Arts organizations hope global collaboration will give voice to the North through art
May 28, 2015
Northern Art Network convenes in Alaska to discuss future partnerships, projects
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Representatives from museums, universities and art spaces throughout Scandinavia, Canada and Alaska met at the Anchorage Museum last week, gathering to experience Alaska’s culture, climate and people and discuss future collaborations as part of the Northern Art Network (NAN).
The Northern Art Network, comprised of museums and cultural institutions throughout the Circumpolar North, formalized itself at a meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, last spring. The group convened around the idea of bringing together Northern museums and cultural institutions to exchange ideas, share resources, and expose each other to regional artists whose works explore northern ideas and themes.
“Northern Art Network was formed in response to recognition that many Northern museums and art spaces are exploring similar questions and goals, particularly around empowering the voices of Northerners,” says Julie Decker, director and CEO of the Anchorage Museum, one of the group’s co-founding organizations. “We share histories, cultures and ambitions with our Northern neighbors and the network provides a platform for discussions and contemporary ways to share and collaborate to benefit a wider community.”
Participants at the May 2015 meeting in Anchorage included representatives from the Anchorage Museum, Northern Norway Art Museum, Rovaniemi Art Museum, University of Lapland and the Yukon Arts Centre. The group visited museums and cultural institutions around Anchorage, explored the natural landscape surrounding the city, and heard presentations from Alaska artists whose work is inspired by life in the North and imbued with a sense of place and identity.
The meeting culminated with discussion focused on ideas for future collaboration, including sharing access to each other’s collections, providing artists with residency opportunities, creating internship programs working jointly on capacity building, advocating for the role of the arts in giving voice to the North and organizing around the Polar Lab program in 2016 and 2017.
“Incorporating a circumpolar perspective into our work gives us a new and important place from which to integrate in our understanding of global as well as local issues,” says Bodil Kjelstrup, vice director of the Northern Norway Art Museum.
Future NAN meetings are slated for spring 2016 in either Iceland or Russia, and winter 2017 in Tromsø, Norway.
Northern Art Network members include: Anchorage Museum (Alaska), Archangelsk Art Museum (Russia), The Art Museum of Northern Norway, Culture House, Lulea (Sweden), Havremagasinet (Sweden), Kiruna Art Museum (Sweden), Murmansk Art Museum (Russia), Oulu Art Museum (Finland), RiddiDuottarMuseat/The Sámi Museum (Norway), Rovaniemi Art Museum/Korundi House of Culture (Finland), Sami Center for Contemporary Art (Norway), University of Lapland Museum (Finland), and Yukon Arts Centre (Canada).
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and one of the top 10 most visited attractions in the state. The museum’s mission is to connect people, expand perspectives and encourage global dialogue about the North and its distinct environment. Learn more at anchoragemuseum.org.