Rucka Artist Residency – a space created by artists for artists – is a part of Rucka Art Foundation (previously – foundation Elm Media), which was established in 2007 with the aim of drawing society’s attention to environmental and social issues through documentaries and documentary photography projects. In 2012, our team decided to move out of Riga, the capital of Latvia, to Cēsis, a small town an hour’s drive from Riga, aspiring to become a cultural capital of Latvia. While looking for a space for our film studio we came across Rucka manor, municipality owned building, which has been standing empty for almost 10 years. We first visited Rucka on a beautiful autumn afternoon and we were fascinated by the place but it was way too big for the studio’s needs. Yet it crossed our minds that the building could be turned into a great artist space.
One thing led to another and six months later we presented the idea of developing Rucka Artist Residency to a local council. In June 2014 the first event – the summer school of Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art took place at Rucka. Since then Rucka has hosted students of visual communication, young architects, film directors and cinematographers, photographers and anthropologists. In 2016 we announced the first open call for residencies, which attracted over 250 applications from all over the world. The same year the US based Format Magazine named Rucka Artist Residency among Top 10 residencies for photographers.
After 3 successful years of operation, one night in November 2016, a fire set by arson broke up at Rucka. The fire damaged roof constructions and all the second floor rooms on one side of the building while the first floor was flooded during the rescue works. The building was seriously damaged and design and restoration works continued for over a year.
In spring 2018 that the building was fully functional again and we could again host residents and events and use the space for our creative projects.