Turku365 was an urban art project that utilises and employs public spaces. The approximately 130 artworks of the project were part of everyday life of the inhabitants of Turku in 2011. The artworks and performances, written and directed by artist Meiju Niskala, were carried out by approximately 50 000 fellow urban dwellers.

The urban art project was part of the Turku’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2011, and consists of three principal themes: Everyday explorers, Art Clinic and The Outdoor Department, which together formed an exhilarating continuum of urban art in Turku.

The practical implementation of the Turku365 project was carried out by a core group of 8-10 people, and the project is administered by Kaupunki 365 ry, a non-profit association. Established by lovers of public spaces and urban art, the association’s objective was to reinterpret the city as a space that promotes everyday creativity.

Art Clinic

Welcome to the Art Clinic! In Art Clinic, groups and private individuals created public urban artworks tailored for their personal skills and interests. The artworks were scripted and the artists guided along by Meiju Niskala, the artistic director of the Turku365 project, while the Turku365 production team provided the workgroups with inspiration, production assistance and a channel for getting their voice heard. Participation was free of charge.

The Outdoor Department

The Outdoor Department produced installations and performances into public spaces and created works that commented on public space and promoted a playful approach to art. All the pieces were participative for the public.

Everyday Explorers

In addition to the artworks and performances that took place in Turku, Turku365 drawed inspiration from the Calendar for Everyday Explorers by Meiju Niskala and published by Like in 2010.

It features an exercise for each week of the year, maked it an excellent compass for re-experiencing and reinterpreting the city and creating urban art.

At websites one could use the comment space below the blog articles to share results of exercises, be inspired by other explorers and see what the Finnish artists, thinkers and school groups we had invited to participate had made of the exercises.

What is urban art?

Urban art means the augmenting, completing and aestheticizing of public spaces, the spaces we live in. It makes people commit to them, and makes them more inspiring and beautiful. For the urban artist, the city is a stage, a laboratory, a canvas and a source of inspiration. Urban artworks comment on physical spaces and what happens in them, their history and their future.

Urban art typically explores the essence and character of physical spaces, making them more deeply felt using beautiful, inspiring and interactive means. It reinterprets our familiar everyday environments in surprising ways, highlights their unseen or unexpected perspectives, shakes out the spirit and the stories of anonymous urban spaces.

“Urban art is the greatest form of democracy and the exchange of ideas, especially when it originates in the community that inhabits the space.”
Kirby Cookin