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Rīga Art Space

In order to draw attention to the fact that Rīga lacks professional exhibition premises, the Museum of the Artists’ Union of Latvia organised an Art Space campaign within the framework of Art Days in 2003. Each of the participants of the campaign, i. e., artists, curators and art historians, sent a letter to Ingūna Rībena, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, and Gundars Bojārs, the Rīga City Mayor, expressing their proposals for solution of this situation.

On 9 September 2003, as a result of both this art campaign and previous efforts, the Committee of Culture, Art and Religious Affairs, Rīga City Council, initiated a project on Rīga City exhibition hall development in the underground space of the Town Hall Square on the initiative of the Deputy Sarmīte Pīka.

On 9 September 2003, the Department of Culture of the Rīga City Council established a Rīga City Exhibition Hall initiative group.

Professionals of various art and culture institutions were invited to work alongside with officials and deputies of the Rīga City Council.

On 11 November 2003, the Rīga City Council formed a work group for the development of Rīga City Exhibition Hall under Decision No. 2638. Its task was to start developing a project on exhibition hall. During 2004 and 2005 SIA BM&DR, under the supervision of the architect Andis Kalniņš, conducted designing works of the underground premises of the Town Hall. Construction works aimed at adjusting the premises for exhibition processes began in 2007.

 At the beginning of 2007, the Rīga City Council established Rīga Culture Agency, a Rīga municipality agency, with an aim to ensure the diversity and accessibility of cultural occurrences and the purposeful use of cultural heritage in the city. Three culture institutions of strategic importance within the context of Europe work under this agency, namely “Rīga” cinema, Art Nouveau Centre and Rīga City Exhibition Hall “Rīga Art Space”.

At the beginning of 2007 Ieva Kulakova, a curator, historian and former project manager of the Rīga City Exhibition Hall, was elected as a creative director of the Rīga City Exhibition Hall “Rīga Art Space” in an open competition.

The official opening of Rīga Art Space took place on 17 January 2008. Several appreciated art projects have already been organised within the framework of the exhibition hall project development, including “Emergency Biennale” project, “Conversation” and “I-Tag” art campaigns, and a solo exhibition of the painter Miķelis Fišers.

The most important art projects implemented in 2008 include Paramirrors II. Crystals, a solo exhibition of Gints Gabrāns who is a participant of the 52nd Venice Biennale, Invisible Pearls, a solo exhibition of internationally acclaimed artist Jaan Tomik, Spectropia, a new media art exhibition and Personal Exhibition, a solo exhibition of Katrīna Neiburga who is Ars Fennica award candidate.

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