Read about artists' experiences at KulttuuriKauppila residency programmes.
Cheryl Fish, USA
Ii is inspiring and peaceful. There is a lot of creative energy and support for the arts in the region, and one should explore the area by bike, bus, foot, etc. I was able to work, do research for future works and get some quiet time for reflection and some social time with artists and interesting people in the community.
Brenda Petays, Canada
KK AiR has a beautiful location, and the community of artists and support staff are helpful and easy to talk to when needing help. I truly loved the location and the river Iijoki is always in my thoughts now.
Sam Irwin, USA
KK AiR was a great experience! The area is beautiful and there is plenty of room for inspiration. Everyone was very friendly and accommodating. The studio and living spaces were amazing – that was a major plus – but the best experience was exploring Finland and the surrounding areas.
Iwona Rozbiewska, Poland
KulttuuriKauppila is located in the small town of Ii, near Oulu in Finland. This place is busy with cultural events, workshops, exhibitions and meetings. Although it is a small town – we could say a village – it is a place with a lot of possibilities for artists, with great nature, landscape and wonderful people. In every case I got support from the organisation´s people. KulttuuriKauppila’s great employees and studio artists helped me to get any other materials that I needed. I always got advice and could realize my project in a very fast and good way.
Iryna Vorona, Ukraine
KulttuuriKauppila is a perfect place to work with ideas, due to its calmness, silence and nature. You will get space for living, working and relaxing, and the studio is full of tools and materials. If you are going to come in Autumn, then you should prepare yourself for amazing changes in nature: colour changes from bright yellow to golden brown, then silent silver, and finally winter with fairytale whiteness. If you’re lucky you will see all these. Every day we woke up to see new changes outdoor, so nature became our co-working partner.
Rafael Agudo, Spain
Let yourself be carried away by the nature that surrounds KK AiR. I have never worked in a place so influenced by its climate. The environment is wonderful. Walking along the river you can reach shops in ten minutes. A little further on, there is the library, where there is good literature also in English and other languages. It was a wonderful experience in a magical environment, together with a very professional and attentive team. They make you feel at home from the first moment.
Yuna Cho, South Korea
If you are looking for a peaceful residency away from your everyday life, then KulttuuriKauppila is the perfect place for you! KulttuuriKauppila was my first-ever residency, and it definitely was one of the best decisions I ever made. The studio space is huge, spacious enough for artists who work with large-scale paintings and sculptures, with large windows that let in great natural light, which is perfect for visual artists! The living space is warm and cosy, and it has a small shelf full of art books to read while lounging on the couch. It was nice having the living space perfectly separated from the studio space, unlike most other residencies, which put the two together in one room. KK proved to be the perfect setting for my residency goals, although I am sure the remote setting and casual atmosphere of the village might not the best fit for everyone. However, if doing research, taking photographs, painting, reading books, and chilling without thinking about work and life in general is what you are looking for, I can’t recommend it enough. 50 days at KK flew by, and I miss it! Thank you so much everyone at KK who were so kind, generous, and welcoming — I had the best time of my life!
William M Boot, Australia
Arriving in Oulu, Northern Finland at the beginning of March, we were met with a white landscape and falling snow. The feeling was at once both chilly bleakness outside and cosy welcome inside the stylish regional airport. The first night we camped at a hotel in the city and were welcomed and picked up by Taija the next day and driven to Ii, about 45 minutes north of Oulu. KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre is located near the river in Ii, a town of about 10,000 people in the region of Ostrobothnia. The centre consists of 2 main buildings that house studios/apartments and working/meeting space. Everything is a nice mix of the traditional and modern and conveniently laid out for any activity or event.
We have seen deep winter merge into spring over the last 3 months and have watched the frozen river break up and the snow melt away. We were also fortunate to witness the Aurora Borealis and an eclipse of the sun while we’ve been here, making our stay even more memorable. As I write this it is late May and as I look out the window, the trees are covered with small green leaves, the wind is blowing, giant cumulus clouds are scudding across the sky and the river is a beautiful silvery green gray. After 3 days of rain everything is coming alive and the neighbour next to the Centre is preparing his garden for summer even though the daytime temperatures are still quite low. From my desk I can see houses across the river and boats on the grass down near the water. I haven’t seen any boats on the river yet because maybe the current is flowing too strongly from the spring melt and rain, flowing down to the ocean from as far away as the Russian border.
It’s been a productive time here and interesting new art has been created. New plans and ideas have taken root and many new experiences had and even though the future is uncertain there seems to be a foreseeable path ahead as we prepare to leave this idyllic locale. It always seems like 3 months is just enough time to get settled and not enough time to really know a place. The people we have met here are warm and helpful and this has made our creative tasks much easier. As we finalize our last commitments before departing for Korea we feel lucky that we had the opportunity to come to this region of the world where it’s daytime all night starting in late spring… strange! We wonder if we’ll ever have the chance to come back one day to this unique place!
A special thank you to everybody for your lovely hospitality and enthusiastic support while we’ve been guests here at KulttuuriKauppila AIR.
Seunghee Park, South Korea
Artist residency for 3 months in KulttuuriKauppila gave me some of the most delightful memories in my life. First of all, I could enjoy the beautiful Finnish nature which surrounded my studio so that I got not only peace but also vivid vigour which gave much inspiration to my art. I made 2 videos related to the forest and river next to my studio as soon as I arrived, and I always walked around the town watching the beautiful trees and flowers when I wanted to take a rest and get refreshed. Furthermore, as an artist from Asia, the Finnish natural environment provided me with very interesting and unique experiences. One of the most interesting things was the sun. Because I stayed at KulttuuriKauppila in summer, the sun almost never set. That does not happen in my country, so it was quite an extraordinary situation for me, and I think that new experiences like that influenced my work directly and indirectly.
