Case Study

“Gate” Art-space

Creative space built from participation and revitalization.

What happened?

Art space and urban cultural center was created. It combines the functionality of a gallery space, a conference hall, a concert venue, a coffee shop, and a meeting place. The art space unites individuals and urban communities onin a platform of creativity, active citizenship and love for the city, its history and values. The project is an example of the revitalization of a place with cultural heritage that used to be closed and unsuitable for public use object of cultural heritage. It was conducted by activists and with the participation of a wide range of citizens. It was restarted twice by different teams.

  • Who can help?
  • Cultural and non-profit institutions.
  • Agencies for property.
  • Administrative units such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
  • Regional government.
  • Local culture institutions.
“Gate” Art-space


The project took place in a sleeping area with a minimum of services, surrounded by storage areas from the river side, boathouses, parking, and other objects that gave the territory the character of uninhabited. Formally these are the borders of the historical city.

During the first launch the goal was to create an art space and a creative open space for everyone. There was also a need to develop an art community, community collaboration in the context of current, contemporary art along with conditions for creative expression, communication and subcultural circles. At the same time the project was aiming to revitalize the building itself and the territory nearby.

In the second launch it was important to preserve a unique, accessible platform for creative people (exhibitions, concerts, etc. activities) and local communities. Organizers wanted to preserve social value of the space as an open area (everyone can try to apply, a team of the site has some basic requirements and rules).

How? (tools & methods)

  • The project was strongly connected with participation activities such as crowdfunding and fundraising, volunteer work and communication with residents. The design phase and organization of the events were also engaging local communities. In addition „Gate” gave students the possibility to practise. As the most important participation tools organizers pointed to volunteering and crowdfunding. Subsequently, in a conflict situation, the experience of the participation of a large number of citizens and communities in the revitalization of the Gate played an important role in their return to the city. At the same time, events attracted different communities and promoted integration.
  • The first launch of the project included renovation, development of the facility's infrastructure (heating, toilets etc.) and purchasing equipment such as projectors and furniture.
  • Second launch started with negotiations and public campaign: „special operations”. A year later organizers restorated the facility (equipment, event planning). Since then active work and search for grants and partners have begun.

For whom?

  • In the first launch the project was dedicated to people connected to art and culture. It was organized for creative people, hipsters and well-educated grown-up cultural audiences.
  • The second launch was directed to local communities and their leader along with a wide range of citizens and tourists.
  • What worked out?
  • Organizers succeeded in literal revitalization (filled with social and cultural life) of an abandoned historical and cultural object with the help of activists and a wide range of citizens. It referred to internal reconstruction and preparing the space for events (toilets, heating, lighst etc.).
  • The equipped space was opened for creative actors and local communities at no cost along with free access to a cultural institution with a variety of informative and eventful content.
  • The space was created for events of various formats, themes, social and cultural effects: exhibitions, concerts, poetry, film screenings, lectures and other educational events, book and project presentations, workshops, open discussions, conferences, parties.

What should you be aware of?

In such abandoned spaces lack of money is a frequent problem. Often those are areas of internal conflicts of interest and uneasy relations with the property owner.

How much time is needed?

First launch: 4 years and 5 months - from August 2013 to early January 2017. Second launch: 2 years and 4 months (negotiation process from June 5, 2017, launch from December 10, 2017, activities from February 10, 2018 to present). No final event. Many events (at the first stage - 300 events, at the 2nd - more than 400 events and ongoing).

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