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Latvia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.1 Amateur arts and folk culture

Traditional and amateur art is linked to culture houses and cultural centres located throughout Latvia (see chapter 8.4.2). The new cultural policy guidelines "Creative Latvia 2014-2020" recognise the important role of participation in the arts.

Participation of Latvian inhabitants in amateur art groups has sharply declined after 1990 when 4.57% of the population took part in amateur art groups, while in 1992 – only 2.9%. Since the end of the 1990s, the participation rate is stable, reaching 3.33% in 2008, 3.06% in 2009, and 3.05% in 2010.

Due to the economic crisis, state subsidies to the organisers of amateur art groups were reduced, thus the development of amateur art is now mainly the responsibility of municipalities. Latvian National Centre for Culture (under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture) has a coordinating role. The aim of the Agency's activities is to implement national policies in the field of intangible cultural heritage and in the associated fields of amateur arts, as well as in cultural education. It is also organising different events, festivities, and seminars involving amateur art groups all over the country.

Folk art, or its contemporary interpretation, is the basic activity for a great majority of amateur art groups (especially dance and folk ensembles). Choir singing is another significant aspect of the amateur art sector. Once every 5 years, the best amateur choirs and dance groups are selected to take part in the Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Festival which is among the most important cultural events in the country. It is included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. The last festival took place in the summer of 2013 gathering about 40 000 participants.

See chapter 4.2.4 on support for traditional culture of ethnic minority groups.

Chapter published: 08-10-2014

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