Cultural Partnerships

Are you interested in the premises the City of Helsinki provides for cultural operators, or in cooperating with cultural centres? Do you want more information on the prizes Helsinki awards for artists? On these pages, you will find information on the various ways the City of Helsinki acts as a partner to cultural operators and networks.

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Cultural activities for residents   

The City of Helsinki promotes the operating conditions of cultural operators, the diverse offering of arts and culture, as well as urban arts and cultural activities. In addition to this support, we cooperate with various cultural operators in many different ways. 

The City of Helsinki provides its residents with cultural events, performances, exhibitions, courses and art education. Each year, we organise approximately 1,500 performances, 1,300 courses and 120 exhibitions with our partners.

To artists, we offer well-equipped premises and a professional operating environment. Our cultural offerings are carried out in close cooperation with the Helsinki arts scene.

The aim is to strengthen the operating conditions of professional arts in Helsinki, increase resident participation in arts and culture, and promote the realisation of cultural rights. Work for the vision for arts and culture aims to reinforce the position of Helsinki as a distinctive and internationally interesting cultural capital city. 

Partnership unit and grants 

The Unit of Partnerships, Grants and Projects is a part of Cultural Services and Support. This unit takes care of the culture and art education services supplementing the City's cultural offerings. It prepares the arts and culture grants and the permits related to basic art education. The unit does its part in preparing and implementing the decisions made by the Culture and Leisure Divisional Committee and the Culture and Library Sub-committee.

The units of Cultural Services and Support are The Unit of Partnerships, Grants and Projects, the Annantalo (Link leads to external service)Arts Centre for children and young people and the Cultural Centre Caisa(Link leads to external service).  

Art and Culture Awards

All art and culture awards are granted without application.

The City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Committee annually grants a culture award to an accomplished artist as recognition of significant artistic achievements and/or important work that promotes culture in Helsinki. The award amount is 15,000 euros.

Helsinki Culture Award Winners:

2023 Maija Vilkkumaa, muusikko
2022 Timo Ruuskanen and Tuukka Vasama, the Red Nose Company
2021 Sanni Seppo, freelance photojournalist and photographic artist
2020 J. Karjalainen, musician and songwriter

2019 Meeri Koutaniemi, photographic artist, photojournalist and human rights activist
2018 Leea Kleemola, actress
2017 Esko Salminen, actor
2016 Viva Granlund, visual artist
2015 Kati Outinen, actress
2014 Pelle Miljoona, musician and writer
2013 Kjell Westö, writer
2012 Susanna Leinonen, dance artist and choreographer
2012 Erik Bruun (Design Award), graphic designer
2011 Stefan Bremer, photographer
2010 Arto Halonen, film director


2009 Helena Hietanen, visual artist; Jaakko Niemelä, visual artist
2008 Eero Raittinen, musician; Jussi Raittinen musician
2007 Ritva Valkama, actress
2006 Tove Idström, scriptwriter
2005 Seppo Vesterinen, producer/manager
2004 Pekka Milonoff, theatre manager
2003 Hannu Mäkelä, writer
2002 Tero Saarinen, dance artist
2001 Marjatta Levanto, head curator (children’s art education)
2000 Reko Lundan, theatre director


1999 Eeva Rista, photographer; Simo Rista photographer
1998 Pirjo Bergström, musician
1997 Fujiwo Ishimoto, textile artist
1996 Kaisa Rastimo, film director
1995 Géza Szilvay, principal/music education; Csaba Szilvay, lecturer/music education
1994 Elina Salo, actress
1993 Juhani Pallasmaa, architect
1992 Juha Siltanen, writer
1991 Jorma Uotinen, dance artist
1990 Rafael Wardi, visual artist


