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Latvia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Culture houses are the main support base for cultural processes outside of Riga. The major tasks for cultural houses are as follows: to maintain infrastructure in order to accommodate amateur art activities; to secure availability of professional art in the regions; and to sustain intangible cultural heritage.

The number of cultural houses, similarly as the number of other cultural institutions, has been sharply reduced during the transition period. The number of cultural centres has decreased from 891 in 1990 to 559 in 2013. The great majority of the centres are situated outside Riga, providing the basis for cultural activities and cultural participation.

During the last years, numerous cultural houses all over Latvia have been reconstructed and their infrastructure improved, taking advantage of different support schemes, often – EU Structural Funds. In the framework of the new planning period of EU Structural Funds 2007-2013, the reconstruction or building of multifunctional cultural centres and concert halls is planned in the regional centres of Latvia (see chapter 4.2.8). According to the information of the Ministry of Culture up to 2009, 74% of the cultural centres in Latvia have been reconstructed.

In 2013, cultural houses hosted 56 000 participants in 3 252 amateur art groups, while in other cultural centres there were only 11 800 participants in 554 amateur art groups.

The Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Celebration is made possible by this huge and stable framework (see chapter 8.4.1). To keep the tradition alive and maintain quality, culture houses and amateur arts groups were partly supported by the state – either via the Ministry of Culture or via the Culture Capital Foundation, and by local authorities. In 2007 and in 2008, the Ministry of Culture assigned direct support to the salaries of 264 leaders of amateur art groups. In 2009, these subsidies were cancelled due to the economic crisis. Recently these subsidies are being renewed. Municipalities are responsible for the infrastructure and activities taking place in cultural houses.

There is a lack of support schemes for the development of art programmes in cultural houses and the hosting of professional art events. In 2009, 25 617 events took place in culture houses all over Latvia. Only 6.9% were professional art events, while amateur art events formed 38%.

The State Centre of  Education Content (under the Ministry of Education and Science) coordinates extra-curricular education for children and young people, including cultural activities. In 2010, there were 48 children and youth centres in Latvia established by municipalities. See the portal to get more information on public policy for youth. See also chapter 8.3.5 on out-of-school art education.

Chapter published: 08-10-2014

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