Secondly, I met many professional arts people and also art-loving people during the residency at KulttuuriKauppila. They were very kind and open-minded. I had a wonderful time with them not only talking about art but also relaxing with sauna, going swimming, watching the beautiful scenery, going to cottage, rowing a boat and so on. All this was great for me so I was able to charge and expand my artistic thoughts and when I came back to the studio, I could devote myself solely to my work.
I would say it was an almost perfect time for me as an artist and I definitely hope to get another chance to visit Finland and have such an enjoyable time again.
Veronica Slater, Scotland
My four-month residency at KulttuuriKauppila was a fantastic experience and one that will stay with me through my work as well as in memory. It provided a unique opportunity to generate a momentum in ideas and development that continues to unfold long after I have left. This to me is what marks the value of a residency because it is a laboratory of the mind where you have immense space to think and imagine in ways that are extra ordinary.
The generosity of everyone at KulttuuriKauppila contributed to this process and provided a calm and stimulating environment within which to make art. KulttuuriKauppila is well organised, well thought out and offers an extremely comfortable, light, airy apartment with an adjacent well equipped huge studio – what more can you ask for? It’s a great place and I can’t recommend it enough – thank you for the creative milestone that is KulttuuriKauppila.
Ian Marr, Australia
To be at KK for a second visit means stepping into a familiar home, where the practicalities of life are given, understood.
It was possible to immediately reconnect with the earlier projects, to begin the new ones, conceived in the intervening months at home, to revisit the places where I worked in the autumn, & then of course to find them utterly changed by winter. Then the river is a road to everywhere, to new views, to new ways of seeing KK, & Illinsaari, & Ii itself.
And then there are new cultural works: the achievements of the summer Biennale, of the individual KK artists in their own work, stories of their exhibitions at home & abroad, their new plans, grants & achievements.
This visit involved travel too, to a broader sweep of Finland, with KK friends: to Lapland, Luosto, Pyhä, Kemijarvi, to Savo, Kuopio, Juva. Really beautiful places in themselves, they also provide a context to better understand KK & Ii.
The teaching of the youngsters’ classes was a highlight, & they produced some very fine paintings in artist-quality oil paints on Alta stone & Baltic pine boards. It was also very good to be present for the re-opening of the splendid, renovated art museum in Oulu, & see both contemporary works, & important Finnish painters such as Tyko Sallinen.
Thank you, as before, to Leena Vuotovesi for her kindness & constant consideration & professional oversight of the residency.
Milica Milićević + Milan Bosnić, Serbia
Our acceptance into this artist-in-residence program was very significant to us and we were very pleased to spend three months at KulttuuriKauppila. The living conditions and accommodation were beyond what we expected and we can only say that we truly enjoyed our stay since very few residencies can achieve such high standard.
The thing we like the most is the concept of this residence where international guest artists and local Finnish artists work in the same place, meeting each other and cooperating. The cultural exchange gained through these interactions has been most beneficial for us and we believe it is the key point of this residence.
Our main idea for our residency, concerning our artistic work, was to continue our Face to Face project and conduct research into Finnish contemporary landscape. Ii and its surroundings seemed like a great place for the Face to Face project; therefore, after an exciting exploration of Ii’s natural and urban surroundings we managed to depict ourselves and our intimate space against this landscape and collect enough photo material for our project. Besides photography work we were also working on drawings of urban landscapes created with meticulous depiction of New York City buildings. We were very satisfied with the work we produced in this artist-in-residency and especially with the opportunity to exhibit this work at the KulttuuriKauppila exhibition space.
It has been a special experience to be actively involved in the local art scene and we are very proud of our cooperation with Iin Hamina elementary school, sculptor Antti Ylönen as well as Liminka Art School, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Oulu City Art Museum where we held lectures about our work and the contemporary art in our country. In particular it was a pleasure working with local youngsters during our art class and we hope we managed to convey our knowledge and experience.
Alongside the great inspiration we gained from this landscape and people we met, we made important contacts with some media representatives and with Oulu City Museum. As a result of this interaction we can expect an article about our Face to Face project by Mr. Paavo Heinonen in the magazine Kaltio. More importantly, we discussed some possible ways to present Serbian contemporary art in the Oulu Art Museum.
All things considered, we had great time and we made great friends. We enjoyed Finland so much that we’ll be looking for new ways to go back, so someday, maybe we can repeat this wonderful experience.
In conclusion, we thank KulttuuriKauppila for this extraordinary experience and the opportunity to feel like truly great artists.
KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre offers three artist residency programmes. /// Artist-in-Residence (KKAiR) /// Artist-in-Community (KKAiC) /// Artist-in-Environment (KKAiE)
The open call for residency periods in 2023 is closed. Thanks to all the applicants!
Safety precautions 2021
Finland updates the travel and safety guidelines regularly and the situations may change fast. To be able to welcome foreign artists in 2021, KulttuuriKauppila has adapted a set of safety precautions based on the instructions given by Finnish authorities.
KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre is located by the river Ii in an idyllic area rich in culture and tradition. The Centre houses two buildings: the residence built in the 1800s and the atelier built in 2006.
KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre hosts annually 10–20 international artists-in-residence in Ii. Each artist is provided a tailored, personal residency program. Learn about our artists-in-residence!