Purkutalo taught holistic project management

There are around 3 300 visual artists working in Finland, many of whom learned their craft in Kankaanpää. Being an artist is much more than making art. In the Degree Programme in Fine Arts, you study a lot in different projects. One project that was successfully realized in Kankaanpää last year was called Purkutalo 2022 (free translation: A building due for demolition).

Ika Närh vaaleanpunaisen seinän edessä.

Ika Närhi’s mural painting process.

Senior Lecturer Tomi Kuusimäki recalls that it all started with urban observation cooperation. It was part of the TUKEE2 project, which wanted to make young people’s voices heard as part of a culture of working together.

The city of Kankaanpää offered a deserted detached house from the 1960s as a setting for art. The cooperation with the city has been going smoothly for decades anyway.

– For us, the city is an extended learning environment, Kuusimäki sums up.

– The focus of Fine Arts education is on combining projects and learning. We support holistic learning.

Anna Kallio, a fine arts student, was chosen as the coordinator of the Purkutalo 2022 project. In the end, there were more than thirty artists.

The house was full of visitors. In addition to occasional visitors, there were various groups of children, pupils and students from different schools, a group of people with intellectual disabilities and a group of mental health and substance abuse rehabilitees. Some of them took part in the art activities.

– The project created a warm feeling precisely thanks to the various different parties involved, says Kallio.

Praising feedback from exhibition visitors

A Friend, Muraali
Ika Närhi’s finished mural (click to zoom).

Purkutalo also received two summer artists, fine arts students Ika Närhi and Kalle Pienmäki. They acted as exhibition guides, made artworks and guided visitors to art.

– I was often in the yard making sculptures myself, a bit like a mascot, Pienmäki laughs.

The process taught the summer artists, among other things, to tolerate incompleteness.

– I did two big murals there. It gave me an experience of what it’s like when people see a work in progress all the time. It was sometimes difficult to keep my head together, Närhi recalls.

Was it sad that in the end the house was actually demolished? Summer artists say they were oriented towards demolition from day one.

– I heard from more than one visitor that the house can’t be demolished because there is so much fine art here, says Pienmäki.

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