We Are Museums has been to Riga a total of 4 times in the past year, so it’s safe to say we are quite enamoured with Latvia’s capital. The past week saw We Are Museums meet all of its partners, explore museums, coworking spaces, contemporary art offering, healthy cafés and much more to prepare for our yearly event, this coming June 2017. A few highlights below!
Meet our venues
The Latvian National Museum of Art is a gem
Would we say it even though the LNMA was not our co-venue host and main organizer? Totally. We feel like regionally, the very recently restored and reopened museum in the very center of Riga got the attention it deserved but not so much internationally. And still…from the moment she saw it, our co-founder Diane branded it an ‘Instagram Museum’ as every bit of it is a piece of beauty and worth photographing. While segmenting its audiences, the LNMA discovered that lots of them are ‘experience seekers’, meaning that they have managed to reach well beyond the museum visitor spectrum. This window below even has its own Instagram hashtag!
Most importantly, the LNMA is a beautifully curated journey through classic, modern and contemporary Latvian art that is absolutely worth-seeing, all of its 4 floors, accompanied by their very well designed mobile app that lets you know all the restoration process details.
So with all of that, we are more than glad to announce that the LNMA will host We Are Museums’ workshop spaces for the event, because who would not want to brainstorm within these 4 walls?
The Art Academy of Latvia will be our main conference host
Speaking of which, meet our first art school venue! the direct neighbour of the LNMA, the Art Academy of Latvia is reminiscent of…every best Harry Potter’s fantasy? More seriously, The Art Academy of Latvia was founded in 1919 by one of the first Latvian professional painters and the first rector of the Academy Vilhelms Purvītis (1872-1945). The academy is both beautiful on the outside with its Neo-Gothic flair as it is on the outside with its rose-shaped Art Nouveau stained glasses. We’ll be hosted in the Academy’s main exhibition room, and we are going beyond the ‘white cube paradigm’ this year. Here’s to an edition constantly blending old and new.
Riga, a contemporary and creative hub in the making
Riga has seen its contemporary appeal take-off recently with the upcoming opening of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art (LMCA), and the reinstallation of Kim?, which has questioned the very meaning of art since 2009. Kim? is now settled in bigger spaces and currently offers a great curation of Latvian young artists abroad on top of a very ambitious education and awareness programme. No doubt we will be speaking about their initiative more in the future!
A direct neighbour to Kim? is Tech Hub Riga, the local iteration of the famous Tech Hub brand that started in London. We were lucky enough to meet months ahead of We Are Museums and Museum Rocket and through Tech Hub discover events and venues that shape Riga’s startup and entrepreneurial scene. Since 2014, TechHub Riga has helped accelerate many regional startups through their facilities, network and collaborations. This is not the last time you will hear us talk about the work achieved at TechHub as we hope to be part of it, too!
Listening to Latvian museum professionals: Museum Tomorrow Latvia
A topic for another post, but let us also mention here the first meeting of Museum Tomorrow Latvia, an initiative we share with the LNMA and with the Museum Association of Latvia to initiate exchanges of good practices between museum professionals in Latvia. The first session took place on 5 October in Riga with LNMA, the National Literature and Music Museum and the Raina Tadenava Museum of Childhood presenting. With 50 people attending, the goal was to share experiences of successes (or not) focusing on making the museum more friendly and communicative towards its visitors and to brainstorm on the future museum vistor and worker. Next February and April we are traveling to Daugavpils and Kuldiga to promote the project and get to know however much we can about the current state of things in Latvia. This is our second regional attempt after Museum Think Tank Berlin and we hope it won’t be the last!
Further information on We Are Museums 2017 will be unveiled soon so in the meantime, we are happy to share a few bits on organisations and entities that (will) help make museums grow out of the box in every aspect. Share the love for Riga, readers!
Images: We Are Museums, TechHub Riga, Art Academy of Latvia, Ledlab, Lsm.lv