During the Arctic summer when the Northern Lights have been replaced by the Midnight Sun and the snows by flowering tundra, a cultural event still draws artists and art lovers from all over the world to the remote wilderness. Lapland is during this time far from the winter wonderland that most tourists see, yet its bewitching beauty inspires some of the region’s most amazing artwork.
Arctic Art Week is an event held every year at the Kakslauttanen resort near Ivalo in the wilderness of northern Lapland. The purpose of the event is to bring artists together from different corners of the world to create and exhibit art inspired by Arctic nature. Artists have come from as far away as Mexico and China to present their work.
The major event of the week is the International Sculpture Symposium, now in its 15th year. For this event, competing sculptors are provided with logs and other materials to create a new wooden sculpture during Arctic Art Week to become a permanent part of the Kakslauttanen collection. This year’s theme is the Shaman and the Witch Woman of Lapland, based upon local folklore.
The entire event is held exclusively at the resort, which is located in the wilderness a half-hour drive away from the nearest airport. This allows visitors and artists to combine a cultural event with a holiday in an authentic arctic resort, stay in a real log cabin and partake in other Arctic summer activities such as hiking, gold panning, and whitewater rafting. Kakslauttanen is close to the Urho Kekkonen National Park and some traditional Sami villages, plus the Sami museum in Inari.
The week-long event isn’t the only time that art is exhibited at Kakslauttanen. There are over 120 works of art held in the resort, including sculptors from previous sculpture symposiums. Regular exhibits are held in the resort’s art gallery, which was opened in November 2017. The gallery has free entry and showcases some of the best examples of local Lappish and Finnish artwork.
As the 2018 Arctic Art Week will be held from 2-9 August, there is still time to book tickets and accommodation. Since it is still officially the off-season, the availability of rooms is greater than it would be during winter, but it is still recommended to book as early as you can, especially for the luxury rooms. There are many accommodation options at the resort, although the famous glass igloos aren’t open during the summer months. Instead, you have the option to stay in one of the log chalets, the traditional house designed after a real, old Lapland house or the Queen suite that combines rustic arctic aesthetics with luxury amenities.
The easiest way to reach the resort is by taking a plane transfer from Helsinki Vantaa airport to Ivalo airport then the shuttle bus to the resort. You can also take a bus transfer from another town in Lapland if you are touring the area. The bus trip from Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, takes only three hours and passes by some beautiful Arctic scenery along the way.
If you are an artist, be sure to take your sketchbook along to gain your own inspiration from the Arctic summer landscapes. Be sure to also keep an eye on the application deadline for next year’s Arctic Art Week to have your own work shown and even gain a free stay at a sublime resort.