Diasporas Makslas Centrs Center for Latvian Diaspora Art
Latvian Art


The Board of Directors of the Global Society for Latvian Art is pleased to announce that July 2013 meetings in Rīga and Cēsis have resulted in a significant step forward for the project to establish a Center for Latvian Diaspora Art in Cēsis (PLMC, or Pasaules latviešu mākslas centrs).

PLMC has formed a construction team that will organize the renovation of the Sporta Zāle at Lielā Skolas iela 6, in Cēsis, to create the Ripa Family Gallery, named in honor of the Ripa family’s donation to the organization of property in Sigulda, sale of which provided initial funding for the project. This team consists of three knowledgeable and talented individuals, Dainis Mjartāns, Eriks Lismanis and Norvels Hermanovskis.

Dainis Mjartāns, PLMS Latvija Vice-president, will coordinate and supervise the project, regularly reporting to the Board of Directors. He is currently a member of the Latvian National Electronic Media Council. After graduating from the Minsteres Latvian High School, he studied mass communications and politics and received a Master’s degree in public relations from the School of Business Administration Turiba. Dainis has worked for Radio Free Europe, as Special Advisor to Minister for Social Integration/International Observer in the Ukrainian presidential elections. He writes for a number of publications and is actively involved in the traditional culture center, Latgaļu sāta. We are grateful to Dainis for selling the property donated by the Ripa family to gain seed money for the Cēsis renovation.

Eriks Lismanis has agreed to serve as our construction/ project manager. Eriks grew up in New York, but has resided and worked in Latvia for the last seven years. He spent 17 years in the consulting, property management and construction business in the United States, and now owns and operates a real estate, management and construction company in Latvia with his wife Aina. Eriks is familiar with business practices in Latvia, and has generously offered his services at a reduced rate, since we are a nonprofit organization. He visited Cēsis with a group of PLMC members and was enthusiastic about the possibilities for transforming the former school gymnasium into a lovely gallery.

Norvels Hermanovskis is a master interior designer, fresco painter and decorative artisan, with projects and offices from New York to Hong Kong and the Middle East. He has recently relocated with his wife and design partner and business manager Feja to Latvia. They are currently engaged in a major project designing the Laima Chocolate Company Museum and all Laima stores. Norvels and Feja have studied in the USA and Italy. Norvels is the grandson of Theodore Hermanovskis, a prominent pre-war architect in Riga, and his own conceptual art work was part of the first PLMS traveling exhibition. We are thrilled that they have offered to help us on a pro bono basis to develop the interior of the gallery.

It is estimated that the first phase of the PLMC project, renovation of the Ripa Gallery, will cost approximately $100,000, 90% of which has already been raised or pledged. We feel confident that the first phase of construction is realistic and within our means. The second space will require less to renovate, as that wing of the former school is in good condition. If the total cost of space renovation is $150,000, PLMS has already raised 2/3 of this goal. Needless to say, additional funds will be needed for the second gallery, continuing development of the collection, and artistic programming needs after the Center is open to the public.

The renovation work will begin in the autumn months, as soon as an architect has been selected. As most of the work is interior work, it can continue during the winter and be completed by May 2014, in time for our Grand Opening Celebration to happen in conjunction with all the cultural activity that will take place when Riga is a European 2014 Cultural Capital in 2014.

During the recent Latvia trip, Board member Raimonds Slaidiņš graciously hosted a round-table discussion for a group of 15 PLMS supporters. The distinguished members of this group representing the cultural community expressed their interest in and enthusiasm for the plan to open a Center in Cēsis:

Rolands Lappuķe (ambassador at large for diaspora matters from the foreign ministry)
Lilita Zatlere (honorary board)
Dace Lamberga (curator at LNMM)
Maija Hinkle (president, La Pa Museum)
Raimonds Slaidiņš (PLMS board)
Norvels and Feja Hermanovskis (principals, Fejadesign)
Ēriks Lismanis (project manager)
Marika Zeimule (director of Madona Art School)
Susan Mundheim (director, White Box Theater, USA)
Māris Brancis (art critic, historian)
Zane Čulkstēna (co-curator for Latvian Pavilion at Venice Biennale)
Dainis Mjartāns (PLMS Latvia Vice-president)
Guna Mundheim (PLMS secretary)
Lelde Kalmīte (PLMS president)

In addition to the Riga meeting, a small group of PLMS members met in Cēsis with Juris Žagars, who is the director of Cēsis Art and Music Festival. He was enthusiastic and eager to work with us to promote the arts. We also met with Nata Livonska, Director of the Cēsis Exhibition Hall, who has been collaborating with us on developing the growing art collection. During our visit, Nata showed us yet another small exhibit that she had organized in the Cēsis Jaunā Pils, utilizing works from our collection.

PLMC has cultivated a cordial relationship with the Latvian National Art Museum, in particular with curator Dr. Dace Lamberga, who is responsible for the monumental Arsenals exhibit this past summer of Latvian Exile Art, for which 16 works were borrowed from the PLMC collection already in Cēsis.

During the past year, PLMS has organized two additional shipments of art works, books and documents to our storehouse in Cēsis, including works by Ludolfs Liberts, Dagmara Igale, Māris Raudziņš, Lelde Ore Vinters, Janis Zvirbulis, Jānis Kalmīte, Otto Grunde, and 12 paintings from Līga Kilmane’s father’s collection of Latvian art.

The Board of Directors invites everyone who is interested in preserving Latvian diaspora art to contribute financially, and to consider also donating art works to the collection.


Artists whose work is pictured at top of page from left to right:
Ilze Arājs, Lidija Dombrovska Larsena, Ēriks Dzenis


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LatvianDiasporaArt.org Pasaules latviešu mākslas savienība/Global Society for Latvian Art