Located between the Riga Castle (Rīgas Pils) and the Parliament Building (Saeima), Arsenāls is one of Latvia's most prestigious exhibition halls. Now a branch of the Latvian National Museum of Art, this landmark edifice was constructed in the Russian Late Empire style in 1832 as a customs warehouse, functioning under different militaries until the end of the 1980s.
The museum took over from the soldiery in 1989, adapting the historic space to construct a vast exhibition hall, which acts as a magnet for Latvia's contemporary artists. The building is also used as a repository for Latvian works dating from the latter half of the 20th century to the present.
Besides exhibitions and projects by local and international artists, Arsenāls hosts the works of the finalists for the annual Purvītis Prize. Named after the "father of Latvian painting," Vilhelms Purvītis, this is currently the sole major prize for visual art given in Latvia.
The building's second floor is home to the Creative Workshop (Radošā darbnīca), where the adventurous are invited to encounter non-traditional forms of contemporary art in progress.
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Keywords: Riga, museum