“It is hard to imagine a better location for a residency! The combo of a charming small town and stunning nature create a perfect environment for creation and reflection that is impossible to achieve in the buzz of the big city.”
– Miķelis Putniņš
The residency is situated in a spacious two-storey historical building surrounded by the linden trees of Ernests Šneiders Square and the greenery of the newly established PAiR garden.
Ernests Šneiders was a prominent schoolteacher and headmaster in independent Latvia in the interwar period. He was a man of many talents and an art educator, leading a drama group and a string orchestra in Pāvilosta.
The year 2021 marked the building’s 120th anniversary and also the completion of its renovation by VV Foundation. In spring, the first residents came to stay at the new premises and PAiR gallery opened to the public.
The upper floor has five bedrooms for residents, each equipped with a private bathroom. The ground floor hosts a fully furnished kitchen, dining room, two separate artist studio spaces, weaving studio, library/salon and gallery.
The PAiR garden is more than a lush green spot outside the residency — it is also a space for encounters, co-creation and mutual learning. Here, members of the local community are invited to share and pass on their gardening talents.
This is also a space for discovery — PAiR residents can learn about local gardening and herb-foraging traditions, appreciate the biological diversity of the region and nurture a plant of their own in the common greenhouse.
The garden embodies the fluidity of nature and also its endurance, changing with every season, while bringing together species that Pāvilosta inhabitants have been cultivating for generations.
West of the garden lies Ernests Šneiders Square — a spacious park facing the residency that will soon become home to a number of outdoor sculptures and installations commissioned by PAiR in partnership with Pāvilosta municipality.
A small port first recorded in the Middle Ages, Pāvilosta acquired its current name and experienced rapid development towards the end of the 19th century, serving as a stone shipping port during the construction of the nearby Karosta naval base.
Having survived world wars and occupations in the 20th century, today Pāvilosta is known as a haven of historical wooden architecture on the Kurzeme coast, a sailing and surfing paradise, and, recently, as a remarkable arts destination.
Pleasantly far from significant flows of tourists, Pāvilosta has in recent years become a magnet for cultural and business elites seeking peace and quiet away from the busy capital.
The mingling of long-term and recently arrived residents creates a mutually beneficial atmosphere of cultural exchange, whereby traditional practices that are part of local identity find their way into contemporary lifestyles and vice versa.
PAiR seeks to foster this process by engaging people in a free-spirited give-and-take, in which everyone has something to learn and something to teach.
“Grey dunes, huddled pine trees, rumbling wind, a cosy room. PAiR gave me the perfect opportunity to escape my everyday concerns and start a new art project. I relished the perfect balance between creative work on my own and cordial conversations with the residency team.”
– Anna Salmane
At PAiR, even the most convinced city-dweller will feel at one with nature in its diverse manifestations. The sublime panorama of the sea, the boundless landscapes of the dunes and the peaceful pine woods create the ideal mood for deep, innovative thinking.
The residents are welcome to use the bicycles provided by PAiR to explore the scenery and historical sights around Pāvilosta – manors, churches, lighthouses, cemeteries, sacrificial stones and more.
The surroundings offer rich opportunities for foraging, especially during summer and autumn, when the woods and dunes outside Pāvilosta are full of wild berries, mushrooms, and healing herbs used by the local community.
Away from the usual distractions which make concentration a challenge, the nature at Pāvilosta enables that significant something – so difficult to grasp in the grind of the daily routine – to be clearly seen and expressed.