Photo: Eeva Mäkinen

The international innovation network of residencies for Northern Ostrobothnia, or the KRIPA project (2020-2023), consists of actors from three municipalities, Ii, Raahe and Kuusamo. The project is financed by ELY Centre / Rural Development Fund.

Kuusamo, a city of 15,000 inhabitants, is located on the border of Europe and Siberia and is one of the most important tourist destinations in Finland.

Tourists, artists and researchers have been attracted to the area by the diverse nature and wilderness since the end of the 19th century. Every year numerous nature photographers walk in the footsteps of Artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela and photographer I.K. Inha. Kuusamo has become one of the most popular tourist areas in Finland, where inspiration and the peace of the wilderness are sought. This story will be continued by the Kuusamo Arctic Residence Center, Kuusamo ARK, established in 2021.

The Arctic Residence Center works closely with tourism operators in the region. The purpose of the cooperation is to bring more public art to the area and employ creative industry operators to create a new kind of business and cooperation in the field of art and culture.
Kuusamo’s Arctic Residence Center is piloted by Jonna Kalliomäki, who is one of the implementers of the KRIPA project. Kalliomäki is a visual artist by training (college) and has a master’s degree in nature photography and applied art (TaM). That unique master’s education brought him to Kuusamo five years ago. The University of Lapland’s master’s studies in applied art and nature photography were organized in 2017-2019 in the premises of Kuusamo University, in the same premises where the headquarters of the Arctic Residency Center is now located and where Kalliomäki works.

Now, during the Kripa project, Kalliomäki applied to the two-year art specialist training in public art organized by the University of the Arts, with the aim of e.g. to deepen knowledge in the field of public art and to perceive entities and partnerships more broadly.

The aim of the specialization training is to train art experts in a wide range of fields for development tasks and projects in public art, construction and urban planning.

The training prepares precisely for the multiprofessional cooperation models and for producing art expert and consulting tasks, which is what Kuusamo ARK specializes in and what kind of art projects it produces for the region.

The training started in 2022 and 24 people working in public art were selected for it. The student body consists of a wide variety of public art actors, including architects, urban planners, art coordinators, museum directors, public art curators, and public art creators.

The training is organized as face-to-face teaching five times a year, and the two-day Face-to-face teaching sessions are held in Helsinki at the University of the Arts, Espoo at Aalto University and the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi.

All participants selected for the training work throughout the training on a public art development project related to their own field and write an article for the University of the Arts publication that will be published in January 2024.

The Kalliomäki’s special education development project is related to the KRIPA project and the operations of Kuusamo ARK. How will the high-quality operation in the area continue after the project and how can the operating models already created be used more widely. The goal is that Kuusamo ARK is not only a residence center but an art expert center that brings high-quality public art projects and new cooperation models to the area.

The development work in education is given expert guidance and is worked on in peer groups and in an open dialogue with other fellow students. The development projects will be presented at the end of the training in December 2023, and the publication will be available electronically in the University of the Arts’ publication archive from the beginning of 2024.

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