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25.07.2020

Kunsthalle Helsinki

The Helsinki Art Hall is an exhibition building built in 1928 in Tölö, Helsinki, on Nervanderinkatu behind the Parliament building. The Helsinki Art Hall hosts 5-7 exhibitions a year; the programme focuses on contemporary art, but the exhibition programme also includes design and architecture. The Art Hall does not collect its own collection. There are also events and a multi-artistic programme in the Art Hall.

The Helsinki Artistic Hall was created because of the need to have new space for changing exhibitions. The building was designed by architects Jarl Eklund and Hilling Ekelund by invitation to the 1927 competition and was opened on 3 March 1928. The building was supported by the corporate world of the time and its patrons such as Gosta Serlahius, Amos Anderson and Salomo Vuorio. Bertel Hinze was the first director of the art hall until 1968. He was followed by Seppo Niinivaara (1968-1994), Timo Valiacca (1994-2001), Maya Tanninen-Mattila (2001-2006), Maya Koskinen (2006-2013) and Jan Ferster (2013-). Throughout its history, the Art Hall has hosted exhibitions of numerous famous Finnish and foreign artists.

The Art Hall is one of the main buildings of the classic period of the 1920s in Finland. Over time, the building is usually asymmetrical and two rectangular parts can be distinguished from it. In the upper part, on the side of Aurorankatu, there is a Sculpture Hall, in the lower part, on the side of Nervanderinkatu, there are halls of painting. Between them is the main staircase, the roof of which is decorated with blue cassette cameras with gold star patterns. The finish of the building has been reduced and the facade has been plastered in pink. Originally the interiors were darker, but since then they have been lighter as ideals have changed. The art hall was renovated in 2008-2009. During the renovation, two underground floors were added under the building.

The Arts Hall is supported by the Helsinki Arts Hall Foundation, whose board includes artists' organizations, including the Safa Association of Architects, the Ornamo Industrial Art Association and the City of Helsinki. The City of Helsinki and the Helsinki Ministry of Education support the activities of the Arts Hall. Around 25 per cent of the annual budget is covered by state grants, while the remainder comes from the Arts Hall's own revenue.

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