Elise Pedersen, former head of the Tampere Cultural Office, 2022
When I came to the Eurocities Cultural Forum in Düsseldorf for the first time in 2004, I had no idea that this would be the beginning of an 18-year, very successful collaboration in an artist-in-residence exchange.
When I came to the Eurocities Cultural Forum in Düsseldorf for the first time in 2004, I had no idea that this would be the beginning of an 18-year, very successful collaboration through an artist-in-residence exchange.
The initiative came from Ms. Karin Rauers, then head of the Visual Arts Team at the Düsseldorf Cultural Office. Many thanks again to her for her commitment!
During the visit, I got to know the various artist residences in the city and the gallery where most of the exhibitions of the Finnish artists take place. I also learned about the activities of the local artists‘ associations, offspaces, institutes and museums. I was also impressed by the art education at the traditional academy and the wide range of contemporary art on offer.
The agreement was signed by the city of Tampere in Düsseldorf in December 2005, and then the exchange of scholarship holders could officially begin. The first artist from Tampere was Marra Lampi, and on 10 May 2006 an exhibition of the first guest artist, photographer Ralf Brueck, was opened in Tampere at the Vooninkl Gallery in Finlayson. In 2006 it was the painter Gesine Kikol who came to Tampere. This was the starting point for a long, and in many ways, rewarding collaboration.
For me, the annual application process was always something I looked forward to. It was great to go through the applications of talented artists together with my colleague, the visual artist, Jarno Vesala. Often the decision was difficult. We would have liked to accept more guests. I remember that every time a scholarship holder came, I immediately had the feeling that it was the right decision. We had the great pleasure of meeting talented, lovely and interesting people and their work. Finnish artists have also experienced the warm welcome and inspiring atmosphere in Düsseldorf. Contact with the artists has been maintained throughout the 18 years and has led to numerous further collaborations between the scholarship holders and their families. This is demonstrated by the first joint exhibition of German and Finnish art in Tampere in 2019 and now this exhibition, which will open in Düsseldorf on 1 May, 2022.
I would like to thank all of our partners: the city of Düsseldorf, Ms. Karen Rauers and the many artists. I also wish the exhibition every success.