The programme’s "Art in Public Space" leitmotif is THE JOY OF THOUGHT to emphasise that contemporary art can spring surprises and highlight paradoxes of a positive nature, as well as introduce global trends and the presence of thought to the urban environment.
The practical aspiration of the programme is create enduring works of contemporary art in the urban environment. The programme’s curator is art historian Helēna Demakova.
In 2013, “Riga Smiles”, a competition - exhibition was held showcasing art works in the urban environment (proposals were submitted by 12 Latvian artists). In 2014, it was followed by the competition “On the Bench!” (14 Latvian artists participated) and another competition - exhibition “Riga Smiles Again” (works were submitted by 14 Latvian artists).
The Foundation undertakes to gradually execute and install jury-recommended award-winning works in Riga’s urban environment.
On 30 April 2014, a memorandum of collaboration was signed with Riga Council regarding the implementation of the “Art in Public Space” programme in Riga until 2018 and a similar agreement was concluded on 1 September 2014 with the City of Riga’s Architect’s Bureau.
The first three works were unveiled in Riga in 2014: Ojārs Pētersons’ environmental design object “The Large Vase ¾” outside the National Library of Latvia, Brigita Zelča – Aispure and Sandis Aispurs’ object “Still Life” (video) in the University of Latvia’s Botanical Garden and Ēriks Božis’ object “Benches” on Bastejkalns. In addition, an exhibition of contemporary art works "Greetings Head!" also took place under the auspices of the arts programme "Tête-à-Tête" 2014.
In 2015, Riga’s urban environment were augmented by Brigita Zelča – Aispure’s object “The Edge”, Ieva Rubeze’s art object “Sculpture “The Ghost” at Trokšņu Street and Liene Mackus’ “Lion of Riga” on Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street next to the “Mākslas muzejs” (“Art Museum”) public transport stop.
In 2016, the second part of “The Large Vase”, a large-format object by artist Ojārs Pētersons, was unveiled. It is located in the semi-circle alongside Akmens Bridge and AB Dam. The third and final part of the work is comprised of a publication that is available to the general public in all of Latvia’s libraries.
In 2017, in its turn, Aigars Bikše’s permanent environmental art object "The Girl with the Shoe" has been unveiled at the University of Latvia’s Botanical Garden.
In addition, under the auspices of the arts programme "Tête-à-Tête" 2015, an exhibition of Latvian contemporary art was held entitled "Lielāks miers, mazāks miers" ("A Bigger Peace, A Smaller Peace") along with an international conference on art in public space.
The programme’s activities began in 2012 with the installation in the atrium of the Art Museum Riga Bourse of “Gondola”, a work by Russian artist Dimitry Gutov, the creation of which was made possible by the support of the Foundation. The Foundation was also instrumental in providing support for the execution and erection outside the LNO of a monument to the great Latvian-born ballet dancer Māris Liepa (unveiled in 2013).