OUR STORY: THE PAST AND THE PRESENT OF THE ART ACADEMY OF LATVIA
The Art Academy of Latvia (hereinafter the Academy) was founded in 1919 by one of the first Latvian professional painters and the first rector of the Academy Vilhelms Purvītis (1872-1945). He favoured the development of Latvian art. A modernized tradition of academic education, openness to topical art processes and activities, contribution of the pedagogues in preparing young artists and a high-level performance of the students have ensured and preserved the Academy’s authority till nowadays.
During the dramatic events of the World War II, in spite of the hardships and repressions of occupations, the academic staff of the Academy continued to teach and hand over their knowledge to students. During the Soviet period (1944-1990), in the presence of constant ideological pressure, the Academy attempted to maintain democratic teaching traditions by building relations between lecturers and students on mutual trust.
Political awakening and the restoration of Latvia’s independence in 1990 originated the need to search for a dynamic balance between the academic tradition of art pedagogy and the modern cultural paradigm.
At present the Academy offers the following study programmes:
- Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor’s degree programme in art, duration of studies - 4 years;
- Master of Arts, Master’s degree programme in art, duration of studies - 2 years;
- Doctor of Arts, Doctoral degree programme in art, duration of studies - 3 years.
All the students of the Academy study traditional art techniques of the respective art area, specialize in the application of traditional and untraditional materials, as well as develop creative skills related to the use of modern media. They pile up experience in the implementation of art projects. Basic academic knowledge in art disciplines is acquired in the first four academic years. At the end of the studies students have to develop and present their diploma work.
Further studies can be continued in workshops and the Master’s degree programme. The objective of the workshops is to offer individual studies based on co-operation between the academic staff and the students. The studies are designed according to the creative and professional interests of each student. In the Master’s degree programme students and lecturers focus on in-depth study: summarize, systematize and research materials on the history of Latvia and Latvian art and culture, theory of art, theory of culture and art pedagogy. During the study process, students develop their Master’s theses.
Doctoral studies entail research on the highest level. Doctoral dissertations are revised by independent local and foreign experts and are presented in the Promotion Council of the Academy. Students also take part in various local and international creative activities – exhibitions, symposia, study programmes, creative workshops, competitions etc.
About 700 students study at the Art Academy of Latvia every year. And we are most pleased that the study process is characterized by exceptionally good collaboration between students and their professors. At the moment all study places at the Art Academy of Latvia are funded from the state budget.
There are five faculties at the Academy, which are divided into 14 departments.
Faculty of Visual Arts:
- Department of Painting;
- Department of Graphic Art;
- Department of Textile Art.
Faculty of Visual Plastic Arts:
- Department of Sculpture;
- Department of Ceramics;
- Department of Glass Art.
Faculty of Design:
- Department of Functional Design;
- Department of Metal Design;
- Department of Environment Art;
- Department of Fashion Design.
Faculty of Audio-Visual Art:
- Department of Visual Communication;
- Department of Stage Design.
Faculty of History and Theory of Art:
- Department of History and Theory of Art and Culture;
- Department of Restoration.
Two more departments - Department of Drawing and Department of Humanities - organize and oversee courses to students of all the Academy's departments.