For the sensitive and the brave

Art changes people and the world around them. At the Oulu Art Museum you can find transformative experiences and gain new perspectives through art. We believe sensitivity is courage – and we want to give room to it.

We support a multi-voiced society and encourage everyone to take a closer look at what is visible and what remains unseen. We work in interaction with our different audiences and we are open to debate. We work in close collaboration with artists, art organisations and art researchers.

Oulu Art Museum’s work incorporates perspectives from both the past and the future. We want to make it known that art belongs to all of us. The collections of the art museum are shared by the community and belong to everyone in our city. In addition to exhibitions, artworks from our collections are displayed in public spaces. You can find artworks from our collections in schools and parks, for example.

In the art and museum world, Oulu Art Museum is known as a responsible and active partner. We develop our activities boldly and make the role of art in the community and the society stronger through our work. Key considerations in our work are openness, collaboration and dialogue.

Art comes from here

The Oulu Art Museum’s exhibition programme focuses on regional and contemporary art – but never forgetting collection exhibitions, special themes and international artists. The museum hosts four to eight exhibitions per year. The exhibitions are accompanied by a rich and varied programme of events for all ages.

The collections of Oulu Art Museum emphasise contemporary art. Thematic wholes include different phenomena in visual art, artist self-portraits, naïvist art and the Northern dimension in art. In addition, Oulu Art Museum maintains the art collection of the City of Oulu and manages several smaller donated collections.

As the regional art museum, Oulu Art Museum provides services and assistance to cities, municipalities, local museums, communities and private citizens in the Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu area in questions related to visual art and visual cultural heritage. The aim of our regional art museum work is to increase the visibility and accessibility of visual art within the region.

Oulu Art Museum is part of Oulu Museum and Science Centre and belongs to the public cultural institutions of the city. The director of the Oulu Museum and Science Centre is Pekka Olsbo.

Art in an industrial setting

Oulu Art Museum is located in the Myllytulli area in Åström factory building #22, completed in 1922, near the green Ainola park area. The museum has been located here since May 1990.

The industrial building, part of an extensive Åström Brothers Oy leather factory complex, was originally designed by architect Birger Federley. On the street level of the building was a glue production unit, warehouses and a metal workshop. On the second floor there were drying rooms, a staff canteen, kitchen and a meeting room. In 1944, the company’s office moved to the third floor of the building when the former headquarters on nearby Dammisaari island were converted into a residential building. The leather industry operations of Åström Brothers Oy in Myllytulli ended in 1960, and some of the industrial buildings, including the current building of the art museum, were transferred to the real estate company En-Ko Oy. In 1959, part of the building was leased to the departments of botany and zoology of the University of Oulu, which had been founded a year before. From 1964 to 1987 the building housed the main library of the university.

Founded in 1963, the Oulu Art Museum was initially located in the so-called Kolmiotalo (“Triangle House”) on Kajaaninkatu in downtown Oulu. Before moving to Myllytulli, the art museum operated in commercial premises on Asemakatu. Opened in 1990, the current museum building in Myllytulli combines 1920s red brick industrial building with post-modern architecture. The renovation project and the new part of the building were completed under architects Jorma Teppo and Henry Metsi, while interior design was headed by interior architect Vesa Ervasti. In 2007 and 2008 the museum was renovated, modernised and extended to its current form.

Oulun taidemuseo kuvattuna Ainolan puiston suunnalta loppukesästä.