Thoughts from OAF festival organizers

OAF communications assistant Mika Leminen interviewed the festival’s organizers about the new Outsider Art Festival. OAF is organized by the Outsider Art Finland network partners, Pertti’s Choice, Autism Foundation Finland, Lyhty, Kukunori, Taike and Donkey Hotel.

Festival organisers celebrate the first edition of OAF, a vibrant collection of artists and art forms and wish to see new audiences connecting outsider arts in the future. The organizing members have established Outsider Art Finland -network that aims at promoting accessibility and internationalisation of outsider arts in Finland. Artists from Autism Foundation, Kukunori and Lyhty associations have curated the festival program in collaboration with artist mentors from different art disciplines.

Arts promotion centre (Taike) is a national funding, expert and service agency for promoting arts nationally and internationally. Manager of outsider arts, Esa Vienamo is proud of the new innovative festival and waits for new openings, memorable art experiences and fun times together. He also emphasizes the festival’s visibility and role as part of Helsinki Festival. 

Synnöve Lindberg from Autism Foundation highlights the way that the festival is organized. At Outsider Art Festival people with special needs get to try out different work tasks relating to event production and are participating in the festival organization from start to finish. According to Lindberg it is also very notable that diverse people have curated the festival program. 

Kukunori fights for equal and socially responsible well-being and develops new thoughts and actions to oppose challenges related to them. Henrik Linnavirta from Kukunori’s Huudikoutsit says: “It is important in many ways to showcase marginalized artists. OAF festival surely has a good effect on the city culture and helps people to understand each other. These things are important for us.” Miika Turunen from Lyhty KiviMedia has been part of the OAF curating team. Miika is happy for being part of a great group of artists, but also for the possibility to be employed and host a brand new radio show in Radio Helsinki.