© 2008 Serde

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SERDE story


In 2002 a collective of young artists founded NGO Interdisciplinary Art group SERDE and did their first art project “Other Goods”. With this project in specially designed tent they brought modern art works to the Latvian rural areas for public events such as City festivals or fairs. One of the place was small rural town Aizpute. When the SERDE team went on a walk though the town they found an abandoned yard with empty warehouse build in German fachwerk style. As all their previous attempts to find an artist studio in the capital city Riga was not successful, they decided to ask the Aizpute municipality about the possibility to rent this warehouse and use it for an artist studio. The first meeting with authorities of Aizpute was very successful and the head of the town offered all of the historical house complex that was abandoned at that time and meant to be demolish. As the house complex had a historical value and has been listed in the National State Monuments list the town didn’t get permission to demolish it. The SERDE artists initiative came as a great solution for the municipality as what to do with these abandoned buildings.

The house complex indeed was in very bad condition but SERDE artists had jumped into the cultural heritage adventure without prior knowledge what does the culture heritage mean in reality and how to maintain the historical houses. From their artist education they only had experience from art history classes and some artwork copies what they did in their art studies.

Thanks to the local monument inspector and researcher who did research about the house complex constructions and historical values the SERDE team got to know with what to start. From the SERDE team members who only had a career and experience in art, they quickly got turned into restorers and builders. Most of the work what was done in SERDE house complex, was done by SERDE team members and enthusiasts during the International restoration workshops, what were organized as an annual summer camp. The main goal was not to damage the historical house complex with modern additions but to preserve it for the next generations and give a new function to these old houses.

The history of this house complex starts at the beginning of the 18th century and until the very end of the 20th century there were mostly shops on the 1st floor and apartments on the 2nd floor. The biggest damages to the building were made during the Soviet era when almost all of the house was remodeled in small apartments called “living room kitchen”, leaving alcohol and household good shops in the 1st floor.

In 2002 SERDE team started restoration and preservation works in the house complex with an aim to create an environment for artist residencies and workshops centre. The first artist symposium already happened in 2003 when the first 2 rooms were ready to use. Step by step with respect to the cultural heritage the historical house complex SERDE residencies and workshop centre developed, and nowadays it has the possibility to host about twenty artists and cultural workers, has studios for work with ceramics, metal, wood materials and largest analog photo studio in Latvia.

SERDE centre has four programs:

Cultural heritage program – where the main object is the historical house complex what SERDE team restores and maintains. Within this program SERDE organizes annual restoration workshops for the local and international audience to learn how to maintain historical buildings. The culture heritage program includes guided tours through Aizpute historical town and surroundings, to get to know the cultural heritage values. The house complex on 2016 was inscribed in the National State monuments list as a cultural monument of national importance. In 2010, 2015 and 2020, SERDE participated in European Heritage days program.

Intangible cultural heritage programsince 2005 SERDE organizes field works and expeditions to collect the memories and testimonies about different skills and local history. The results of these researches are published in the SERDE series “The Notebook of the Traditions”, currently 25 issues. After the researches some of the documented skills were presented back as reconstruction of the documented process to the wider audience in the format of exhibition, performance or workshops. One of such research with exhibition series and workshops was about illegal strong alcohol making “Točka” which got the Folklore award in 2007 as the best example in the category “Innovation in tradition”. In 2016 SERDE received the UNESCO accreditation as Non-Governmental Organization accredited to provide advisory services to the Committee.

Artist in residency programevery summer SERDE residencies and workshops centre hosts international artists with different art backgrounds and projects. Many of them have an impact to the local environment and give input to the local community – sculptures and a mural in town, open studios and performances, etc. SERDE is long-term member of the worldwide residency network ResArtis and during these years had a great international collaboration with various artist residencies centres and programs.

Interdisciplinary art program – SERDE organizes various cultural projects and research laboratories where the boundaries of art, culture and technologies disciplines merges and expands. As one of the examples is the annual Art and Craft fair Applethink, which brings together artists and researchers who have worked in SERDE residencies centre during the summer season and local craftsmen, musicians and bearers of traditions.

Nowadays SERDE residencies and workshop centre, located in historical house complex, has became a place for local, national and international cross disciplinary culture meetings and art collaborations.


The residencies centre is located in the historical centre of Aizpute (~180 km from capital city Riga, 30 km from Baltic sea-coast) and the building complex is unique example of wooden and red bricks architecture in Latvia built on 18th century.



The residencies program coordinators team :

Signe Pucena - researcher of traditional culture and culture projects manager,

Ugis Pucens - artist, restaurateur and producer of art and culture symposiums, festivals and exhibitions,

Ance Ausmane - asistant


Members and collaborators:

Ieva Vītola - researcher of traditional culture; co-producer of expeditions and publications

Jānis Zvirgzds Zvirgzdiņš - sculptor

Mārcis Bendiks - photographer; producer black and white photo laboratory

Jānis Tolpežņikovs - restorer; leader of public restoration workshops

Kārlis Alainis - sculptor; producer of international cast iron symposium

Maris Grosbahs - artist and curator.




State Culture Capital Foundation

  • Culture and art projects
  • The restauration of house complex on Atmodas street 9, Aizpute

Kulturkontakt Nord

  • Residencies program
  • Culture and art projects

EU program Culture 2000

  • Culture and art projects

City Council of Aizpute

  • The restauration of house complex on Atmodas street 9, Aizpute
  • Culture and art projects

City Council of Roja

  • Annual symposium ROJA-RAKU

City Council of Riga

  • Culture and art projects

Latvian Foundation/USA

  • Reconstruction of Traditional ceramic kiln of Kurland
  • Festival POTTERY

The Culture department of Liepaja city

  • Culture and art projects



The New Media centre RIXC

Latvian Centre for Contemporary art

Culture Management Centre Lauska

New Theatre Institute of Lavia

The Art Academy of Latvia

Nida art colony

Klaipėda Culture Communication Centre

Centre for Art and Social Practice MoKS

Sanna Culture Manor


Art and Nature Center Mustarinda http://mustarinda.f



Les Pepinieres

Tanec Praha