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Riga’s first summer cultural programme will keep residents guessing

Riga’s first summer cultural programme will keep residents guessing

This is the first time the Latvian capital is organizing an urban cultural season

During the past week, Riga’s Council for Education, Culture and Sports announced that it is setting up the organization of what will become the city’s first Summer Culture Programme. For the time being, it has been decided that it will run between 21 June and 31 August featuring events and surprise performances in more than 30 neighbourhoods of the Latvian capital.

‘Surprise’ might be the key word here

Authorities have declared the need for such an organized agenda for culture given the tough situation for the arts and culture sector during the past months. They have also defended the move by showing empathy with the lockdown fatigue that citizens are experiencing.

"This has been a difficult year for all of us, which has also had a huge impact on people's well-being, so with the summer culture program we want to enliven the city's public space and encourage residents to find joy in experiencing the diversity of Riga's cultural organizations and talents in safe conditions," said Maris Krastins, the Councilor of Education, Culture and Sports.

No one is yet sure what the pandemic situation will be during the summer, though officials are being optimistic. Nevertheless, in order to avoid crowding of people, it has already been decided that many of the events will be of a surprise (or pop-up) format, meaning they will not be previously announced and will take place in open-air spaces, such as parks and squares.

This is definitely a novel way of doing things and it remains to be seen how it will unfold. Otherwise, there will also be events in empty shop windows and participation campaigns. The idea is to get people’s attention without compromising their safety.

The budget that has been set aside in order to make the initiative possible amounts to 400,000 euros. These will be distributed among companies, NGOs and producers who work in the cultural sector, which is why their representatives have been invited to apply and submit a project proposal of their own. Each approved project can look forward to receiving up to 15,000 euros.

The deadline to submit a proposal is 20 April (5:00 pm), however, there will also be a live Q&A session on the Education, Culture and Sports Council’s Facebook page on 9 April (1:00 pm), where candidates can ask for clarifications.

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