Ankara’s arts & culture agenda is full of events such as exhibitions, plays, film screenings, concerts, talks, panels, and festivals. The arts & culture scene becomes livelier every year with both performing arts and music events. Furthermore, as Türkiye’s capital city, Ankara hosts many important celebrations and performances on the country’s national holidays.
Ankara, Türkiye's beating heart of the performing arts, is home to the Ankara State Opera and Ballet, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, the Ankara State Theater, and several national theater companies.
Ankara residents and visitors have the opportunity to follow the magnificent performances of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest art institutions affiliated to the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Prominent Turkish and international soloists accompany the orchestra throughout the season, offering audiences unforgettable experiences. Inaugurated in 2020 the Presidential Symphony Orchestra's new concert hall, which is the only purpose-built building for a symphony orchestra in Türkiye, is recognized among the leading musical centers of the world. The new concert hall accommodates the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, the Ankara State Choir, the Ankara State Turkish World Music Ensemble, the Ankara State Turkish Folk Music Choir, the Ankara State Classical Turkish Music Choir, and the State Folk Dance Ensemble. Consisting of three halls with different seating capacity, restaurants, a museum, and open-air venues, the building is a meeting point for culture enthusiasts in Ankara.
In Ankara, many plays staged by the Ankara State Theater, the Ankara Municipality Theater (Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi Şehir Tiyatrosu), and private theater companies are eagerly awaited and followed by the art enthusiasts.
ARTANKARA International Contemporary Art Fair is another annual event that energizes Ankara's contemporary art scene. The fair brings together galleries, artists from Türkiye and abroad, and the art lovers. Many galleries and representatives from various museums, universities, and cultural initiatives attend the fair held in March. The art lovers have the opportunity to meet art professionals during the panels and talks held at the fair which in recent years has become a meeting platform of the contemporary art community.
Museums and Arts & Culture Centers
There are numerous arts & culture venues and museums in the capital. Ankara houses cultural and artistic artifacts from the past to the present in several museums.
CerModern, established in 2010 following the restoration of an old railway factory, contributes to the development of cultural and artistic production in the city and hosts national and international art events and exhibitions. At the same time, educational programs, concerts, festivals, and film screenings are held at the venue. The art library in the museum contains reference books published in the field of modern arts, performing arts, and philosophy.
The Ankara State Museum of Painting and Sculpture has been hosting art lovers since 1980 in its magnificent building built in the Neoclassical style. The museum exhibits national collections of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and Turkish decorative art from the last period of the Ottoman Empire to the present. The galleries are organized according to art movements and contain valuable masterpieces of Turkish artistic production. The Ankara State Museum of Painting and Sculpture has been recently renovated in accordance with contemporary principles of museology. Apart from the museum, it also houses a concert hall for concerts, theatrical plays, and other performances.
Founded by businessman and collector Sarp Evliyagil, Museum Evliyagil has become one of the indispensable venues of Ankara's contemporary art life since its establishment. The museum displays hundreds of art pieces, including giant sculptures, from Sarp Evliyagil's collection. Alongside the permanent collection, there are temporary exhibitions held around different themes. The museum also has a sculpture garden, a movie hall, and a library.
SALT is a cultural institution in public service. SALT’s multi-layered programs are distributed through SALT Ankara by collaborating with numerous host institutions. SALT spread its Ankara-based research and programs, which began at SALT Ulus in April 2013, to different locations throughout the city. Exhibitions and public programs engaging with today’s urgencies are presented within the existent cultural infrastructure, while research projects around Ankara’s multi-layered history are expanded with collaborations. Addressing the imbalance of contemporary cultural activity across Türkiye, SALT founded a base in the capital with the aim of stepping beyond the İstanbul-oriented agenda.
Other museums that dominate Ankara's art scene are the Erimtan Archaeology and Arts Museum, which hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions, and the Şefik Bursalı Museum, named after the famous Turkish artist Şefik Bursalı. The museum used to be the "workshop-house" where Şefik Bursalı lived and created his art. A selection of work was donated by the artist to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the museum offers a glimpse into all the periods of the artist’s life.
The Mustafa Ayaz Museum and Plastic Arts Center Foundation, named after the artist Mustafa Ayaz, its founder, organizes exhibitions and artistic events with local and foreign artists in order to develop the contemporary plastic arts. The museum also exhibits the artist’s work covering the range of his artistic production.
The Ankara Music and Fine Arts University holds concerts and organizes exhibitions in the art gallery within the university.
There are countless arts & culture centers and art galleries that house Ankara's very vibrant art scene. Throughout the year, exhibitions, theatrical plays, film screenings, concerts, workshops, and talks are held at these arts & culture centers. Also, several art galleries contribute greatly to the development of artistic production in the city and numerous contemporary and modern Turkish and international artists have been introduced to the audiences through their exhibitions and events.