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A games labyrinth for kids will be created next to Riga Cathedral

April 4, 2017

This year, under the auspices of its New Riga programme that supports civic improvements in Central Riga, the ABLV Charitable Foundation will invest EUR 50,000 in the creation of the first children’s playground and activity area in Riga’s Old Town.

The designer of the functional and aesthetic environmental object Labyrinth, which will open this year for the enjoyment of the city’s residents and guests within the grounds of the Riga Cathedral, is sculptor Liene Mackus. The project will be implemented by the idea’s authors: the NGO “Sineccura” in collaboration with the Riga Cathedral.

“One of the goals of the ABLV Charitable Foundation’s New Riga programme, in accordance with Riga’s development strategy, is to foster the development of a healthy and safe surrounding environment, at the same preserving its cultural-historical value. Leisure spots for families with kids are an important urban infrastructure element. In Riga’s Old Town, no cultural environment currently exists of the kind that Labyrinth will introduce, concurrently developing and landscaping the grounds outside Riga Cathedral. We hope that this original playground for children will be very popular with local residents and tourists,” explains ABLV Charitable Foundation Chairman of the Board Zanda Zilgalve.

There is no coincidence in the choice of name for the project. In creating this work, sculptor Liene Mackus was inspired by the lines of former houses and streets worked into the paving of the Riga Cathedral square, continuing these within the playground and forming a historical-contemporary labyrinth, which nurtures a poetic and eclectic appreciation of the world on the part of visitors. The spatial bronze sculptured animals that will be installed in the labyrinth and other parts of the square were inspired by mythical medieval animals. The vision for the project is explained in more detail by NGO “Sineccura” Member of the Board Madara Šķēle-Dupate, “We are grateful to the ABLV Charitable Foundation for its vital support and Riga Cathedral for its openness and responsiveness in making the execution of the project possible. With this significant project for residents, we wish to encourage the emergence within the urban environment of small architectural forms rich in art and of high aesthetic value. The project will nurture the appreciation of both children and adults of the nature of an aesthetic environment, art and architecture. A contemporary, safe and artistic playground is a good way in which to present information in a manner that is both physically and emotionally easy to perceive.”

“The Council for the Preservation and Development of Riga’s Historical Centre has backed the idea of the creation of a lightweight children’s playground and activity area within the grounds adjoining Riga Cathedral, which will thus stimulate the landscaping and development of the broader grounds. In my opinion, the "Labirints" project will prove to be a valuable contemporary feature and bright and life-affirming event in the development of Riga’s Old Town that will blend in harmoniously with its authentic cultural-historical heritage. This is a valuable addition not only to the urban environment, but also to public awareness of historical places, and exemplifies the eclectic quality they can assume when transformed with the introduction of areas specially designed for the enjoyment of children," believes Dagnija Baltiņa, the UNESCO Latvian National Commission’s representative on the Council for the Preservation and Development of Riga’s Historical Centre.

The children’s playground and activity area in Riga’s Old Town is the third urban environmental project to be supported by the ABLV Charitable Foundation under the auspices of the foundation’s New Riga programme. Last year, with the foundation’s support, Riga’s biggest fountain, in Kronvalda Park adjoining the Riga Congress Centre, was renovated and modernised, creating an interactive fountain that is only one of its kind in Europe. In 2015, the ABLV Charitable Foundation supported an urban greenery project, under the auspices of which nine new lime trees were planted alongside existing lime trees on Elizabetes Street.

The grant competition to find an object to grace the urban environment in 2018 will be announced by the ABLV Charitable Foundation in April this year. The information will be published on the foundation’s website: www.ablv.org.

Under the ABLV Charitable Foundation’s New Riga programme, under the auspices of the grant competition that takes place once a year, NGOs and institutions may submit ideas for civic improvements on the scale of a specific quarter, courtyard or street in Central Riga. Co-financing may make up to 80% of total project expenditures. The objective of the Urban Environment initiative, one of the realms supported under the New Riga programme, is to facilitate the landscaping of the environment, the development of construction projects of public importance and the arrangement of the grounds adjacent to them, thus facilitating the development of an aesthetically pleasing and safe environment. In creating new cultural heritage, particular attention is devoted to preserving the existing one. Moreover, ideas must conform to sustainable development strategy of Riga until 2030 and to development programme of Riga for 2014-2020.

About the ABLV Charitable Foundation
The ABLV Charitable Foundation was founded in 2006 by ABLV Bank shareholders Ernests Bernis and Oļegs Fiļs, in order to put their core values into practice in real life and support the responsibility of entrepreneurs towards society and the environment. The Foundation functions as ABLV Bank's main partner in the realm of charitable activity, supporting creative people and outstanding organisations that invest their efforts and knowledge, in order to achieve universally important goals - to create a united, abundant and safe society. From the time it was established, the Foundation has focused its attention on contemporary art, the welfare of children and adolescents, the development of education and civic society. Moreover, ABLV Charitable Foundation is the co-founder of the future Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, which will open its doors in 2021. It is worth highlighting that a record sum of EUR 1,046,173 was donated to the Foundation's 10th anniversary charitable campaign, of which EUR 810,995 in donations were made under the "New Riga" programme to fund civic improvements in the centre of the capital and to support the establishment of the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art. Over the years, the Foundation has supported 300 projects, allocating co-financing to them amounting to over EUR 3 million.

More detailed information is available from:

Inese Rītele,
Project Manager,
ABLV Charitable Foundation
Phone: (+371) 67281383
E-mail: inese.ritele@ablv.org
www.ablv.org

Juris Pētersons,
Communication Consultant,
NGO "Sineccura"
Phone: (+371) 29100661
E-mail: juris@jazz-com.com

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