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Highlights of the Association

The Artists ́ Association of Lapland was founded in 1990. That year art in Lapland was on the rise: the Faculty of art and Design at the University of Lapland and the Art School for Children and Young People in Rovaniemi were founded. The Rovaniemi Art Museum and the Aine Art Museum in Tornio were opened in 1986.

Artists Kari Tuisku, Eero Kumpula and Seppo Öfverström signed a contract in the inaugural meeting. Tuisku was elected to be the first chairman. International collaborations and an effort to support young artists were some of the most important aims of the Association. Membership Terms were kept relatively tight in order to maintain a professional profile.

A year after its foundation a new gallery was opened in collaboration with Cultural Services in the city of Rovaniemi. The gallery was located in the same building as the bus station. It moved to Aallokatu in 1995 but unfortunately closed two years later due to high costs and low visitor numbers.
The Association started an Art Lending Service in the Rovaniemi City Library in 1998. Since that the Association has been running the Service in several locations including the side of the gallery and shopping centres. 

The Gallery Napa was opened in March 2003 in Valtakatu. In 2006 the gallery was moved to a bigger space in Lapinkävijäntie, and in 2008 to the Rovaniemi City Library. This was a great location which contributed to increased visitor numbers, not least because of its setting in the majestic library building designed by the famous architect, Alvar Aalto. 

In 2008, the Art Council of Lapland and the Artists ́ Association of Lapland opened a second gallery in Ylläs, at the Visitors Centre of Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. The first exhibition “After Ski Napa” was curated by Anu Riestola and Esa Meltaus. It is now run solely by the Artists ́ Association of Lapland. 

Members of the Artists ́ Association of Lapland have had many group exhibitions. In 1990 a number of members exhibited in Germany as a group called “Ursus Major”. Ten years later in 2010, an exhibition titled "Arctic Heat" was taken to Berlin in collaboration with the Artists' Association of Oulu. In 2005 the Association had an exhibition at Luleå Art Hall in Luleå, Sweden.

In Finland, the Artists ́ Association of Lapland has been a pioneer in the field of art management and instrumental in finding new ways for artists to earn an income. Manager Merja Briñón began her work at the Assocation in 2010 with the support of the Regional Council of Lapland, The Art Council of Lapland and the City of Rovaniemi. In 2011 the Association started an EU-funded project called "Magenta" with the aim of developing artist working conditions and promoting work opportunities for artists in Lapland. It also aimed for their continued education and service design in art.

In recent years the association has seen increased international collaborations, in particular with Estonia and Latvia. 

Colllaborations with other fields of art and society have become increasingly important to the Association. Since spring 2011, get-togethers, recreational activities, projects and services have been arranged in collaboration with The Performing Arts Centre Lapland (LETKE) and coordinated by Ilona Sares. Meetings have resulted joint project such as TICK - a performance by Marjo Ylikorva and Tatu Kantomaa, stage designed by Maria Huhmarniemi (photo: Tatu Kantomaa).