SPILVE OPENS UP ITS DOORS TO THE FUTURE
On March 24, Spilve opened up its doors to receive guests. Despite the chilly weather, a celebration was held to open up the new season. The official reason for the event was to make note of the inclusion of the historical building of the Spilve Airport on the list of nationally protected cultural monuments, as well as to send a message about future hopes.
Guests experienced several surprises. The building was gussied up for the springtime, and there was evidence of its former brilliance and about present-day nostalgia. Several rooms were opened up, including the former restaurant which is now appropriate as an exhibition hall. Art scientist Jānis Borgs, who is one of the most passionate fans of the restoration of Spilve, conducted tours through the formerly magnificent terminal building.
Participants in the news conference demonstrated a fine sense of humour and were happy to talk about an authentic Soviet-era item – the podium of Comrade Augusts Voss. The head of the State Cultural Monuments Protection Inspectorate, Juris Dambis, said that recent cultural heritage is under the greatest threat, which means that it must be defended and protected. The director of the Latvian National Museum of Art, Māra Lāce, was on hand to congratulate everyone on the creation of the new museum. The executive director of the Riga City Council, Juris Radzevičs, confirmed that Riga needs Spilve as an airport for small planes and as a tourism object. LLC “Rigas Nami” board chairman Kārlis Kavacs, in turn, spoke about future hopes, exciting the audience with his enthusiasm. “Let’s not talk too much, let’s just pick up a rag and start to wash the building from one end,” said Kavacis, thus demonstrating his ability to work hard in turning Spilve into an active community centre with the functions of a museum, an educational institution, an artistic entity and an entertainment facility under one roof. The executive director of the airport, Jānis Maslovskis, talked about aviation opportunities, confirming that the airport is certified and appropriate for flights. Spilve will be open to the public, only on the weekend at first, but six days a week (except for Monday) beginning in June.
More surprises were forthcoming. Edmunds Lācis staged an artistic action, “The First Ones,” which was dedicated to the world’s first female pilots. The audience viewed a documentary by Aija Bley, “The Guard, Stalin and Airplanes.” The greatest delight among the audience, however, related to the positive atmosphere and the grandiose object that is being protected against destruction.
People from various generations met at the event, and each had a story about his or her friendship with Spilve. Edvīns Brūvelis learned to fly here during the first period of independence. Jānis Zvingulis has never worked for any other entity since the mid-1960s. There were those who helped to build the airport, those who departed from the airport as passengers, as well as those who enjoyed the airport’s famous restaurant. There are also those who learned to fly at Spilve more recently, when the terminal building itself was closed. Others have taken part in alternative artistic events. The greatest delight and sense of surprise, however, was among those who were entering the building for the first time. One of them was a young aviator, who said that “we will certainly return here to fly and just to relax. Spilve has preserved its historical aura, and that is of essential importance. The atmosphere here cannot be compared to anything else, and it has nothing to do with politics. The only thing that I want to do here is fly!”