The Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation programme “Art in the Public Space” is the philanthropists’ contribution to Riga’s emergence as an outstanding cultural metropolis. This programme is rendered particularly important by the circumstance that it has become fully operational in 2014, coinciding with Riga becoming the European Capital of Culture and Latvia preparing for its presidency of the European Union during the first half of 2015.
The goals of the program are highly artistic and at the same time socially significant.The practical side of the programme involves the creation of permanent works of contemporary art in the urban environment.
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 programme’s curator is art historian Helēna Demakova.
History, art objects and events
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, and installation of a monument to the great Latvian-born ballet dancer Māris Liepa outside the Latvian National Opera and Ballet Theatre building (unveiled in 2013).
In 2013, “Riga Smiles”, a competition - exhibition was held showcasing art works in the urban environment (13 Latvian artists participated). 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 10 Latvian artists). The Foundation undertakes to gradually 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.
In 2014, the first three works were unveiled in Riga: Ojārs Pētersons’ environmental design object “The Large Vase ¾” outside the National Library of Latvia, Brigita Zelča – Aispure and Sandis Aispurs’ object “Still Life” 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 was 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. Besides, within the framework of the Art Program Tête-à-Tête 2015, the exhibition of Latvian contemporary art "A Bigger Peace, A Smaller Peace" and an international conference on art in public space took place.
In 2016, the second part of “The Large Vase”, a large-format art object by an artist Ojārs Pētersons, was unveiled. It is now located near the Riga Stradiņš University. In the summer of 2021, the art object "Large Vase 1/4" was placed to its originally intended location near the main building of Riga Stradins University (Dzirciema Street 16) - next to the alma mater of philanthropist, doctor, and businessman Boris Teterev. Previously, the "Large Vase 1/4" was in a temporary place - in a semicircle at the Akmens bridge and AB dam. The third and final part of the object is comprised of the publication of a fragment of Garlieb Helwig Merkel’s book "Vidzeme’s Ancient Times". It is available in Latvian 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 2019, on its 100th anniversary, the Latvian Academy of Arts received a special gift from the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation - the art object “Plato and Democritus” created by the artist Ernest Klavins. It was erected in the academy garden.