The creative industry’s quarter at the Maskavas Street Spīķeri warehouse complex promises to evolve into one of the hottest neighbourhoods on the Riga art and culture scene. The grand project is still in its initial phase; however, the red 19th-century brick buildings and warehouses already house a number of contemporary art, music, film and theatre institutions of established quality and prestige – the KIM? Contemporary Art Centre, one of the cornerstones of future development of the Spīķeri quarter, among them.
The Spīķeri territory, owned by Uldis and Jānis Dinne, has been included into the UNESCO World Heritage list; as of 2008, it is home to the unique Museum of Doll Art as well as Dirty Deal Cafe, a hub of contemporary art and one of the most talked-about addresses of the alternative Riga that continues to surprise with impressive music and film events, avant-garde theatre performances, festivals and concerts.
The list of residents and tenants is scheduled to be increased this year with the Visual Communications Department of the Latvian Academy of Art, the RIXC Centre for New Media Culture, the Skaņu Mežs (Forest of Sounds) annual festival of experimental music as well as the conceptually revamped META-KAFE (the first bookstore-restaurant of this kind in the city) and, last but not least, the Sinfonietta Rīga chamber orchestra which, after three years’ worth of effort and battling with the whims and fancies of the time-worn Wagner Concert Hall, has finally found its way to the old warehouses – in other words, to a new rehearsal space and chamber concert hall that seats 140. Another building on the outskirts of the quarter, literally – empty tumbledown walls overgrown with forest, is still expecting its turn; the place is destined to become a branch of the upcoming Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art that’s still waiting for the construction of its own “Castle of Light” – to wit, the museum building – to commence in Andrejsala. At the other end of the territory, another warehouse conversion, already completed yet currently still empty, is scheduled to become a “hatchery” for the creative industry – i.e., home to a string of institutions and businesses representing contemporary culture.
Creative activities in the Spīķeri warehouse complex span several distinct areas, brought together under a common main theme every two months.
kim?/VKN, kim?/RIXC and kim?/FK gallery spaces are filled weekly with exhibitions organized by RIXC and the students of the Visual Communications Department. Once every two weeks, screenings of contemporary theatre, dance and circus performance recordings are organized in collaboration with the New Theatre Institute and Arte TV network, for those who are unable to attend such events in person. The National Film Centre, the Film Museum and the NOASS Culture and Arts Project provide a regular art video and short film programme. Exhibitions and performances are managed by the New Theatre Institute, with the additional involvement of Skaņu Mežs: the festival offers a selection of its strongest finds. And last but not least, there is music – a realm that is frequently explored in various concerts and lectures.
One thing is clear: by using the amazing synergy of various fields of contemporary culture, the Spīķeri will soon become the new epicentre of the Riga creative space, drawing the nearby urban environment – including the embankment of the Daugava, which is already connected to Zaķusala and Andrejsala via the ferry service provided by Darling, a charming Art Nouveau boat – into the exciting maelstrom of its development. The reconstruction of the Spīķeri complex is planned to be completed in 2012 and will also include a space for the best College of Gastronomic Arts in the Baltic region, as well as a farmers’ eco-market. Incidentally, there is already a busy night market between the red brick buildings of the Spīķeri warehouses.
Entrance to all exhibitions and lectures is free. And please follow their websites fort he latest updates on the music and art events.
12 Maskavas Street,
Town Centre, Riga