Arsenal is one of the leading regional institutions active in contemporary art and contemporary culture development. The branch staff team presents exhibitions and multidisciplinary projects, educational programs, programs for kids, and accessibility projects. Since 2011, the branch occupies an architectural landmark dating back to the mid-19th century — the Arsenal of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. The adaption of the fortification building for museum needs is the first project of a kind in Russia. The building gave the name to the institution — the Arsenal. Today the Arsenal is a space for an artistic communication of professionals, experts, and contemporary art lovers.
The Vasari Festival — Russia’s only festival of texts on art — is held at the Arsenal annually in early fall. The festival is named after the Italian artist Giorgio Vasari of Arezzo (1511–1574), the author of the first ever major research work on artists and their art and founder of art history as we know it today. During the festival, a book fair is held, presenting editions from Russia’s best humanitarian and children’s publishing houses. The intellectual platform includes public talks, panel discussions, lectures, and public readings. The festival is accompanied by music and theatre events, and a special program for kids. Following the festival, an almanac with texts ranging from academic research to fiction and opinion journalism is published.
The Innovation is a State prize in contemporary art established in 2005 under the auspices and with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. Since 2019, it is held and organized by the Arsenal team in Nizhny Novgorod in cooperation with the Government of the Nizhny Novgorod region. Over the years, the Prize became a hallmark of prestige: its results are actively discussed, approved or criticized, while the winners proudly mention it in their portfolios and CV’s. The mission of the Prize is to provide support for artists active on the contemporary art scene and to put them in the spotlight before general public.