During the half Century-long Soviet occupation of Latvia (1940-1990), many Latvian artists continued to create while exiled abroad. The mission of the Global Center for Latvian Art (Pasaules latviešu mākslas centrs – PLMC) is to recover this work – as well as contemporary Latvian art produced abroad – and transport this artwork to Latvia where it can be preserved and exhibited. PLMC was established as a Latvian foundation (nodibinājums) in 2011 by its predecessor organization, The Global Society for Latvian Art (Pasaules latviešu mākslas savienība – PLMS) which is a United States 501c3 nonprofit, founded in 2004 in the state of Illinois. The center is the only institution specifically tasked with preserving Latvian art created outside the country for the public to research and enjoy.
The center is located in beautiful Cēsis, a medieval city nestled in the middle of the Gauja River National Forest, 85 km from Rīga. The city is home to a range of cultural institutions including the Vidzeme concert hall, the Cēsis city gallery, one of the best preserved medieval castle complexes in Europe as well as many galleries, shops and restaurants.
PLMC opened its first gallery in Cēsis in 2014. Over €150,000 was contributed by many individual and organizational donors in order to transform a part of the former Cēsis vocational school into an exhibition space. Named the Ripa Gallery in honor of the major donors, Jānis Ripa and his sisters, a beautiful modern exhibition hall was created in the school’s athletic department, located directly across the street from Cēsis’s 800-year-old St. John’s church in the old town section of the city. A few years later, a second gallery was created in an adjoining space and named the Sipoliņa gallery in honor of a major donation made by Anda Sīpoliņa, daughter of noted Latvian diaspora collector Leopolds Sipoliņš.
PLMC has developed an archive and study center, where its collection of Latvian diaspora art is housed. The collection, presently numbering over 1,200 works, is being digitized and soon will be available to visiting art scholars and the general public. PLMC’s collection of letters, books, posters and other informational materials about Latvian diaspora art is growing as well.
In addition to new exhibits each year at the center in Cēsis, PLMC brings traveling shows to other museums and exhibition venues throughout Latvia. The Center also hosts a number of related events, such as theater performances, concerts, lectures, artist residencies and activities for children.
PLMC is deeply grateful to the City of Cēsis for its significant support of this project and to all the organizations and individual donors who have contributed to make this the largest Latvian diaspora art center in the world. We appreciate your continued support.
Lelde Kalmīte – founder & curator
Dainis Mjartāns – co-founder
Executive Director: Kārlis Kanderovskis
Gallery Manager: Baiba Eglīte
Collections: Rita Šmagre-Žigure
Volunteer: Ingrīda Bite
PLMC is grateful for major capital campaign support from individual donors:
Ripa family: Jānis Ripa, Aija Horton, Ruta Weber
Robert & Guna Mundheim
Juris & Māra Ubāns
John J. Medveckis
Anda K. Sīpoliņa
Vilnis un Mudīte Strazdinš
PLMC is grateful for the support of the following organizations:
Global Society for Latvian Art
Anšlāvs Eglītis and Veronika Janelsiņa Foundation
Klāvs Sīploliņs Foundation
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia
American Latvian Artist’s Association
American Latvian Association Cultural Foundation
Australian Latvian Artist’s Association
Cēsis City Council
Cēsis Bureau of Culture and Tourism
Cēsis Museum of History and Art
Special Assignments Ministry for Social Integration Affairs (Latvia)
Latvian National Association of Canada
Latvian Association of Australia and New Zealand
Latvian Cultural Association BRIDGE
United Latvian Organizations of Minnesota
Latvian Artist’s Union LATVIS (Canada)
New York Artist’s Group
World Association of Free Latvians Cultural Foundation
Latvian National Cultural Capital Foundation Vidzeme Program