Kim? Contemporary Art Centre
Kim? Contemporary Art Centre acquires the building at Hanzas Street 22

The government has supported the contemporary art scene in Riga by handing over the real estate property at Hanzas Street 22 to the public benefit organization Kim?. The “Law on the Transfer and Use of Real Estate in Riga, Hanzas Street 22”, adopted by the Saeima on March 27, stipulates that the property will be renovated and opened to the public within five years.


“We are eternally grateful to the state (the Saeima, the Education, Culture and Sports Committee, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Finance, and the State Real Estate), which has not only appreciated our hard work over 15 years but also supported our determined plans for the future. The hardest work is still ahead, but for the first time in our long history, we have the opportunity to plan for the long term,” says founder of Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Zane Čulkstēna.


Since its founding, Kim? has occupied various rented locations, often initiating cultural revitalization in neglected areas through its activities. From 2009 to 2016, the Kim? Contemporary Art Centre was situated in Spīķeri, transforming the space into a hub for art exhibitions using its own resources. However, following the sale of this property, Kim? was compelled to relocate. In 2016, it became the pioneering tenant of the Sporta Quarter, playing a key role in making this space accessible to the public. Now, as Kim? approaches its 15th anniversary, there is a strategic plan to broaden its scope within the new premises to complement its program with artist residencies and workshops.


“Kim? has proven itself for 15 years, supporting Latvian artists and promoting their careers both here and abroad. Yet, despite our successes, we’ve never had a place to call our own, with a significant portion of our budget swallowed by high rents. Now, securing a permanent home opens up new possibilities. Instead of giving our funds to private investors, we can channel more of them into nurturing the talent of our artists,” says Evita Goze, Executive Director of Kim?.


“It’s a great development that the property at Hanzas Street 22, previously unused by the public sector, will now serve a wonderful new purpose with Kim? Contemporary Art Centre is taking the reins. Kim? is recognized for its significant role in the contemporary art world, essentially serving the public in a unique and meaningful way. For years, there’s been a collaborative effort to plan the future of this location, and after a thorough evaluation of Kim? ‘s activities and ambitions, it’s clear they have a solid plan for both the building’s use and their fundraising strategies. We’re genuinely excited about this partnership because Kim? is set to become not just a tenant but a responsible steward of this space. The building is on the brink of a vibrant transformation, promising a fresh start for both the structure and the art center, which will surely turn it into a bustling, well-curated hub for artistic endeavors,” says Andris Vārna, Board member of the State Real Estate.


From 1948 to 2015, the building at Hanzas Street 22 housed the Riga Food Industry Technical School and the Riga Business College, but it has been empty since 2015. Last December, the public got a sneak peek at the new location when one of its halls hosted the four-day exhibition Black Market ’23, an art market exhibition with 26 artists from Latvia. The building will make its grand public debut in the summer of 2024 when Kim? will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a new contemporary art festival “New Address: EDEN”. Development of a construction project for the new address has been launched by the architecture office Vilnis Mičulis. In the upcoming months, Kim? will present a more comprehensive plan of the future home and the project’s progress to the public.