Renovated national art gallery revealed

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Riga mayor Nils Usakovs and Culture Minister Dace Melbarde on Tuesday revealed the new face of Latvia's national art gallery following a two-year, multi-million euro renovation project. 

Speaking at the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) as the first visitors were allowed to glimpse the interior, Riga Mayor Nil Usakov said: "This national architectural monument has served the public without being overhauled for 107 years, and now in two years a huge amount of work has been carried out which also doubles the museum's floor space."

Removation of the Soviet-era VEF Palace of Culture in north Riga would be next on the agenda, he added.

Minister of Culture Dace Melbārde: "Latvian National Museum of Art building renovation and reconstruction is an important cultural event to improve the infrastructure in the context of Latvia's national centenary celebrations.

"It will once again see Latvian visual art masterpieces in one place, as well as offering broad international cooperation projects," Melbārde said.

The design for the extensive renovation came from Lithuanian architects "Processoffice" and included the excavation of a large subterranean space.

The total cost of the project was nearly €29m of which €16m came from Riga city council and €13m from European Union funds.

The general public will get their first chance to see the new temple of art during special 'open door days' to be held 12-16 December.

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