The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Spīķeri district and end of the Andrejsala story

A summary – if Andrejsala was the hippy 60’s, then Spīķeri was the commercialized 70’s. For four years (2004-2008) Latvian culture life was centered in Andrejsala, the Riga harbor district which had recently been witness to gentrification but had subsequently been abandoned after conflicts had erupted between the initiatives and the initiators – The new Riga development company, an expert working in the real property development business that was fully owned by the Norwegian company Port Pro AS. JAU. In the meantime, part of the warehouses situated around the central market area were also undergoing gentrification, and in contrast to Andrejsala, where in four years of activity, it had mainly been something akin to an open space that had been provided, Spīķeri’s focus was much more concentrated on new mainstream forms of creativity: the creative industries. Artistic enterprises were invited to generate dynamic projects in these well-renovated 19th century brick buildings. This is why some of the initiatives originally based in Andrejsala changed their location, while other, existing ones gained new spaces and new ones popped up. The Spīķeri territory – “one of the hottest neighborhoods on the Riga art and culture scene“ – today houses a number of contemporary art, music, film and theatre institutions intended to enhance the commercialization and gentrification of the area. EI, 2009