1989 Eeva-Kaarina Volanen, actress
1988 Kaija Siren, architect; Heikki Siren, architect
1987 Edvin Laine, film director
1986 Kaj Frank, industrial designer
1985 Aale Tynni, writer
1984 Aulis Sallinen, composer
1983 Kari Suomalainen, cartoonist
1982 Margaretha von Bahr, dance artist
1981 Jussi Jalas, conductor
1980 Tove Jansson, writer


1979 Erik Tawaststjerna, professor (music)
1978 Arvo Turtiainen, writer
1977 Tuulikki Pietilä, graphic artist
1976 Emmi Jurkka, actress
1975 Matti Pitkänen, photographer
1974 Heikki Aaltoila, composer
1973 Eila Pennanen, writer
1972 Dora Jung, textile artist
1971 Erik Lindström, actor
1970 Aimo Tukiainen, sculptor


1969 Simon Parmet, conductor
1968 Joel Rinne, actor
1967 Yrjö Soini, writer
1966 Tauno Hannikainen, conductor
1965 Aimo Kanerva, visual artist
1964 Hagar Olsson, writer
1963 Eino Kalima, theatre director

Every year, three distinguished artists from Helsinki are granted an award for important, topical work they have conducted, based on annually changing focal points pertaining to cultural aspects and the committee strategy.

Helsinki Artists of the Year:

2023

Anna Brotkin, screenwriter
Ima Iduozee, choreographer, director
Sonja Salomäki, artist, textile art

2022

Matti Salo, musician and poet
Katja Lundén, choreographer and dancer
Leena Harjunpää, choreographer and dancer

2021

Rebekka Aili Kuukka (Rebekka Yeboah), musician
Johanna Ilvessalo, visual artist and sculptor
Eero Ojanen, composer and musician

2020

Jaana Taskinen, theater director, audience worker and drama teacher
Jussi Lehtonen, actor, theater director, pedagog and researcher
Kirsi Manninen, costume designer and scenographer

2019

Karri ”Paleface” Miettinen, rap artist, writer, lyricist, radio host and activist
Valtteri Raekallio, dancer and choreographer
Milja Sarkola, playwright, scriptwriter and theater director

2018

Aapo Häkkinen, musician
Saara Turunen, writer
Tuukka Vasama, performance artist

2017

Sade Kamppila, circus artist
Sonya Lindfors, dance artist
Ninni Perko, community artist

The Culture and Library Sub-committee of the City of Helsinki’s Culture and Leisure Committee annually grants an award for a notable cultural act. The award is intended for noteworthy and novel cultural acts or projects, and the activities granted this award must be focused on Helsinki or its residents. The award is 5,000 euros.

Helsinki Cultural Act Award winners

2023 Pienten Helsinki
2022 Refugee Film Festival
2021 Maunula-Seura
2020 Suvilahti TBA
2019 Alakulttuurikeskus Loukko ry
2018 Sanat haltuu project
2017 Mahtava Merihaka
2016 Lapinlahden Lähde Oy and Cooperative Lapinlahden Tilajakamo
2015 Sompasauna
2014 WHS Association for opening Teatteri Union
2013 Kallio kukkii and Kallio kipinöi festivals and Kallio’s walking festival
2012 Night Visions festival
2011 Restaurant Day
2010 We Love Helsinki
2009 The graffiti wall of Suvilahti

Between 2009 and 2016, the winners of the Helsinki Cultural Act Award were selected based on the proposals requested from the city’s residents, and the awards were granted by the City of Helsinki’s Cultural and Library Committee.

Villa Eläintarha

Villa Eläintarha is a wooden building owned by the city, completed in 1898, and located at Helsinki's Tokoinranta.

The City of Helsinki is now seeking a service provider for the artist residence activities at Villa Eläintarha. A service provider is sought for a three-year period 2024–27 with an option for an additional two years.

To familiarize yourself with the invitation to tender, visit the tarjouspalvelu.fi portal (viewing the full content of the proposal requires logging into the service). The invitation to tender is valid until 15.2.24 at 12 pm. Move on to the portal.(Link leads to external service)