ESTEL Arts Square


Immerse yourself in tradition. Bring out all the aspects of color. Let the waltz take you into a world of inspiration and dreams like a whirlwind... The ESTEL Arts Square Festival has brought together artists from all over the country for a thrilling journey into the native culture and to experience vivid emotions.

Guests have been gathered at the Theatre of Musical Comedy since early morning. There is a pleasant anticipation in the air. Everybody knows that it’s going to be an eventful day full of impressions, a day full of color in all its manifestations. 

The lights go down and the host comes onto the stage to give the floor to ESTEL founder and CEO Lev Okhotin for his opening speech. The audience goes silent, all eyes are on the stage... “Thank you for your outstanding work, for your art of providing people with beauty and joy,” he addresses the guests.

The cultural immersion begins with an entertaining series of lectures on the history of cinema, music, poetry, and Saint Petersburg. All layers are connected by a common theme: the vision of color in art. There is a casual environment in the auditorium despite the huge amount of new knowledge: the lecturers relate interesting facts and joke and interact with the guests. 

An abstract audiovisual series, poignant lyric poetry performed by poet and Russian citizen Anton Shagin remind the audience of the familiar native images of Russian nature, home comfort, and maternal love. 

Art and color have been united in our culture for centuries, from folk festivals and the Silver Age of Russian poetry to Soviet cinema. Vitaly Saltylov dedicates his speech about cinematography to the classics we all know and grew up with: “These films formed our ideology and made us who we are.” 

A lot of time is devoted to the story of Arts Square itself. It is through the Square that guests pass to the next space: the majestic State Russian Museum. The tour introduces guests to the history of the museum, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, and reveals the secrets of the unique collection of works by Russian artists. The Ninth Shaft by Aivazovsky mesmerizes, Knight at the Crossroads by Vasnetsov plunges guests into contemplation, flying abstractions by Kandinsky make them dizzy... Our artists may have found special inspiration within the walls of the State Russian Museum by looking at familiar plots, landscapes, and faces, and this may be reflected in their future works.

The climax comes in the evening. The Marble Hall of the Russian Museum of Ethnography welcomes guests with a composition of flowers and Russian ornaments, an exhibition of the coloristic works of the finalists of the ESTEL COLOR LIFE competition, and, of course, with music performed by a string orchestra. The ball opens with a theatrical performance, and after that, the first dance is announced. There is a familiar waltz motif, a cheerful quadrille, and dozens of beautiful couples dancing in the hall once again, as it was hundreds of years ago in Saint Petersburg. We are witnessing the revival of a tradition.

Between dances, the hosts announce the winners of the different categories of ESTEL COLOR LIFE: white, yellow, green... Music rules the ball along with color this evening. One of the finalists, coming down from the stage, shared her emotions: “I felt like I was in a fairy tale and had attended an old ball.” 

After each award ceremony, the fast-moving, blood-pumping dancing continues. One of the guests says: “ESTEL is about love,” and this is the most accurate summary of the festival. Immersion in the native culture, the magical ball, live interaction, and inspiration: this is what we will remember about the ESTEL Arts Square festival.