The Anchorage Museum is a founding member of the Northern Art Network. The Network, comprised of museums and cultural institutions throughout the Circumpolar North, formalized itself at a meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, in May 2014. The intent is to exchange ideas, resources, artists, artwork, and to hold an annual meeting in the Circumpolar North.
Participants at the May 2015 meeting in Anchorage included representatives from the Anchorage Museum, Northern Norway Art Museum, Rovaniemi Art Museum, University of Lapland and the Yukon Arts Centre. The group visited museums and cultural institutions around Anchorage, explored the natural landscape surrounding the city, and heard presentations from Alaska artists whose work is inspired by life in the North and imbued with a sense of place and identity.
The meeting culminated with discussion focused on ideas for future collaboration, including sharing access to each other’s collections, providing artists with residency opportunities, creating internship programs working jointly on capacity building, advocating for the role of the arts in giving voice to the North and organizing around the Polar Lab program in 2016 and 2017.
“Incorporating a circumpolar perspective into our work gives us a new and important place from which to integrate in our understanding of global as well as local issues,” says Bodil Kjelstrup, vice director of the Northern Norway Art Museum.
Future Northern Art Network meetings are slated for spring 2016 in either Iceland or Russia, and winter 2017 in Tromsø, Norway.