KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre operates in a school built in 1892 and a studio building constructed in 2006. The new building houses the spacious studios and other facilities of the studio artists, the office of the Art Centre, and a small exhibition space.
The old school building offers living and working space for the international artists-in-residence, and in addition, there is office space and a versatile classroom.
The establishment KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre was set in motion when the old Kauppila elementary school burned in 2004. In addition to everything else, the fire destroyed Sanna Koivisto’s studio, which was located in the building, and many of her works. The sculptor Antti Ylönen and the textile artist Helena Kaikkonen came to help clear the debris after the fire. The three artists sat down to think about the future of KulttuuriKauppila and their long-term dream resurfaced – to have a new studio building and to have an artists’ residence in the old school building.
Significant funding for the building of the new studio, the repairing of the old school building, and the establishment of the international artist residency was received from the provincial government, the TE Office, the Council of Oulu Region, and the Ii Municipality. The work was carried out in three separate projects: the first project built a new main building, the second renovated the old school, and the third initiated the activities of KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre in 2006.
The Executive Directors of the Art Centre include Jari Rinne (2006), Leena Vuotovesi (2007-2015 deputized by Mari Maunu 2012-2013 and Senni Kela 2014-2015) and Merja Briñón 2016-2019. Between May-December 2019 Inka Hyvönen was temporarily in charge of the operations. Jetta Huttunen started as the new Executive Manager of the Art Centre in 2020.