Riga Christmas Tree Trail – Public Art Exhibition
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the festive decorations. From wreaths to bows, snowflakes to candy canes, I love how city streets, shop windows and public buildings are transformed. Riga, the capitol of Latvia, has taken this one step further and is sponsoring a public art exhibition called the Christmas Tree Trail. Artists and students have constructed modern interpretations of the classic Christmas tree. These fantastic sculptures are on display throughout the city from December 6 – January 12. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites!
All photos are by Juris Kalniņš and are used with permission from Live Riga.
The Christmas Tree Trail (official website) is a fresh interpretation of a very old tradition. Residents of Latvia have been decorating Christmas Trees for over 500 years. In 2010, Riga organized a exhibit of avant garde art trees created by local artists and students from the Latvia Academy of Arts. The event was so popular that it has now become an annual event! Some of the most popular trees are brought back from year to year and shown alongside new pieces. For example, “Who Brought the Christmas Tree” by Iveta Heinacka and Laura Bistrakova (shown above) is back for its second year. For 2013, there are 65 trees in total on display!
The exhibit encourages creativity and supports modern artists. I’m excited to see a city that so embraces public art and sponsors amazing events like this! It shouldn’t be a surprise then that Riga was selected to be the 2014 European Capital of Culture! This year long celebration will feature exhibits, concerts and festivals to showcase the historic art treasures of Riga and its thriving art community. For this and many other reasons, Riga has been showing up on the 2014 recommended travel lists (like National Geographic and Lonely Planet) and is certainly on my radar. I may not make it in time to see these amazing Christmas Trees, but I hope to see Riga soon!