm at Civic Square at Medborgarplatsen in Stockholm. Because of the acute refugee crisis and the increasing tensions within Europe in June 2016 Mariakultur decided to engage in the matter. In August we put together a creative and pedagogic program together with international organisations, especially aimed at children in the refugee camps on Lesbos, Greece. After this successful project the association has continued to gather like-minded forces in other European countries in order to show solidarity with those who are now seriously affected by the situation in Europe.