In spring 2019, the City of Helsinki appointed an independent committee to prepare a vision for arts and culture up to 2030 for the city.The committee submitted its proposal for the vision to the City of Helsinki on Tuesday 18 August 2020. The committee’s strong message is that in order to facilitate good life in a changing world for its residents, Helsinki should bring arts and culture to the centre of developing the city.
The environmental crisis, demographic changes and technology are already challenging the mindsets and practices people are accustomed to. In the future, the significance of these global challenges will only increase, as will the significance of how we are able to solve these problems. The vision encourages to utilise arts and culture to give necessary tools for facing the unexpected and solving problems. Art helps Helsinki know itself, imagine alternative worlds and build paths to the future.
The committee’s vision was built on three themes:
Art helps Helsinki face and change the future. Art increases understanding, promotes critical and constructive dialogue and promotes a sustainable world. Helsinki’s duty is to cherish art as a platform and facilitator.
Arts and culture are key forces in the development of Helsinki. The skills of artists are used by the whole City across sectors. Arts and culture are utilised to strengthen overall well-being. The art field increases co-operation in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, in Finland and internationally. Art makes Helsinki creative.
The lives of everyone in Helsinki are part of a common spirit of Helsinki. The people of Helsinki create the city’s culture, and the residents’ diversifying cultures make the city flourish. All people of Helsinki have a connection to art throughout their lives.
In the vision, the aforementioned themes are turned into concrete measure proposals, of which there are almost 30. Many of the proposed measures cut across all three themes and invite different operators to resolve matters together.
The committee behind the vision for arts and culture submitted the vision to Mayor Jan Vapaavuori and Deputy Mayor of the Culture and Leisure Division Nasima Razmyar at an event that was broadcast live on Helsinki Channel.
“The vision for arts and culture urges Helsinki to look at arts and culture more comprehensively, in-depth and strategically as part of the City’s operations – not just where art and culture are already being created. Arts and culture play a key role in building the city’s vitality and competitiveness, but it is even more important to identify the sectors’ impact on the residents’ well-being and establishing a sense of community. The city cannot achieve this alone. I am hoping for active and extensive discussion regarding how the vision should be deployed and how it can promote co-operation among all of the City’s operators,” says Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.
“The vision challenges us to examine and redefine the City’s role in relation to the field of arts and culture, and in relation to a changing Helsinki and its residents’ idea of a good life. Every resident of Helsinki should have an opportunity to find their own cultural home to help them put down roots and feel at home in Helsinki,” comments Deputy Mayor Nasima Razmyar.
The committee was chaired by the General Manager of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra Aleksi Malmberg. The other members of the committee are General Director Gita Kadambi (Finnish National Opera and Ballet), CEO Eeka Mäkynen (Finnish Metal Events Oy), Professor Elina Knihtilä (Theatre Academy), Planner-Teacher Emmi Komlosi (Helsinki Finnish Adult Education Centre), CEO Sara Norberg (Cinematic), Emeritus Director Leif Jakobsson (Svenska Kulturfonden), Choreographer and Artistic Director Sonya Lindfors (UrbanApa), Artist and Doctor of Fine Arts Teemu Mäki (Chair of The Artists' Association of Finland), Senior Specialist Veli-Markus Tapio (Finnish Cultural Foundation) and Planning Officer Ulla Laurio (City of Helsinki, Culture and Leisure Division, committee secretary). The committee had extensive discussions with experts, arts and culture professionals and residents of Helsinki as part of their work.
“Our committee was working on the vision before the coronavirus outbreak, but the core message of the work has only become stronger since. We are facing major challenges, and the future is unknown. It is now time to look at the bigger picture and how all of the city’s sectors and residents can help one another. Arts and culture bring people together and open new perspectives. Helsinki needs creators of arts and culture, and vice versa,” emphasises Chair of the Arts and Culture Vision Committee Aleksi Malmberg.
Arts and culture in Helsinki in 2030
The committee’s vision for the city and its residents in March 2020
Download the online version here